A Guide to Scented Candle Making

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Candle making is a fun and challenging hobby. One you can enjoy without spending a lot of money. With that said, skip the art store’s commercialized craft kit. They are way too expensive. Plus, those kits take out the creativity and artisanship of the process. Start from scratch instead. Just stick to these simple instructions and you’ll be making your own scented candles in no time.

The Supplies
  • Wicks, wax, molds, fragrances, and color dyes—where to start? Let’s begin with the easiest candle to make—a votive candle. This is the perfect mold to start with. So, you will need some votive molds.

  • Next, you need wax. And not just any wax will do. Keep in mind that certain waxes are used to make certain types of candles. For votive candles, use votive candle wax. Be sure to use high-quality wax. It will show in your work.

  • Since you are just beginning to make your own candles, use pre-tabbed votive wicks, at least 2 ½ inches long. Pre-tabbed wicks come with the wick clip and wick already attached. You can use wicks that are sold by the yard, but they are not as easy to use. You will have to assemble the wick and wick clip yourself.

  • You will also need a double boiler for melting the wax. You can use a steamer pot and a melting pot with a pour spout. If you use old pots, do not use them again for food.

  • Find a pouring pot with a spout. You will need this to pour the wax into the mold. You can use a specially designed, stainless steel pouring pot, or simply use a small, glass measuring cup with a spout. The ladder is less expensive.

  • Coloring your candles is optional, but fun. You can use color dye chips or liquid dye. Don’t use crayon wax. It will just obstruct the wick.

  • Depending on how many candles you want to make, will determine how much candle fragrances you need. Fragrance oil specially designed for candle-making is your best choice.

  • You should also have on hand window cleaner, a thermometer, aluminum foil, Popsicle sticks, paper towels parchment paper, and a pair of scissors.
  • Remember, candle-making can be dangerous. You are working with fire. Keep a fire extinguisher around just in case.

The Steps to Making a Scented Votive Candle
1. Set up your work area. Use parchment paper as counter liner. Have the paper towels and window cleaner nearby to wipe up wax drippings. Wrap your stove burners with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

2. Place your pre-tabbed wick in the votive, making sure that the wick is in the center.

3. Now is when you will use your double boiler to melt the wax. Fill your steamer pot (the bottom part of the double boiler) with two inches of cool water. Place it on the burner and set the temperature to high.

4. Drop the wax into the melting pot (the top part of the double boiler) and place the melting pot in the water. As the wax turns to liquid, wait for the water to boil. Turn the stove temperature to medium-low.

5. When the wax has entirely liquefied, the wax is melted. Use your thermometer to measure the temperature of the wax. Depending on the type of wax, the temperature should never go above 200 degrees. (Check the label on the wax to be sure.)

6. Now that the wax is melted, you may add your dye chips or liquid dye. Drop the coloring additive in the melted wax and use a Popsicle stick to stir the chip or liquid until the color is mixed thoroughly.

7. Time to add your favorite fragrance to the mix. The ratio is usually one ounce of oil to one pound of wax. But you can decide how scented you want your candle to be. Use another Popsicle stick to mix the fragrance in the wax. (Check your temperature first. It should not be above 165 degrees.)

8. When the temperature reaches around 175 degrees, remove the double boiler from the stove.

9. With your pouring pot, fill each votive almost to the top. Save some of the melted wax for the second pour.

10. Let your votive cool completely. This takes anywhere from one to four hours. When the wax is cool, you will notice that it has left a sink hole around the wick. This happens because wax shrinks as it cools.

11. Re-melt the remaining wax at 10-15 degrees hotter than the initial pour. Pour the second layer of wax just above the rim of the votive.

12. Wait another couple hours for the votive to cool entirely. Then, take your scissors and snip the wick down to a quarter of an inch. You just made your first scented votive candle. Congratulations!

Practically all of the supplies mentioned can be found in any arts-and-craft store. There are also specialty shops that cater to the candle-making hobby. Once you get these steps down, you will be making bigger and better candles before you know it! And you will have earned the bragging rights to say that you made them all on your own.