In this DIY guide, we are looking at making candles, one of our favourite things to do!
Once you get the hang of it, it’s far easier than you think, and there are so many places locally and online that can help you get started.
When it comes to wedding favours, it can be a little tricky deciding what to use. You can opt for something of the edible variety, like chocolate or lollies or mini cakes; or a keepsake, like a photo or a glass. Or, you can look for a more ‘useful’ favour, like tea leaves or candles.
Of course, you can purchase pre-made versions of these items, but if you are a little creative and love a bit of DIY, then making these can be cost effective and a lot of fun.
What you will need:
Candle Fragrance Oil
Colour Chips (optional)
Wick Stickums (a small circle of double sided foam, used to stick the wick to the bottom of the container)
Wax Pouring Jug – microwave safe OR aluminium
Okay, let's get started!
1. Measuring the Wax
Before we get started, it is a good idea to estimate how much wax you will need to fill your container or glass. To do this, place your container on a set of digital scales, and set the scales back to zero.
Fill your container up with water, leaving 1-2cm from the top.
Take note of the weight – water has a higher density than water, so in order to estimate the amount of wax required, we need to deduct 20% from this.
*Tip: If maths isn’t your thing, don’t worry! Just multiply the water weight number by 0.8 to get your wax weight. Then multiply the wax weight by the number of candles you’re making. This is the amount of candle wax you need to melt.
For example, if the water weight is 100g, minus 20% = 80g of wax per candle. If you’re making 50 of these candles, then multiple 80g by 50 = 4,000g or 4kg wax total.
This is the most complicating part of the whole process – I promise!
2. Set Up Your Container/Glass
It is very important to make sure your container or glass is clean and dry. Any residue or marks can alter the appearance of your candle.
Take a stickum and place it on the bottom of the wick, then peel of the backing paper and stick the wick into the centre of the container or glass. Press down firmly so that the wick won’t move.
Take your wick holder and slide it over the wick, so it is resting flat on the container or glass. Pull it gently to centre the wick.
*Tip: Make sure you choose the correct size stickum and wick for your container and glass. A larger container will require a longer and thicker wick with a wider base, and vice versa. When you purchase your supplies, the type of wick will usually be recommended based on your container diameter.
3. Melting the Wax There are two methods for melting the wax:
Double-boiler method on the stove, or
Both are effective but require responsible care to ensure wax does not burn.
Using the Double-Boiler method, fill a pot half-full of water, place on the stove top and bring to a boil. Place your wax into an aluminium pouring jug, and once the pot of water is simmering, place the jug into the pot. Turn the stove down to medium-low and heat until the wax is completely melted, stirring consistently. Keep adding more water to the pot as the water evaporates.
If you prefer to use the Microwave method, then you will need a microwave safe pouring jug. Place your wax into the jug, and heat in short bursts of 30 seconds, stirring in between, until the wax has melted.
Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax. Once it reaches approximately 75C, it is ready to pour.
*Tip: If you have a lot of wax to melt, it is best to do it in batches, so that is melts evenly and you can pour it quick enough before the temperature drops.
Do not leave your wax unattended on the stove or heat for longer than 30 seconds in the microwave. Please take care when heating wax as, being super-hot and all, it can burn!
4. Adding Fragrance and Colour
If you are adding colour or fragrance to your candles, then do this as soon as it has melted, whilst still quite hot. If you wait until after the wax reaches 75C then the wax may be too cool when you go to pour it into your containers.
Measure out your fragrance and pour into the wax. Use a stick (a bamboo skewer or chopstick works well), stir through the fragrance, and a colour chip if desired as well.
*Tip: The maximum amount of fragrance to be added to wax varies, but most recommend a maximum of 10% of fragrance oil. For example, for the candle with 80g of wax, it would use a maximum of 8g of fragrance oil. Please refer to the supplier’s notes when purchasing your wax and fragrance oil – it will usually recommend the maximum fragrance load for each type of wax and fragrance.
Exceeding maximum fragrance load recommendations can result in poor performance, so make sure you check!
5. Pouring the Wax
Once your wax reaches approximately 75C, start pouring into your prepared containers or glasses. Make sure you leave a 1-2cm gap at the top.
Leave the candles to cool for a few hours.
6. Finishing the Candle
Once the candle has set, remove the wick holder and trim the wick so that it 1cm above the wax.
*Tip: If you’ve made a test batch, make sure you leave them overnight for the wax to completely harden before burning them.
Once you have your candles completed, then you can think about customisation and decoration – think personalised stickers or labels with your names, initials or photos; ribbon or string tied around the glass; or even placing a sticker with the guest’s names on them to double up as a placecard. There are so many great finishing options to fit in with any theme and style!
Well, there you have it - good luck in your DIY project!
If you’re looking for suppliers to get your hands on the items you need, try some of these below:
Eroma - Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane/online – ships nationwide
Perth Candle Supplies - Showroom located in Fremantle + online
Aussie Candle Supplies - Showroom located in Wangara + online
Tranquil Scents/KandleKaz - Showroom located in Kwinana + online
Artisan Candle Supplies - Showroom located in Cockburn Central + online
You’ll find that most of these suppliers have starter kits for candle making and loads of educational resources and workshops to help you out!