Candlemaking 101

glenda's candles

I’m a huge fan of candles. I love their wonderful scents and their warm glow. My bedroom shelves are filled with half-burned candles I’ve acquired over time. I always thought they seemed like an easy enough thing to make myself, but up until recently I hadn’t gotten around to actually doing it. I’m glad I did though, because despite my lack of experience, the candles turned out great! And it was a very fun activity to do with my mom. 

Make a "campfire candle" in a classic enamelware mug - a great gift, and the recipient can reuse the mug, too!

Make a “campfire candle” in a classic enamelware mug – a great gift, and the recipient can reuse the mug, too!

I was apprehensive about melting wax in boiling water at first since my mom and I are both very accident-prone, but we got the hang of it quickly and it went smoothly. Luckily, the supplies weren’t hard to acquire because my mom (Lehman’s VP of Marketing Glenda Lehman Ervin) could just bring them home from work at the end of the day. Lehman’s has such a great selection of jars, drinking glasses and mugs to make candles in as well as wax, wicks and all other tools you could need. Here’s how we did it.

A sturdy double boiler is the safest way to heat wax on the stovetop for candlemaking. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

A sturdy double boiler is the safest way to heat wax on the stovetop for candlemaking. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

The process of candlemaking starts with heating a double boiler on the stove. My mom and I didn’t have one of these and had to use a big skillet and a saucepan filled with water as our makeshift replacement. I wish we had had one though, since it is safer and makes it a little easier to melt and pour the wax.

These unique clip-top canning jars make wonderful candle containers, and can be reused when the candle's all gone! At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

These unique clip-top canning jars make wonderful candle containers, and can be reused when the candle’s all gone! At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Before the wax can be poured, the wicks must be in place. One of the tools needed for candlemaking is wick holders, which are metal pieces that are placed across the brim of the candle’s container. The wick is tied to the center of this piece with a section of it going into the candle all the way to the base. The purpose of this is to hold the wick in place of the center of the candle so it burns straight down. Once the wax has been poured and dried, the wick is cut from the holder at the desired length.

Pouring the wax is the trickiest part. If you want the candle to be a single color, then this step is done. If you prefer a candle with different colored stripes, then the wax in one layer has to be entirely dried solid before the next layer can be poured. Once your candles are poured and dried with their wicks in place, they’re done!

My mom and I had a great time doing this together since it’s a relatively quick, easy and crafty activity with a great product at the end. We made four pretty candles with stripes, lightly scented with rose, lavender and peach. They make great gifts, and I already gave one of our candles to a good friend of mine. This craft is one of my favorites that I’ll definitely do again. Try it yourself sometime!

Editor’s Note: Love candles but don’t want to make them? Find beautiful, functional and practical candles – from beeswax to emergency candles to scented soy candles – at Lehmans.com.