We have launched a brand new ‘How To’ series in partnership with small candle making business Cosy & Country. We’re excited to bring you our first supporting guide for beginners looking to make their first candle. Making your first candle is a fun and enjoyable venture, one that has many people coming back for more with the plethora of beautiful, natural fragrance oils and dyes available on our website.
Preparation for candle making
You must first decide what kind of candle wax, dyes and oils you want to use to make your candle. Remember that part of the fun of this is experimenting and trying different combinations. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong, you’ll learn as you go on and our new video with Cosy & Country will stand you in good stead. You may choose to start with smaller moulds or containers when experimenting. You will see from our Candle Wax listing, there are several different types of wax to choose from.
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.
Now, prepare 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. In the unlikely event you were to get wax in your eyes, do not try to remove it yourself – seek medical assistance. Although it can be uncomfortable or even slightly painful getting wax on your skin, it will generally peel away or can be washed off with warm water. Just make sure that the skin does not stay red or in any other way discoloured as this could suggest an allergy.
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.
Stage 1 – Wash and dry your Candle Jars
First, clean your candle glasses thoroughly ensuring that they are all completely dry. This will prevent any potential markings or swirls appearing on the finished candle.
Stage 2 – Preparing and melting the Wax
Fill a large pot (or saucepan) about halfway with hot water – making sure there’s enough room for the smaller heat-resistant container holding the wax. Place the solid wax into your container which is then carefully placed into your pot. 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.
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).
Stage 3 – Adding 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 your wick centering tool, pop it over the wick and slot your wick into the designated wick centering gap. If you decide not to use glue dots, fix the wick to a metal tab which can then either be placed into the container/mould and held there with a spatula as the melted wax is poured or alternatively can be pushed down to the base of the container/mould with the spatula after the wax has been added.
As an alternative to these methods, use some a small amount of Blu Tack under the metal tab and stick it to the bottom of the container/mould.
Stage 4 – Adding 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.
Don’t forget, you can mix different dyes and fragrances together with the candle wax if you are feeling particularly adventurous. Don’t worry about getting it wrong – it is all part of the fun of experimenting and creating your own unique candle.
Stage 5 – Pouring the Wax
Once you have done this, 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.
Stage 6 – Check your Candles
Half an hour later, you will 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. You can always decorate your candle before allowing it to set for 24 hours.
Stage 7 – Trim the Wick
Remove your wick centering tool and grab some scissors or wick trimming tool 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.
Enjoying your Candle
Turn the lights down, sit back, put your favourite music on and enjoy the tranquil aesthetic and aroma of your creation. Put any modesty aside and make sure everyone around you appreciates your talent.
Disclaimer – It’s recommended that flowers are only used on decorative candles as they can pose a hazard.
Find our candle making beginners kits here.
For any advice or to talk through your project with one of our advisors, please do not hesitate to contact us at The Cosy Owl on 01376 560 348.