Candles can easily be made at home with a few materials, creating a fun family activity. Children love offering input on scent choices and packaging design, making them feel like bona fide candle makers.
There are three basic elements to candles – wax, wick and container.
- Soy wax flakes – four cups makes two cups of melted wax
- Glass jars and tin containers
- Candle wicks
- Masking or painter's tape
- An old pot, preferably with a spout or funnel for pouring
- Optional: Scented oils
- Optional: Kitchen thermometer, to monitor proper melting temperature
- Optional: Paper, colored pencils or markers, glue or tape
Heat the Wax
For safety reasons, double boilers are recommended for melting wax since soy wax can quickly overheat due to its low melting point. However if you don't have a double boiler, you can still melt the flakes over direct heat using close supervision and temperature regulation.
1. Pour wax flakes into a pan and heat on medium until the wax reaches a temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove from heat when melted.
Note: This process happens quickly!
Prepare the Wick
1. Tape an X-shape across the opening of your candle container. Be sure to leave enough space for the wax to pour safely through.
2. Line up the wick in the middle of the candle. Poke the wick through the tape and make sure the base touches the bottom of the container. This ensures that the wick won't slip around while the wax dries.
Add the Scent
To add fragrance to the candle...
1. Add about 10 drops of essential or fragrance oils, per candle, to the melted wax.
Note: The amount you add depends on the strength of the fragrance.
Pour the Melted Wax
Carefully pour melted wax into candle container between the tape.
Let the Wax Set
Let the candle dry in a safe place until wax is completely set, about two to three days for soy candles. The longer you wait, the stronger your scents will be.
Trim the Wick
Carefully trim the wick to desired length and remove the tape.
Decorate the Outside
Kids love decorating their candles and giving them a fun name to make them look like store-bought candles. Cut a strip of paper to fit around the candle and have your child decorate it and create a unique name based on the candle's scent, the person they are giving it to or just whatever they like!
Kelle Hampton is a writer, photographer and speaker. Her blog post about her daughter's Down syndrome led to the writing of "Bloom," a New York Times bestselling memoir. Hampton has contributed to "Parents," "Parenting," "Martha Stewart’s Whole Living," "Good Housekeeping" and NPR’s "All Things Considered." She shares photography and journals about life and motherhood on her blog Enjoying the Small Things.