Basic Candle Making Instructions

Candles hanging in shop, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Candle making has been a part of people's lives since the dawn of time. From the earliest rush lights to candles made from tallow or spermaceti and modern paraffin-based candles, most people have grown up with candles around them. Whether having candles as decoration around the house or as emergency lighting when the power goes out, they have served a purpose in both design and functionality.

Today, we do not need candles for daily illumination, but there is nothing like candles to bring warmth and light to a room, and the basic knowledge of the procedure below will help guide you once you have gathered your materials.

If you experimented with candle making in grade school, making dipped candles or sand candles, you also know the joy of knowing that you made it yourself, and fortunately, it's fairly easy to get started making your own candles, you just need a few simple ingredients and some basic tools and equipment that you likely have stored away in your kitchen or garage. 

Although there are many different types of candles, they basically all contain two or three components, typically including wax, a wick and a container.

Eight Materials Needed For Candlemaking

Before you delve into your own do-it-yourself candlemaking project, you'll first need to understand the basics of candle safety both in using and making them. Once you've reviewed safety instructions and prepared your kitchen for candlemaking, though, you can continue gathering the necessary ingredients and tools to get started.

First, you'll need a heat source like a hot plate or electric stove to melt the wax, then you'll need to get a "double boiler" set up, which can be made with a large, low pot for boiling water with an old coffee pot placed inside to melt the wax.

Alternatively, you could use a more formal candle wax melting pot, which can be purchased at any regular crafts store.

Once you have your station set up, you'll need to find a wax that's appropriate for the type of candle you want to make and a wick appropriate for the wax you've selected. Keep in mind that some wicks do not burn hot enough to melt some types of wax.

You'll also need to select the right mold or container to hold the melted wax, fragrance or color for the candle, if desired, and a match to light the candle when it's done!

Arts and Craft Projects

After making your first candle, you can advance to various types of candles and choose the appropriate wax and wick for your project. Alternatively, you can personalize your candle even further by choosing a fragrance or essential oil to scent your candle—the variations of candles you can make are only limited by your imagination and your willingness to experiment.

From simple projects like basic container candles and votives with wick pins to more complex creations like beeswax rolled pillars and dipped taper candles, there's no shortage of craft projects you can do with a bit of wax, a heat source, and some time. Be sure to check out these basic gel candles and our full list of types of handmade candles for more information on these projects.

Ultimately, you'll find that that are endless instructions and how-to's available online that will show you how easy it is to make candles at home. Although it is easy to make average candles, applying careful attention to your ingredients such as the balance of wax, wick, fragrance, and container will bring you greater results.

With a bit of practice and testing, you can master the art of making unique candles that you can be proud to display, burn, sell, or give as gifts to friends and family.