Wax Candle Recipes
· Double boiler- for melting the wax. A metal container
that sits snuggly inside of a saucepan makes a good substitute.
· Moulds- you can use moulds made specifically for
candles or have a search around the house for items that can be
used instead. You can buy cheap candle moulds from a craft shop
but you can also make your own at home from yoghurt pots, waxed
paper cartons, or even plastic rainwater pipes. If you need to
add a base you can improvise one from a tin or jam jar lid, carefully
sealing it with plasticine or mould seal. You can make your own
moulds using a double layer of heavy duty cooking foil. If using
a rubber mould don't use stearin as it rots rubber. Anything that
can be pulled, peeled, or broken off from the finished candle
works well. Some examples are: canning jars, cartons, frozen juice
containers, milk cartons, galvanised buckets, margarine tubs,
small paper cups, terra-cotta pots, and yoghurt containers.
· Mould seal- plasticine to seal the wick hole at
the base of your moulds. Make certain any seal residue is removed
from the wick - even the smallest amount will keep the wick from
burning. Make certain to use plenty of mould seal to make the
· Scales- for weighing ingredients
· Container- use any type of an appropriate-sized
container for holding water bath for when you are using metal
· Measuring spoons- for measuring ingredients like oils
· Rods- skewers or knitting needles can be used
as rods to suspend wicks in the centre of candle moulds and to
keep them straight. They can also be used to insert in the centre
of a candle to open the wax around the wick, and as wicking needles
for wick insertion and securing wicks at the base of moulds.
· Wicks- wicks come in different sizes and different
types. Which one you use depends on the candle you are making.
Flat wicks are used for dipped candles, floating wicks for floating
candles, square wicks for poured candles and wire core wicks for
container or votive candles. The diameter of the candle also influences
wick choice. You need a 2.5cm wick for a candle with a 2.5cm diameter
etc. You also have a choice of primed or unprimed wicks. With
the exception of dipped candles, the wick needs to be primed before
you make the candle. If you have to prime a wick, soak it in melted
wax for around five minutes. Then take the wick out and lay it
straight out on waxed paper until it is dry. Wicks should be kept
trimmed to 1-2.5cm in length.
· Weights - wax is lighter than water. To prevent
a filled mould from floating in a water bath, use lead weights
or a length of chain to anchor the mould
· Wick tabs - are small, flat metal discs used to
anchor the wick in container candles. The wick is pushed through
the hole in the disc and the prongs are pinched together to firmly
hold the wick.
· Paraffin wax- you can get this wax in a block
or granulated and it is the most basic wax for candle making.
You can add small amounts of beeswax to paraffin to help the candle
burn more evenly. This also makes it smell really sweet. Another
additive for paraffin is stearin, which is added to stop paraffin
wax from dripping too much. You can work out the quantity of wax
needed by filling a mould with water and measure it - for every
100ml of water you will need 90g of cold wax.
· Stearin (stearic acid)- is an important wax additive
and is used to harden candles. It dissolves wax dyes, and helps
the wax pop out of its mould. Colours will appear brighter when
used. Water-cooling is recommended when stearin has been used,
because air-cooling produces a mottled appearance. As a guide,
you normally need to add about one part stearin for every ten
parts wax. If you add too much stearin, it can affect the appearance
of the candle and give it a soap-like finish. If you are making
a coloured candle, always add dye to the stearin before you add
the wax. When you make a candle, melt the stearin and then add
the wax to it.
· Beeswax - is an all-natural product and slightly
more expensive than paraffin wax. It has a sweet honey scent.
May be purchased in block, pellet, or sheet form. It is generally
combined with other waxes to increase burning time and improve
the wax for moulding and dipping. Beeswax is very sticky, so candles
made just from beeswax generally need to be dipped or rolled.
If moulds are used, a special releasing agent must be first applied.
Due to its low-shrinkage qualities, few or no wells form in the
middle of the candle which means little or no refilling as the
· Opaque and translucent crystals - act as wax hardeners.
Both types of crystals have very high melting points and must
first be carefully melted in a small pan with a small amount of
wax over direct heat before being added to the larger pot of wax.
Only ½ to 1 teaspoon of crystals is needed for each 500g
of wax. In addition to hardening the wax, both types of crystals
increase the burning time of candles and produce a lustrous finish.
Opaque crystals whiten the wax, making colours very clear, and
produce a glossy finish. Translucent crystals help retain the
natural translucency of the wax and make colours have a glass-like
appearance. Translucent crystals are always needed when making
· Dyes - come in block or powder form and you dissolve
it during the heating process. The amount of dye used depends
on the shade desired. Test the colour by pouring a small amount
of molten wax that has been coloured onto waxed paper and allowing
it to cool. The colour will be slightly lighter than the finished
candle. Always increase the colour gradually, building the colour
from light to dark. Too much black dye can affect the candle's
burning qualities. Do not overheat any wax containing blue dyes
or other colours that contain blues such as green or purple. Too
much heat will cause discolouration at the time of heating or
within a short time after. Over-dyed wax does not glow well when
the candle is lit. If you are overdipping a candle with a coloured
wax, the dye needs to be quite strong to be effective.
· Scents - may be added to candle wax to give off
an aroma while burning. After the wax has reached the right temperature
for pouring and once it has been removed from the heat, the scent
is added and stirred well. It is added at the last minute to keep
evaporation to a minimum. Be careful not to add too much scent
as this may cause mottling or pitting and make releasing from
the mould difficult. An alternative to scenting the wax is to
scent the wick by saturating it in scent before the priming process.
Must be oil-based because oil is the only compatible base for
a wax candle. Therefore, if using perfume, make certain the perfume
is oil-based and not alcohol-based.
· Dip and Carve Wax-This type of wax is available
in large chunks. It is a blend of waxes which is specially formulated
so that it can be carved without splitting. It has a slightly
more malleable quality than ordinary beeswax or paraffin wax.
Despite its name, you do not have to use it for dipping candles,
although you can if you want to.
A word of caution before you start to make an candles - hot wax
can give you a nasty burn so keep safety considerations uppermost
when you are melting the wax. Keep a damp tea towel handy so that
you can cover the pan if the wax should catch fire. Never leave
the pan unattended and keep the outside surfaces free of wax drips.
Once you have mastered basic candlemaking as explained here, you
can try out some different methods.
Remember if it all
goes horribly wrong you can always melt down and start again.
1. Prepare the wick
and mould- If you haven't bought pre-waxed wicks it will help
to dip the length of wicking you need into some melted white wax
first and let it dry so that you can easily pull it taut when
it is secured in the mould. You need to secure the wick at the
top and bottom of the mould so that it stands straight when you
pour in the melted wax. Tie a knot at one end of the wicking and
thread it through the base of the mould. Pull it taut and seal
the hole outside with some mould seal. You can use a wick tab
holder. Tie the other end of the wick around a skewer tightly
enough so the skewer rests across the top of the mould and the
wick is taut. If you can't pierce a hole in the bottom of the
mould you can pierce a hole right through after your candle is
made and thread a wick through, filling up the hole with liquid
wax. Use a generous amount of mould seal to ensure the mould is
2. Melt the wax-
Calculate amount of wax needed. Break wax into small pieces using
hammer and screwdriver. Put wax pieces into top of double boiler
or melting pot. Fill bottom portion of double boiler with water,
or place the melting pot into the saucepan and fill with enough
water to come halfway up the sides of the melting pot. Set double
boiler or pan on the heating element. Make certain water does
not boil dry. Place thermometer in wax, making certain thermometer
bulb does not touch the bottom of the pan. Turn heat on medium
low. If water begins to boil rapidly, reduce heat to a gentle
boil to prevent water from splashing into the container. Make
certain heat is not reduced too much, as doing so will cause difficulty
in keeping the temperature accurate. Once wax is melted and is
at the specified temperature, add hardener (if necessary), dye,
and scent. This may lower the temperature. Make certain wax is
brought back up to the temperature needed. Melt the wax and stearin
separately over water. It is generally recommended that you use
ten parts wax to one part stearin. Any less and it will be difficult
to remove the candle from the mould, as stearin is what aids the
contraction and release of the wax. Make certain the water in
the bottom pan does not boil dry. Fill with more water as necessary.
3. Add the colour-
Experts say you should add the wax dye to the stearin and then
pour this into the melted wax. Be wary of wax dye - the set candle
will look paler than in melted wax form. Add a bit at a time.
4. Pour the wax-
Once mould is clean and dry, apply a coat of silicone spray to
the inside of the mould. A light application of vegetable oil
is also suitable for coating the mould.When the wax has fully
melted pour it evenly into the centre of the mould. Tap the mould
gently to release any air bubbles.
5. Setting and topping
up- I just leave my candles in a cool place to set although
you can speed the process up by putting them into the refrigerator
or in a basin of water up to the level of the wax in the mould.
As wax sets it contracts and you may find it sinks in the middle
around the wick. Poke holes in the surface of the candle and pour
on a little more molten wax to level out the top and leave to
set again. When possible, use a water bath to reduce the amount
of time needed for cooling. Candles may be cooled at room temperature
but water-cooling improves the appearances. To speed the final
cooling process, put the candle in the refrigerator and remove
it as soon as it is cold to the touch. Tiny cracks and lines may
appear if the candle is allowed to cool longer than necessary.
6. Removing the
candle- Never try to take a candle out of the mould until
it is completely set and the mould cold to the touch. Remember
to remove any mould seal and to cut the wick knot. Remove the
rod or skewer and trim the wick to approximately 5mm and then
gently shake the mould upside-down and the candle should slide
out easily. Never try to pry or cut the candle out of the mould.
Place mould in a refrigerator until it is cold to the touch. If
it is still stuck, place in freezer for five minutes. If still
stuck put back in freezer for another five minutes. Repeat steps
3 and 4 a few more times (this will probably ruin the candle).
If all else fails, preheat the oven to 150 degrees F (metal moulds
only). Lay mould in pan on its side or tilted so the melting wax
will run out. Place pan/mould in oven until wax melts out of the
7. Cleaning up-
Pour excess wax into an old pan lined with greaseproof waxed paper.
DO NOT pour wax down the drain. It will clog the drain. Let wax
set and set aside for reuse at a later date. Place equipment in
boiling water until wax melts. Wipe away wax using a paper towel
and then wash equipment in warm, soapy water. Or, let equipment
soak in a basin filled with hot water and a degreasing agent.
Once the molten wax has been poured, wipe around the inside of
the boiler with a cry kitchen towel to clean. Place metal moulds
in a 150F oven on a foil-lined cookie sheet and heat for 15 minutes.
Wax will melt and run onto foil. DO NOT heat oven higher than
150F - a higher temperature will cause the welds in the moulds
to melt. Discard old cans, lids, and other replaceable equipment.
Rather than prying and scraping melted wax from glass containers
and votive holders, place them in the freezer. Wax will shrink
and easily pop out. If wax spills onto clothing or cloth, pour
hot water onto the spill to melt away the wax. If wax spills onto
carpet, allow wax to harden and then rub with an ice cube. Wax
will become brittle and can then be easily scraped up with a dull
knife. Any remaining residue can be cleaned up with repeated treatments
using a hot, damp cloth or sponge.
How to select additives
1. Pillar, votive, container, taper candles- 3 heaped tablespoons
of stearin per 450g of wax
2. Floating candles- 5 heaped tablespoons of stearin per 450g
You can make multicoloured candles by first making an accurate
measurement of the volume of your mould with water and then
dividing that by the number of colours you want to use. Pour
each layer in the normal way, waiting in between layers for
the wax to begin to set and a skin to form. Poke some holes
in the surface of the layer with a skewer so that the next colour
will run into them and be anchored.
1. Fill large mixing bowl or container half full with firmly
packed damp sand, making sure that the surface is smooth and
2. Push small bowl into the centre of the packed sand. Add more
sand and pack around small bowl if necessary. Carefully remove
3. Measure depth of the hole and add 1 inch for the length of
4. Determine amount of wax needed and melt to around 121 degrees
C. If the wax isn't hot enough it won't seep into the sand.
5. Gently pour wax into centre of sand, trickling it over the
back of a spoon to it does not cause the sand to lose its shape.
The wax will seep into the sand within five minutes
6. Add more wax. After two hours a well will form in the centre
and more wax will need to be added
7. Leave for an hour or so then push a metal skewer down through
the middle. Leave the skewer there until the candle sets completely.
Replace the skewer with a wick and remelt a little spare wax
and pour another thin layer over the top of the candle to hold
the wick in place.
8. Allow candle to cool for three hours and then remove candle
from the sand. Smooth and shape as desired. Trim the wick before
1. Determine amount of wax needed and melt wax to (71 C)160F.
The amount of wax depends upon the size of the dipping can,
and size of dipping can depends upon the desired height of the
candle. As a general guideline, a can which is 30cm high and
13cm wide will need 3kg of cold wax.
2. Cut wick the desired length of the finished candle plus 5cm.
For example, a 15cm candle requires 20cm of wick
3. Hold wick at one end and dip end into the wax for three seconds.
Remove wick. Hang to cool for three minutes. After dipping 3-4
times, straighten wick and candle.
4. Repeat dipping and drying process until candle is the desired
thickness. The process may take as many as 15-30 dips. Use an
even and smooth motion to dip
5. Several times during the dipping process, trim the drips
off the bottom of the candle with paring knife
6. Heat wax to (82 C)180F for the final dipping to give candle
a smooth finish. While still slightly warm, trim the drip off
the bottom of candle and gently press bottom against a smooth,
hard surface to flatten
7. Option: rather than heating the wax to 180F for the final
dipping, gently roll the cooled candle on wax paper to remove
any minor bumps and to give the candle a smooth finish
8. Hang candle from hanger or nail to dry for at least one hour.
Trim wick to 2cm length before burning
9. Can be made in pairs by using wick doubled over and dipping
to within 5cm of your fingers.
10. It has also been suggested in other books to dip the candles
in cold water after every dipping to cool them quicker.
· For successful dipping, the correct temperature for
the melted wax is important. Dipping in a higher temperature
(175-180F) may cause previous layers to melt. Dipping in a low
temperature causes the wax layers to adhere unevenly and water
may become trapped between the layers
· If desired, colour of wax may be deepened at any time
during the dipping process by adding more dye to the molten
wax. Make certain after adding dye that the wax is still the
· If desired, coloured layers can be created. Two dips
make a narrow band, six dips make a medium-wide band, and ten
dips make a wide band
· If the candle is dipped too often or left in the wax
too long, it will begin to melt, rather than build up.
Twisted candles are dipped candles that have been shaped into
a spiral design. Creating a perfect twisted candle may require
1. Determine amount of wax needed and melt
2. Make dipped candle as per instructions
3. When candle has cooled to the point where it is slightly
warm to hold but still pliable, place it on clean, smooth surface
covered with waxed paper and flatten it with a rolling pin to
a ¼ inch thickness. Roll centre only, not tip or base.
4. Hold candle near wick with one hand at base with other hand.
Keep one hand still and gently twist other hand in an even motion.
Continue twisting until entire length is twisted. Work quickly,
but not too vigorously while wax is still warm
5. If necessary, reshape base of candle to fit into candle holder
6. Allow candle to cool for at least one hour before burning
1. Warm rectangular piece of beeswax with a blow dryer so it
becomes soft and pliable. The short side of the rectangle determines
the height of the candle
2. Cut a narrow triangle from the longest side of the rectangle
using a ruler and craft knife. For a variation you can use rectangle
pieces of beeswax to give even edged candles.
3. Cut wick 2cm longer than height of the candle. Gently press
the wick into longest edge and begin rolling, making certain
wick is firmly in place after the first roll.
4. Roll candle. The tighter the candle is rolled, the longer
it will burn
5. When rolling is complete, press the edge into the candle.
Beeswax is sticky so it will cling to itself
1. Melt wax
2. Cool wax just to the point where a thin film appears on the
surface. Quickly whip wax into a froth using a wire whisk. The
faster the wax is whipped, the fluffier it will become
3. Whipped wax needs to be applied to a candle or placed into
desired container immediately before wax hardens. Whipped wax
can be applied in three different methods. However, regardless
of method chosen, whipped wax should be applied immediately
4. Whipped wax can be applied to a candle with a spoon or placed
into and ice cream cone or dish. If placing whipped wax into
ice cream cone or dish, insert wick before whipped wax dries
5. Whipped wax can be applied with a spatula or a fork or by
dipping the candle into the whipped wax
· After wax has melted, add one tablespoon of cornstarch
per 450g of wax, and the wax will adhere better to the candle
· Add one tablespoon of washing detergent per 450g of
wax at any time during the whipping process for added whiteness
· Whipped coloured wax will be much lighter than when
Floating candles are moulded in moulds that are wider than they
are high. This is what allows them to float. Candy, petit fours,
and individual gelatin moulds are ideal for floating candles
1. Determine amount of wax needed and melt
2. Cut wick 1 ½ inch longer than the height of the moulds.
Place one end of the wick into the hole in wick tab and crimp
shut with pliers, making certain wick is secure
3. Clean and dry the mould and then coat with a release, silicone
spray or vegetable oil. Place wick tab and wick in centre bottom
of each mould. Carefully pour wax into the moulds to within
½ inch of the top. Gently tap sides of moulds to release
any air bubbles
4. Set moulds in a pan filled with shallow water to cool. If
necessary, weight the moulds down to keep them floating
5. Follow steps 11-12 for moulded candles. Only one refilling
should be necessary, because of the small size of the candles.
When refilling, make certain wax is poured over wick to coat
it for easier lighting and burning
6. When wax has completely hardened, remove moulds from water
bath and turn them over to release candles from moulds. Trim
wicks to ½ inch lengths
are moulded candles with cubed pieces of wax in them. These
unique candles can be bright or elegant depending on the mould
and the colours of the cubed pieces
1. Determine amount of wax needed for ice cube trays and mould
and melt wax. Do not add any dye to wax that will be used for
the large, moulded candle; it needs to be clear
2. Pour individual coloured waxes into clean dry ice cube trays
3. Cool and remove cubes from trays. Cut into chunks or smaller
cubes with paring knife
4. Fill desired mould with the cubes. Put the coloured chucks
as close to the outside of the mould as possible so they will
be seen when the plain wax is added. Place wick in centre of
cubes and then pour clear wax into mould. Tap the mould sharply
when the plain wax is added to reduce the chance of air bubbles.
5. Finish the candle as usual.
To make these 'ice candles', insert a slender candle or taper
into a rigid mould of any size or shape. Thread the exposed
end of the candle wick through the hole in the mould (do not
seal with mould seal) and stand the mould in a bowl or dish.
Then pack the mould with crushed ice or chunks or solid ice.
The more ice you use and the larger the chunks, the larger the
holes in the candle will be. Now pour on the melted wax. As
it cools, the wax forms a thin skin around the pieces of ice,
which will determine the texture of the candle. And as the ice
melts and the water runs out of the hole in the base of the
mould, it will leave its mark behind - a random pattern of holes
in the finished candle.
dipped candles in colour
White candles can be overdipped in an outer coating of tinted
wax. Coated candles have a more intense colour than solid-colour
candles and do not fade as quickly. To overdip, melt a little
dye and wax together and heat a deep pan of water almost to
boiling. Pour the wax slowly onto the hot water to prevent bubbles
from forming in the floating wax (they have an unattractive
similarity to acne on a candle). Hold the candles by the wick
and dip them up to the wick. Let them cool, then repeat until
you obtain the colour you desire. For a striped candle with
four bands of colour, heat four pans of water and float wax
and dye in different colours, ranging from light to dark, in
each pan. Dip the candle twice in the lightest colour up to
the wick, allowing it to dry after each dip. Next, dip it twice
in the second palest colour to about three quarters of its length,
letting it dry between dips. Then copy for other colours.