/ 21.2.10 / 32 Comments / candle making , Crafts , frugal living , gifts , tutorials
How to Make Simple Jar Candles
I just posted this project on Shabby Chic Cottage for their Transformation Thursday Linky Party...Read about it here on May 13th's post...
Have you ever wanted to make a candle? I certainly have! I decided to learn candle making because I just couldn't bear to pay the ridiculous prices at the stores!! My husband likes pine ones in his office because he works from home all day. I wanted candles for the bathroom--a must!! And the kids each wanted their own specially colored and scented one. Hence the black and red striped one on the left. My daughter loves cookies scents and has a western themed room..so she wanted a earth-toned layered on.
It was a bit of an investment..but I knew it would pay off for the rest of our life for candle making needs, so it was worth it!
Making simple jar candles is a lot of fun! Candle making can be a very involved process, but we don't have to learn all the ins and outs...we just want to make candles for our home, to use in our bathrooms, or to brighten our kitchens. This isn't the cheapest craft in the world either, but it is a lot of fun and there are ways to cut corners.
Important Note: There are whole books on the subject of candlemaking and so many kinds to make!!! They each need the proper wax, additives, containers or lack of, and temperatures for heating and for adding stuff and for pouring. You can't make molded candles this way. These instructions are ONLY for "Container Candles". Please follow them exactly.
Getting Started: I know this isn't the simplest thing in the world to get started in, but it's not that hard. Candlemaking is so much fun and makes such nice gifts! Once you buy the stuff to begin, you can save it all in a box and make candles anytime you like! Consider it an investment in a lifetime supply of candles. It's great fun for the kids! You'll need some of this stuff for my sand making project coming up soon too!
We will need some supplies:
First you need a candy thermometer! Don't even bother with this project unless you buy one of those first.!!
- Containers: jars, coffee cups, thrift store votives etc. (not too thin)
- Wax - paraffin by the pound at Wal-mart or by the 10lb block at Hobby-Lobby (use a coupon!), or old candles that don't have a thick outer coating
- Vybar (this is not cheap...again, use a coupon at Hobby-lobby) $5.99--goes a long ways! (for strength and clear color)
- Coloring - I use crayons, but they will leave a little powdery residue at the base of the wick which you can see through the melted wax when it burns, but I don't mind about that. Whatever you use MUST BE MADE for candles! Don't use food coloring or other water or alcohol based additives. If you spend a little bit more, you can buy coloring just for the purpose of candle making.
- Scent - I bought a $10.00 bottle at Hobby-Lobby of Apple spice for 40% off and last year I bought Sugar Cookie. (large bottle) You can buy little bottles too but they don't last long. (I haven't tried essential oils yet.) The must be oil based! Don't use alcohol based or candy scents!
- wicks - come in several sizes depending on how big a circle of wax you want to burn. I buy the 2-3" diameter burning wicks. They seem to work well with most jars. ($1.99 per package)
- metal tabs from Hobby-Lobby ($1.99 per package) (You can use metal tabs from tea lights too)
sauce pan, wooden spoon, candy thermometer,large knife and cutting board, paring knife, toothpick or ice pick, wax paper, sticks (like skewers or chopsticks), glass measuring cup, pliers
Here's how you do it...
3. Prepare tabs. (You can pull these out of tea lights if you want.) Cut the wick the height of the candle plus one more inch. Push it through the hole in the metal tab with a toothpick or ice pick if you use tea light tabs. They are smaller than the wick size we normally use.
Dip the wick in a little melted wax and hold it straight while it cools so it will stay straight and stiff in the jar.
Hang the waxed strings with the tabs dangling over a skewer into the jar. You want the tab to be in the center of the jar.
Set all the jars with their tabs on the waxed paper to protect the counter.
You must have a candy thermometer for this project! Temperature is so so important! It has to be just right. To make jar candles, we want to heat our wax to between 170 and 180 degrees but never as high as 250! If you get it a little too hot, just take it off the heat source and let it cool to this range. This is the proper pouring range for "container candles".
5. Stir in additives: Vybar, Coloring, and Fragrance. While you are waiting for the wax to get hot enough, peel the crayon that is the color you want. Cut in up in little pieces. When the temperature is above 170 but below 180, add about 1 teaspoon of Vybar per pound, 1/2-1oz of fragrance per pound or 1 tsp. of potpourri oil and 1 stick of crayon per pound. Note: If you put the fragrance in while the wax is too hot, it can burn off the scent...so be sure to wait until the proper temperature.
6. If you want a layer candle, pick three shades of one color or three separate colors. I like to do the three shades. I use the lightest shade first, pour out a third of the wax into the jars. While the first layer is cooling, I add a darker shade (about 1/3 of a crayon), pour that on top, then stir in the darkest crayon (about 1/2 a crayon) and pour it last.
7. POUR the 1st Inch of wax to set the wick: Pour about one inch of wax to set the wick at the bottom. While it is cooling, I use a skewer or ice pick and push the metal tab down firmly on the bottom of the jar and make sure the wick is hanging straight. You will want to regularly check and straighten your wick as it is cooling anyway. It is important that the wick be as perfectly centered as possible or when you go to light your candle, the circle of burning wax will be off center and look funny.
9. Reserve about a cup of colored, scented wax in a glass measuring cup to fill the sunken place in the middle. When the candles cool completely, they sink in the middle a bit. They say to poke a hole near the wick so that the top layer stays 'up' while the middle sinks.
The Candle Maker and How to Make Wax Candles.
These are the websites I studied before making candles. Print my instructions and keep nearby to refer to for the first few times. It will help!