Nothing creates a mood quite like burning candles.
Candles are colorful room decorations that smell heavenly even when not burning.
I love them so much I surround myself with decorative candles.
One reason I have so many is that making candles in my kitchen is one of my favorite hobbies. I never buy candles, I make them! I made my first candle when I was about 12. I am now 60! All the pictures on this page are candles I have made.
I wrote this post to show you how I do it!
I absolutely love all the many scents, the bold colors and the many different techniques and shapes for my homemade candles.
Making candles in your kitchen is actually a lot like cooking except you’re dealing with wax, oils, and wicks instead of meat, fruits and veggies.
Candle making involves chopping, melting, and pouring, same as cooking.
There will be lots of water boiling so it gets extremely hot and humid. I only make candles in the winter months. When it is freezing outside, candle making turns your kitchen into quite a cozy place with steaming warmth and heavenly scents.
I first began making candles as a teenager. My mom was awesome about letting me in the kitchen as long as I followed her two rules.
- Clean up after yourself
- Don’t burn down the house
Today, I have about 25 different molds and dozens of pots and pans devoted to candles making. I order wax by the 60-pound case and make dozens at a time.
I have been known to go through 300+ pounds of wax in a few months. That’s extreme of course. I also have been known to not make any candles for a few years.
I give away and/or sell the majority of them. I’ve never made much of a profit, but a few sales help to justify the expenditure and gives me an excuse to make more. That is good enough for me! People always tell me I should build a candle business and I am flattered. But honestly, the profit margin would suck unless I charged a hundred bucks for something similar to what you can buy at WalMart for ten.
People love getting candles as gifts. Honestly, I have never met anyone who did not like candles, assuming they like the color and scent. Most men are not going to like a pink candle with glitter but give them one that is brown and orange and they’ll probably love it.
When I first started making candles I hated the thought of burning them. Certainly, I got over that silliness and decided burning them just gives me another excuse to make more.
When people ask me what it takes to make candles, I usually reply that the most important thing is a willingness to mess up your kitchen. (I have better directions below) Candle making is quite messy but to tell you the truth, I’ve always loved the freedom to make messes. 🙂
Actually wax is not that terribly hard to clean up if you let it solidify first. This is assuming it has spilled onto on a flat surface like a table and not the fuzzy carpet. A razor works well to scrape it up. I also buy some kind of citrus oil that melts the wax and makes clean up pretty easy.
Of course, I take preventive measures to minimize messiness. I cover all my counters in aluminum foil and wax paper. I add a new layer when they get covered so after days of candle making I have 20 or so layers of foil and wax paper. I just peel it off and throw it away. I use drop cloths for the floor. Wax is easy to spill and it gets all over the place. When the wax is hot, it is the consistency of water so dribbles everywhere. Candle making is a mess and really takes over the kitchen!
If you are interested in a fun hobby that does not get too terribly expensive and don’t mind getting your kitchen messy, then I absolutely recommend candle making.
I have also done it out in the garage using a camping stove, so I guess getting your kitchen dirty is not always necessary.
If you scroll down below all the pictures, there are some more detailed instructions on how to make candles.
When I make container candles, I try to use cute or fancy containers like this snowman. My daughter painted the glass. We got the container at a thrift store, which is where we buy lots of unique jars and glasses cheap. I love using wine glasses for container candles.
HOW TO MAKE CANDLES IN YOUR KITCHEN
There are many different kinds of wax used to make candles. Some are hard and brittle. They break apart like in the picture above. Some are soft, like room temperature butter.
The soft wax is used for container candles, NOT molded candles. The soft wax is way too soft and gooey to ever come out of a mold but it does a better job of adhering to the sides of your content, which is usually glass. This is because the melting temperature is a little lower for soft waxes than the hard waxes, so there is not as much expansion and contraction of the wax as it heats and cools.
I break my brittle wax slabs into smaller pieces using a hammer and a screwdriver as a chisel. A soft container wax might require a spoon or ice cream dipper to scoop the wax into your melting pots.
I use utensils, pots and pans dedicated to candle making. You would not want to use nice pots and pans for candle making since they would never again be clean enough to use for cooking. I buy them at thrift stores to save money.
Wicks come in different sizes. You are supposed to use smaller wicks with smaller candles. If you mess this up, your candle will not burn well. If the wick is too big, the candle will smoke and give off lots of soot when burning. If your wick is too small the poor thing will drown in the melted wax or flicker.
Most of my molds are metal. The wick is held in place by a crafting stick with a hole drilled in the middle. You have to use a mold release spray similar to cooking spray before pouring in the hot wax or it will never come out. I learned that one the hard way.
Some wicks have a zinc core and some don’t. The zinc core wick is supposed to be used in container candles. It holds up better and is sturdier in the melted wax of a burning candle.
Soft container wax tends to drown wicks, so you definitely need to use something sturdy. I have used zinc core wicks with molded candles and it seems to work fine but maybe someone with more professional experience than me would have a good reason for not doing this. IDK. Size matters the most when it comes to wicks.
I order my wax and other supplies from the internet. This is WAY cheaper than buying your materials at a craft store. Craft stores not only have higher prices, but they also have a much smaller selection. Candle making is not that common as a hobby so stores do not sell many supplies.
Make sure and use a mold release spray when making molded candles. They’re a lot like cooking sprays that keep your food from sticking to the pan. I use sprays specifically made for candle making. If you do not use a good quality spray, then your candles will have trouble coming out of the mold. Too much spray can harm the surface texture of the finished candles or give it a blotchy appearance.
I also use scents specifically made for candle making. There are hundreds of scents for candle making and I like almost all of them. This is a safety issue. You have to use a scent that can handle being burned without creating a fire hazard. Not all scents can do this so you have to use those specifically made for candles.
I see articles online suggesting that you use crayons for candle making. I have always read that his is not a good idea and candles made from crayons create a fire hazard. I have never tried it myself so I am not 100% sure, but it seems logical. Let’s never forget that burning candles can be dangerous and does increase the risk of a house fire. Be careful.
Happy candle making! Stay safe and have fun.
It’s fun to make candles that look like food or beverages. I buy the glasses at thrift stores and I can usually find great stuff for not much money.
COMMENTS FROM READERS
Hi Lorraine, thank you for sharing this post! I got into candle making about 3 months ago. I recently just purchased a candle making kit. The candle mold is made out of plastic and has a hole in the middle. How do I get the wax not to leak at the bottom of the mold? The hole is small to fit the wick. I tried pouring a little bit of wax and letting it set but by the time I add the rest of the wax it just spills all over the counter. I will greatly appreciate your response. Thanks.
The hole is for the wick to go through. You seal it off with putty. Your wick should be first covered with wax and then threaded through the hole and secured at the top of the mold, which will be the bottom of the candle. Make sure to have plenty of excess length of wick on both ends. I secure mine at the top by running it through a popsicle stick that has a hole drilled into it and then clasping it with a clothespin. So high tech! Then down at the bottom of the mold, which will be the top of the candle, I use some putty-like stuff to seal off the hole that the wick is threaded through. I buy this putty where I buy my candle making supplies so it is specifically made for candle making. It should have been something that came with your kit and if it did not, then I say the kit makers made a mistake! I would imagine you can find some putty that would work at a place like Home Depot. It keeps the hot wax from dribbling out the hole.
After your candle has set, this putty comes right off and you can reuse it.
I hope this helps. Good luck with your candlemaking, I sure find it fun. Now that the weather is turning colder it is almost candlemaking season. I only do it in the colder months because it heats up the house so much boiling all that water.
Thanks for stopping by the blog!