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How to Make Candles on a Budget

Updated on December 9, 2013

Candle Making Doesn't Have to Cost a Fortune

Candle making has been on my crafty to-do list for a long, long time. I kept putting it off though, because when I started to do the math, gathering all the supplies needed got to be rather costly. Unlike many other crafts I didn't have any of the materials at home and thought I would have to go to the store and buy everything.

As I moved into re-cycled and up-cycled crafts I began looking at candle making again.

Pinterest is once again the culprit, making me want to make those cute little teacup candles I keep seeing on my boards.

Recently the place I work at had some cute little bowls that went on clearance. They were not teacups by any means, but they were adorable regardless. I knew I just HAD to get a couple, and I just HAD to make my candles, some how!

So I put my thinking cap on, and tried to come up with an inexpensive way to make candles.

This is what I came up with.

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All photos (excluding images on any module links) on this lens were taken by Winona Morris or Robert Morris (her husband) ©2013 to present

Safety First

Never leave lighted candles unattended.

Keep burning candles away from children and pets.

Make sure to burn candles in/on a heat-resistant dish/plate and away from drafts.

My Frugal Supplies

So, here is a picture of everything I purchased to attempt to make my candles.

1 box of 100 tea-light candles (equal to approx 2 pounds of wax give or take an ounce)

4 clearance ceramic bowls

2 packs of scented candle melts

1 pack of candle wick (6ft)

Total Cost = $16.03 (before tax)

There are other supplies I needed to complete the project, but I had those on hand already so the price was free.

*NOTE*

Prices will vary according to location and/or use of coupons.

100 tea light candles
100 tea light candles

Budget Candle Wax

With Just a Little Work

Most craft stores sell blocks of candle wax. They have bees wax and soy wax and paraffin wax. The cheapest block of wax in our local Michael's is $6.99 for one pound of "Candle Wax"

Out of curiosity I checked the boxes of tea-lights. They have a box of 50 for $2.99 and a box of 100 for $5.99

Each tea-light comes easily out of its little tin cup. The wick and wick clips are also very easy to remove. The wicks are too short to do me any good, but I set the wick clips aside to re-use.

The box of tea lights didn't have a weight measurement on it, but I have a postal scale.

According to my postal scale 50 of the tea light candles gave me 1 pound (and one oz) of wax!

PROS

- I got 100 wick clips, instead of having to pay $3 for a fraction of that amount.

- 1 pound of wax for less than 1/2 the cost of a pound of candle wax.

CONS

- Taking the time to remove the candles from the cups, and the wicks/wick clips from the candles.

- The wax used in the tealight ends up looking "chalky" when it is reused for other candles.

- The tealight wax shrinks as it cools, so it did not stick to the inside of my bowl!

Other Frugal Wax Sources

You can hit up your local thrift shops for candles. You might even get lucky and find some actual candle wax there, cast off by some would-be crafter.

We all know that cheap is good, but free is better, right?

If you like candles, there is a good chance you have tons of them around your house. You probably have half melted pillar candles, a few slightly burned tea-lights. Tapers that are just a nub.

Each and every one of those candles can be melted down and re-purposed into new candles!

Different Wax Choices - Buy it New

If you don't want to go through the effort of de-wicking tea-lights, and if you don't have any half used up candles to re-melt you can always buy fresh wax to make your candles with.

The only problem you might encounter would be deciding what type of wax you want to use!

Gelly Candle Wax, 25-Ounce, Clear
Gelly Candle Wax, 25-Ounce, Clear

Gel wax, true to its name, does not get solid, but remains a gel. It is also lovely and clear and fun for using to make candles if you want to see fun stuff suspended in the candle!

 
Beeswax Organic Pastilles, Yellow, 100% Pure 16 Oz by Larkin Supply
Beeswax Organic Pastilles, Yellow, 100% Pure 16 Oz by Larkin Supply

Beeswax is another organic source for candle making. Plus, it can also be used in cosmetic crafts!

 

Candle Scents and Wax Colors

Not every one wants a scented candle, but for these candles I did.

You can buy wax scents and liquid scents to shave or dribble into your melted wax. I have read that Essential oils work well too.

Once again, trying to keep this a budget craft, I looked at other ways to scent my candles, and came up with this:

Scented Wax Melt Cubes.

They are highly scented wax cubes, meant to be used with candle wax warmers, either heated by a bulb or an unscented tea light.

These wax melts served a dual purpose. Not only were they scented, they were colored! So they would give my candles a pleasant smell AND a touch of color so they wouldn't be plain white and I wouldn't have to buy candle dye!

Ooohhh, That Smell

Some people love for a candle to fill a room with a lovely scent. Other people simply want to use a candle for the light it casts.

Do you like your candles scented or unscented?

COLORFUL

If you have wax crayons, they can also be shaved off into your melted candle wax to add color without scent if that is what you prefer.

More Colors and Smells

The internet is full of sources for candle scents and colors.

The only down side to shopping online is that you can't sniff the scents to see if you like it. You have to go by title alone.

It can't hurt to stick to the tried and true scents like Vanilla or Cinnamon unless you are feeling adventurous.

And with dyes, you never know what you're going to get until you start adding it to your wax!

CandleScience Candle Scent Classics Fragrance Sampler with 4 Bottles
CandleScience Candle Scent Classics Fragrance Sampler with 4 Bottles

Concentrated liqud scents for candles. A little goes a long way.

 

Putting it All Together

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on how to actually MAKE the candles. I'll save that for another lens.

The short and simple version is:

1. I melted the wax in tin cans.

2. I added my scents/colors.

3. I CAREFULLY poured the wax into my containers.

3. I (impatiently) waited on the wax to cool.

And voila, I've FINALLY made my own candles!

Cooling Candles

Here are my creations sitting and waiting on the wax to cool.

It can take 12 to 24 hours for a freshly poured candle to solidify all the way through so it will be another day or so before they are actually "done."

I am, however, an impatient person and I could not wait another day or two to share my candle making experience!

I will update with pictures of the solid and burnable candles soon!

A Difference in Wax Types - Shown in one candle.

This is the candle being made in the yogurt container in the image above.

The top (light pink) part was made with the tea light candles and scented with a mixed berry candle tart. The bottom (darker pink) part was made out of "real" candle wax and scented with the remains of a different watermelon scented candle.

The chalky white smudges are a by-product of using the wax from the tea lights.

What do you think of my first candle attempts? Have you ever made a candle?

What do you Think?

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    • profile image

      Nancy 3 months ago

      Do you have to worry about tea cups breaking from the heat ?

    • profile image

      Ruthi 3 years ago

      I think it pretty clever of you to use the tealight candles to save on cost of supplies. I've never made my own candles so I do appreciate the efforts of those who do.

    • profile image

      marsha32 3 years ago

      using the tea lights might not be as good as the blocks, but the savings is tremendous. I'm glad you pointed that out.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      I like this reminder that we can make candles at home. Years ago I did this because we often burned decorative candles at home.

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 3 years ago

      Your pink candle looks beautiful! I tried making candles once and had a blast. They turned out pretty well for a first attempt.

    • ayannavenus profile image

      ayannavenus 4 years ago

      Way cool.....Thanks for sharing I am going to be trying this!

    • ayannavenus profile image

      ayannavenus 4 years ago

      Way cool.....Thanks for sharing I am going to be trying this!

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      This is very cool! I just may try this out! Thanks!

    • Angelee1027 profile image

      Angelee1027 4 years ago

      This is very interesting! Seems like it would be great fun, will have to try this sometime. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      scheryar-saqib 4 years ago

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    • profile image

      scheryar-saqib 4 years ago

      Wonderful lens please visit mine to http://www.squidoo.com/exotic-plants-care

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I think your homemade candle is nicely done Nonersays! I am a candle addict too :)

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Love these. I've made a few candles. I like the idea of the melts verses the oils for color and fragrance. Seems a good way to reuse old wax melts too. You wouldn't get the smell, but you would still get the wax and the color.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 4 years ago

      Very cool lens - thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      burntchestnut 4 years ago

      Cheap candles are great for power outages, but if I buy or want to make candles for their scent, I'd only want candles made with essential oils. Some cheap scented candles make my eyes burn. I carry tea lights with me in my car for emergencies and have candles in several places around the house to use when the power goes out. And cheap candles can be fun to use outdoors at night when you're having a party or cook out. Great lens!

    • noner profile image
      Author

      noner 4 years ago

      @Redneck Lady Luck: I have ice candles in my future plans. Gotta find a milk/juice carton first. Everything around here is bottles or jugs. lol

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I had forgotten all about making candles till I saw your picture with the strings hanging down into the bowls. We had made candles with ice cubes in them so that when the ice melted it left a delightfully holy candle design.