How to make your own candles and save £££

·5-min read
Photo credit: Sanga Park / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Sanga Park / EyeEm - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Always wanted to know how to make candles? If you love nothing more than getting cosy at home with a good scented candle, you could be spending more than you'd care to admit on bouji scented candles - and while there's no harm in treating yourself occasionally, you can definitely cut costs by making some of your own at home.

And honestly? It's not as hard as you'd imagine - particularly once you've got the hand of things. We spoke with Cosy Owl candle making supplies, who shared their expert tips on how to make candles at home...

How to make candles

Before you get stated, you'll need all of your equipment; wax, a glass container, wicks, wick dots, dye and fragrance oil. Cosy Owl has everything you could possibly want, or most art supply stores will be fully stocked, too.

To measure how much wax you need, fill your container/mould with water, measure the amount of water and round up to the nearest 10ml. Deduct 20% from that figure and that is the number of grams you need. The reason for this is 1ml of water weighs exactly 1 gram, so they are equal, but wax is slightly less dense than water, so we deduct 20% to get the amount of wax – For example: 495ml of water in the container/mould – round up to 500ml. Deduct 20% from that figure (100) giving you 400 – so you need 400g of wax.

Start by preparing the area you will be using to make your candles to ensure that any spills are easily removed. Wax can be a nuisance to remove – have warm water and a rag or paper towels available to wipe away any wax that spills.

Be careful to avoid contact with skin and especially your eyes and remember, anyone under the age of 18 should be supervised by an adult.

Try to always avoid allowing wax to be discarded down your sink as this can lead to blockages. Similarly, do not try to wash wax soaked containers or moulds in your dishwasher.

Ready to get started?

Step one – Wash and dry your candle jars

Start by cleaning your candle jars ensuring that they are all completely dry. You don't want to get any potential markings or swirls appearing on the finished candle!

Step two – Prepare and melt the wax

Fill a large pot (or saucepan from your kitchen) about halfway with hot water – making sure there’s enough room for the smaller heat-resistant container holding the wax. Place your solid wax into your container, then carefully place into your pot, and make sure the hot water does not go into the container.

The water should now be brought to the boil and the wax will start to melt. You can stir the wax with a disposable wooden spatula, but this is not completely necessary. However, having a spatula will be useful when adding wax dye or wax fragrance.

Photo credit: Cosy Owl
Photo credit: Cosy Owl

Use a wax thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax. You can use a standard cooking thermometer, but remember it must be cleaned effectively before being reused with food.

Paraffin wax should be melted until it reaches a temperature of approximately 50° to 60°C (122° to 140°F).

Soy wax should be melted until it reaches a temperature of approximately 76° to 82°C (169° to 180°F).

Vegetable wax should be melted until it reaches a temperature of approximately 47° to 49°C (116.6° to 120.2°F).

Gel Wax should be melted until it reaches a temperature of approximately 94° to 104°C (201° to 219°F).

Step three – Add the wick

Using the Cosy Owl glue dots, get the wick as central as possible in the jar. To make sure the wick is located centrally, grab a wick centering tool, pop it over the wick and slot your wick into the designated wick centering gap.

Photo credit: Cosy Owl
Photo credit: Cosy Owl

Step four – Add your dye and fragrance oil

You will now want to add your dye to the melted wax. The more dye you add, the stronger the final colour of the candle will be. As you place the dye into the container, you will immediately get an idea of the colour – add a little at a time until you get the colour you want. Make sure all of your shards have melted before you start adding any fragrance oil.

Now include your full fragrance oil and stir this gently, you want to avoid air pockets – treat this part like baking! Make sure you keep stirring gently so the fragrance oil is all the way through the wax. Be careful not to make the scent overly powerful at first or it can be quite overwhelming when permeating into the room.

Photo credit: Cosy Owl
Photo credit: Cosy Owl

Don’t forget, you can mix different dyes and fragrances together with the candle wax if you are feeling particularly adventurous.

Step five – Pour the wax

Grab some kitchen roll (to keep the wax from spilling onto the sides of your jars) and begin pouring your wax carefully into your jars. Only pour partially the way up, as you’ll need that extra room at the top.

Photo credit: Cosy Owl
Photo credit: Cosy Owl

Step six – Check up on your candles

Half an hour later, check how the candles are setting and then reheat your remaining wax and fill in any potential holes that have appeared on the top of the candle. Once you have topped up your candle with the remaining wax, it’s best to leave the candle for 24 hours.

Soy wax candles generally take the least amount of time – around 5 hours to cool and solidify. Vegetable wax candles slightly longer – around 7 hours, while Paraffin wax candles take the longest time.

Photo credit: Cosy Owl
Photo credit: Cosy Owl

Step seven – Trim the wick

Remove your wick-centering tool, grab yourself some scissors and trim the wick to about 5mm. Using longer wicks will create a larger flame initially, but most of the time, any excess will simply burn away.

Could there be a more perfect Christmas present? Now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to get creative...

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