• Weekend Project: A Simple Way to Make Your Own Candles

    by  • January 23, 2010 • Miscellaneous

    I love candles. I love buying them, I love using them, I love smelling them. The sweet clean smell of beeswax, or a perfectly scented lavender or patchouli candle just make me happy. So it only makes sense that I love making candles, as well.

    The only problem with candlemaking is that it can be a little time consuming, and, if you’re accident-prone like me, it can become a little intense. For years, I made my candles the traditional way: by melting the wax in a double boiler, pouring, letting the candle set up, then pouring again (and again, and sometimes, again) to fill the well that would inevitably form near the wick of my candle.

    But I’ve totally gotten back into candlemaking again, and it’s all thanks to my crock pot.

    One-Step Candles: Making Candles in the Crock Pot

    I can’t take credit for this idea, but I wish I could. I first saw this method over at Bonzai Aphrodite, and it really works. She used soy wax for her candles, and that’s a great option. However, I love beeswax (and have a local beekeeper to buy from at a reasonable price) so I made mine with that. You could also use paraffin, or a beeswax/paraffin combo (which is a little more cost-effective than pure beeswax or soy wax).

    Here’s what you need:
    Wax (I used about 1/2 pound of beeswax for three candles. If you’re making votives, or using a smaller container for your candles, you won’t need as much wax.
    Wicks – you can buy the plain kind and trim them yourself, or buy the pre-trimmed wicks with the clips already attached.
    Container– I used three baby food jars (because Heaven knows we go through enough baby food around here…) but you could use anything that will hold the liquid wax and stand up to the heat of hot wax and a couple hours in the crock pot.
    Bamboo skewer to stir the wax
    Grater or knife for breaking up the wax (if you bought a big block. You can also buy pellets, which is easier.)
    Crock pot
    Essential oils (if you want scented candles)
    Crayons or candle color (if you want colored candles)

    How to Make the Candles

    1.  Break up your wax and fill your containers with the pieces. Place filled containers in the crock pot, and turn the crock pot up to “high.” Put the lid on and walk away for a while. 30 to 45 minutes should do it.

    2. Check on the wax. It will be mostly melted, and probably much lower than you want it to be. Add more wax to the containers, cover the crock pot, and walk away again.
    3. Once the wax is all melted, and it’s as deep as you want it, turn the crock pot off, but leave the containers in it. Now’s the time to add scents or color. I used fifteen drops of essential oils (patchouli and lavender) for my candles, you may want more or less. Add color, if you want, and stir everything together to incorporate the oils/colors into the melted candle wax.
    4. Place your wick in the melted wax. Try to get it as centered as possible. It will likely stand up by itself.
    5. Walk away again, letting the candles harden in the crock pot as they cool. They should be ready to handle in an hour or so, and you can light them when they’ve completely cooled down.

    —Line the crock pot with foil, and cover the pot with foil rather than the lid when you’re melting the wax. I ended up with a thin layer of waxy residue inside my crock pot (which I use often for cooking) Alternately, if you think you’re going to use this method a lot, look for cheap crock pots at thrift stores to use only for candle making.
    –You may get a bit of a well near your wick, but it will be smaller than in traditional melt and pour candlemaking. If this happens, grate some wax and shove it into the well. When you light the candle, the flame will melt the wax and everything will even out naturally.

    These were really easy to make, and I was able to use jars that we had in abundance, so it was eco-friendly as well. I hope you try it!

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