Relax with Wax – Guide to Candle Making

past times wax

Relax with Wax – Guide to Candle Making
By DeDee Birdsall

Candles have been around for centuries. Research suggests that ancient Egyptians burned candles made from beeswax as early as 3000 BC. In those days and for hundreds of years to come they were primarily used for light and religious and spiritual worship. No longer necessary as a light source, their usage has evolved into an essential home décor item, hitting marks in both aromatherapy and decorating trends. They freshen the air and fill your home with delightful aromas of freshly baked goods, elegant florals, notes of holidays and anything that strikes your fancy while creating a relaxing environment.

Wax and Wane – Old Trends

Trends in design and popularity have changed over the years, but the basic principle is the same.  A quick look back over the craft conjures up memories of making ice cube and snowball candles from melted paraffin, sometimes using metal coffee cans and cottage cheese containers as molds, in my mom’s kitchen in the mid-1970s. The mid-80s brought an explosion of shapes, colors, and for the first time–scents, kicking candles into high gear as a multi-functional decorative accent. 

Significant changes in candles came about during the 90s with the development of new waxes, such as soybean and palm, which were much softer than conventional paraffin and slower burning. Also, they were a little more environmentally correct, with less suet; no more black stains on the ceiling. We also rolled our share of beeswax taper candles during this era, and little skill was required–just the ability to tightly roll a sheet of beeswax. Today, new trends set candle making apart from its earlier days.

Can’t Hold a Candle to Today’s Trends


Modern trends suggest more staying power with scents, wicks and unique vessels.  Before you dive in, here is some food for thought.

  • Wood Wicks: A fun addition to your candle, wood wicks are easy to use and provide a little crackle, like that of a burning fireplace. The flame is horizontal, so your candles achieve a melt pool quicker, which fills your room with scent much faster than a traditional candle. Wood wicks come in various colors and printed designs and are a must try if you’re looking to add a visual and audible experience. They can be found at Hobby Lobby, but for custom sizes, try The Wooden Wick Company (
  • Trending Colors: 2019 trends indicate colors run the gamut from primary to earth tones with matching scents like brushed suede (tan), fresh fir (green), coffee house (black), grapefruit and persimmon (red).
  • Sentimental Connections: Gone are the standard vanilla and sugar cookie days. There’s a significant trend toward scents that invoke memories, such as Campfire Nights, Walk in the Woods, and Fresh Rain. One of the most popular new scents is Flowerbomb, first developed into perfume by Victor & Rolf.  It’s a genuinely magical scent and an explosion of florals with a hint of seduction. Because it is difficult to mimic and requires many different oils, you can cut to the chase and order the scent from 
  • Distinctive Vessels and Sustainability: Next to fragrance, the candle’s container is a top selling point. Anything that can hold hot wax will work, so a quick look around your home, garden shed, or flea market might turn up the perfect container to compliment your home’s décor.  For a sustainable option, plan on planting a succulent in your container once the candle has burned its last flame.


Crafty People

Crafters and DIYer’s have been making candles as long as we’ve had fire and wax. Endlessly customizable, naturally beautiful and simple to make, they’re a crafter’s favorite, but if you feel you’re too much of a newbie to go it alone, you can purchase a candle making kit with all the necessary materials. A couple great sources for kits are and\kits.

There are no limits to the types of candles you can make–from 50-hour candles that will weather any power outage to essential oil candles to indulge your senses. Candle making is also an excellent craft you can do with the kids; you can even make terrific teacher gifts using melted crayons. 


All candles contain the same three components: wax, a wick, and a container, but you will need a few other supplies to get started.  The best place to start is to determine a few basics–your color, your scent, and your vessel. Hobby Lobby and Michaels are excellent sources for your supplies, as well as and

Required Supplies

  • Candle-making wax
  • Wicks
  • Fragrance oil
  • Heat-proof spatula
  • Heat-proof container
  • Double boiler
  • Cooking thermometer
  • One pair of chopsticks or pencils

Candle Crafting in 8 Easy Steps

  1. Measure how much wax you need to fill your container, then double it.
  2. Pour wax into a double boiler and allow to melt for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once melted, add your fragrance oil according to your wax container instructions.
  4. Next, attach the wick to the container by dipping the wick in the wax and adhering it to the bottom, or you can use superglue.
  5. Cool wax to 140 degrees F. Slowly pour while holding the wick in place, leaving a little in the container to top off the candle once cooled.
  6. Secure your wick to prevent it from swaying in the melted wax. You can use pencils or chopsticks across the top of the container and place the cord between them so that it stays centered while the wax cools. Set wax for four hours.
  7. Reheat and pour new wax if your candle hardened with an indentation around the wick or could just use a little top off.

Tip: To prevent an indentation or cracks around the wick, add 1 1/2 cups of organic shortening to a half pound of wax before melting.   

  1. Trim wick to less than a half inch. If it flickers or has a tall flame when burning, trim again.

Tips for the Perfect Candle

  • Paraffin, soy, beeswax or gel? A good source for info about each is
  • For scents and essential oils check out;; and
  • Allow candles to cure 3 to 4 days before burning to allow scents and wax to bind together.
  • If you plan to use essential oils to scent your candles, add when the wax is hot, but not too hot, or you will evaporate the oils.
  • Need help determining how much wax to use? The link tells you the amount based on the size of your vessel. 


Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.

–William Arthur Lord—