The Candle: Is There Really an Easy Candle To Make
I'm all Thumbs - Can I Really Make a Candle
So you want to make a candle, but you’re not sure how to do it and you want to make something that’s quick and easy. Your Art teachers could only shake their heads and pass you along simply because your effort never waned. What was that piece you tried to make back in 4th grade anyway?
Take heart! All is not lost.
I’ve listed some basic candle making info for you and have come up with 1 candle that’s far and away, easier to make than all the rest. That’s right, even you! Read on and see if you agree with me.
What is the easiest candle to make?
Well, let’s take a look at what our choices are for making candles - votive candles, dipped taper candles, rolled taper candles, molded taper candles, pillar candles, jar/container candles, molded candles, carved candles, floating candles, and tealight candles.
Votive candles, pillar candles, floating candles and tealight candles have the same basic needs:
- wax: paraffin, soy, beeswax, bayberry or palm
- a container to melt the wax in
- a mold to pour the melted wax in
- a wick
- a thermometer
The wax needs to be melted to the recommended melt point for the type of wax you are using. Once it reaches the correct temperature, it’s then poured into the mold. For votive candles, floating candles, and tealight candles, the wick is put in place after the wax is poured. With pillar candles, the wick is placed in the mold before the wax is poured.
The wax is allowed to cool completely and then a 2nd pour is made to fill in the cavity that was created as the wax cooled. (Wax expands as it warms up and compresses as it cools down.) When the candle is completely cooled, it can be removed from the mold. It should come out easily because of the wax compressing. Votives can be completed in a few hours.
Not the Hardest Candle to Make
Jar/container candles are very similar to votives, except the candle stays in the container. The wick is generally held in place with a wick centering tool and is placed in the container before the wax is poured. Depending on the size of the container, a jar candle can be ready in a few hours or it can be an all day affair.
Not For the Faint Hearted
Molded candles use many of the same techniques for the votive candles, although some type of mold release should be applied to the inside of the mold. Even though the wax shrinks, it is more difficult to separate the pieces that have been clamped together.
Molds require something to hold the mold securely in place for both the pouring process and the cooling process. All sides of the molds should be clamped very securely so the hot wax doesn’t leak out. Sometimes a cold water bath can be used to speed up the initial wax cooling process.
When the wax is cool, carefully separate the 2 parts of the mold. This can be difficult. Go slowly. Once the candle is out of the mold, it will need to be trimmed. I’ve found a sharp paring knife works really well. Again, take your time. It’s easy to nick the candle when you’re trimming away the excess wax. I like to buff my molded candles with a soft cloth after I’ve gotten them trimmed. It helps remove any residue from the mold.
As with the previous candles, the bigger the candle, the longer it will take to complete.
Easiest to Make Poorly, Hardest to Make Perfectly
Dipped taper candles have these needs:
- wax: paraffin, beewax, bayberry, palm (soy wax is too soft for tapers)
- a large, deep container to melt the wax in
- dipping ring (or something that you can hang the wick on and dip into melted wax)
- a thermometer
The wick is wound around the dipping ring so that the wick is straight and will create a straight taper. Again, the wax must be melted to a specific temperature that is ideal for dipping the candles. Too hot and the wax will not adhere to the wick; too cold and the wax will end up forming globs on the wick.
The wicked dipping ring is placed in the melted wax, removed from the wax and then allowed to completely cool down. Then it is dipped again, and again, (always being completely cooled in between dips), until you get the desired thickness on the candle. It usually takes approximately 25 dips to get a candle thick enough to use.
When all the dipping is finished and the tapers are completely cooled, the tapers will be cut from the bottom of the dipping ring and finished with a taper finishing tool. Making a set of tapers is pretty much an all day event.
Great if You Know How to Whittle
Carved candles speak for themselves. They are laboriously hand crafted and take many hours to complete. Not a task for beginners.
Drum roll please... And the winner is...
Rolled taper candles. They are made by rolling sheets of beeswax. This is what you’ll need:
- sheet of beeswax
- straight edge
- razor knife &/or scissors
- cutting board or other flat surface
- blow dryer
- candlestick holder
Put the sheet of beeswax on the cutting board. Decide what length you want the candle to be. Measure and mark it with a cut on both sides of the beeswax. Put the straight edge of the 2 cuts and run the razor knife along it to create your length. Measure and cut the wick about 2 inches longer than the candle length.
Place the beeswax sheet in front of you so the short side is right in front of you. Warm the edge with the blow dryer, but be careful not to melt the wax. Place the wick on the warmed wax, with one side of the wick even with the wax edge. Roll the warm wax over the wick. Make sure the wick is wrapped in the wax well.
Next, warm the entire sheet. Roll the wax to the desired width. Make sure it fits in the candlestick holder. If it’s too big, unroll it a bit. Use the razor knife to cut a straight line close to the candle. Warm the wax edge slightly and work it into the rest of the candle.
This process takes 5 - 10 minutes and the candle is ready to be lit. By far the easiest of all the candles to make! A great candle for beginners to start with and for them to get a feel for wax.
Sue Lichtenberg is the leading expert on candle making at The Cranberry Barn. She has been creating candles since she was a young girl.
She is the founder of The Cranberry Barn.