How To Make Scented Candles (Beginners Guide)


making scented candles

Making scented candles is a pretty simple and quick process. Depending on the method you use to melt your wax and how many candles you are making you can be finished with everything rather quickly.

The hardest part about making candles is making sure you have the right container, wick, and fragrance oil. You can overcome this by buying a candle making kit with everything included.

Click here to check the most popular candle making kits on Amazon.

If you decide to order your supplies directly from a wholesaler and not buy a kit then be sure to check out my free candle-making calculators near the end of this spreadsheet, or click here to see them now.

If you are new to candle-making the good news is this is a complete beginner-friendly guide and I get in-depth on nearly every topic.

Let’s take a look.

Table Of Contents
Equipment You Will Need
Supplies You Will Need
How To Make Scented Candles
Candle Making Suppliers
Cleaning Up
Free Candle Making Calculators
Frequently Asked Questions
Conclusion

Equipment You Will Need

Suggested Equipment For Candle Making

Melting Pot

You can get melting pots in a few different sizes. The size you choose will depend on how large of a batch of candles you want to make at once.

If you are making your own homemade candles and not selling them you may be fine using a 2lb melting pot. However, if you want to make larger batches you might consider buying a few 4lb melting pots or a presto pot designed for melting wax.

Thermometer

I use an instant-read digital thermometer that is designed to be used for cooking meat. It gives a fast and accurate reading.

Some candle makers use laser infrared temperature guns and love them, however, you should be aware they can be less accurate than other types of thermometers.

Digital Scale

I have a few different kitchen scales that I use but I suggest you find one that goes up to at least 3000 grams. This will be big enough to weigh a 4lb melting pot full of wax and dye blocks with room left over.

Jewelers Scale

I suggest you use a jewelers scale for measuring your fragrance oils. If you are measuring fragrance oil for only one or two candles the amount is going to be very small. It will be only a few grams, and most kitchen scales struggle measuring amounts that low accurately.

Wick Holders

You can use just about anything for a wick holder. You can buy elaborate wick holders from candle supply companies or a pack of clothespins from the local dollar store. I prefer to use clothespins.

Minimum Equipment For Candle Making

Thermometer

If you have a thermometer for making candy you can also use it for making candles. In my opinion some type of thermometer is required to make sure you add fragrance oil and pour the candle at the right time.

Microwave Safe Bowl

If you do not want to buy a melting pot you can use a microwave safe container such as a Pyrex measuring cup in a double boiler system or in the microwave.

Digital Scale

When choosing a digital scale you need something that can weigh a few pounds and can go as low as tenths of an ounce or grams so that you can weigh fragrance oils.

So compare models, read all the reviews and choose carefully.

Wick Holders

You can use almost anything as a wick holder, ink pens, chopsticks, and clothespins.

Supplies You Will Need

Container

Candle safe containers are a must. You can use most pressure canning jars, jelly jars, mason jars, and some glass tumblers for candle making. You can find these containers on Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Rural King, or whatever your local big box store or farm store is.

Do not use glass that is thin, do not use wooden bowls or anything that could catch fire.

Wax

Soy is suggested for a scented container candle. You have a few different options.

  • 464 Soy Wax
  • 444 Soy Wax
  • 415 Soy Wax
  • C-3
  • Soy-10
  • Coconut 83

You will find different types of wax and blends might have different names based on the supplier.

Fragrance Oil

When making candles you have to choose between essential oils and fragrance oils. Essential oils are a more natural option but you do not get much of a variety in fragrances unless you learn to blend them.

Fragrance oils are oils engineered to smell in different ways and in most cases have a lot of man made chemicals in them to help create those scents.

You want to choose a phthalate-free fragrance oil designed for scented candles as it is harmful. When you are looking at supplier websites keep in mind they also sell fragrance oils for cosmetics and soaps, so do not buy one of those by mistake.

Phthalate free and made for candles is a must.

Wick

The wick you choose will be based on the size of the container and the type of wax you are using. If you are ordering your candle supplies from a major candle making supplier they have guides you can follow and suggested waxes and wicks in the product descriptions.

However, that is usually just a starting point. It can also depend on what type of dye and how much fragrance oil you use.

CandleScience & CandleWic are great places to start. CandleScience has many guides and CandleWic will respond quickly to emails asking questions if you want them to suggest a wick or wax to you.

Wick Stickers

Wick stickers are not mandatory but they sure are convenient. You can stick your finger down in to the bottom of the jar without worrying about burning your fingers like with a hot glue gun.

I do not suggest using wax to secure the wick tab to the bottom of the container. As the flame burns down it can come loose and the wick could lean too far to the side of the container and bust the glass,

How To Make Scented Candles

1. Calculate Required Material

The first step to making scented candles is count the size and number of containers you have and use that information to calculate how much wax and fragrance oil you need.

I am about to do the math below, however, if you do not want to do the math and click here to skip straight to the calculator.

Let’s assume you have 8 jars that are 8 oz each and you will use a 10% fragrance oil load.

8 x 8 = 64

Now divide 64 by 20 to get the amount of wax needed for your containers

64 / 20 = 3.2

This means you need 3.2lbs of wax, however, you have to calculate for the fragrance oil.

3.2 x 16 ounces in a pound = 51.2 ounces of wax.

52.2 x 10% = 5.12 oz of fragrance oil.

51.2 – 5.12 = 46.08

This leaves you with a requirement of 46.08 oz of wax and 5.12 oz of fragrance oil for a total of 51.2 of total material.

2. Measure Soy Wax

Place the melting pot on the scale and press the tare/zero button to zero out the scale. Then begin adding wax.

Measure out the wax required for your candles, for our example it is 46.08 oz of wax or 2.88lbs or 1306 grams of wax.

3. Measure Fragrance Oil

Now place a small measuring cup on your kictchen scale, or jewelers scale if you have opted to use that. Press the tare/zero button to zero out the scale.

Add 5.12 oz of fragrance oil to measuring cup or 145 grams of fragrance oil.

4. Melt The Wax

To melt the wax you will want to use a double boiler or a microwave.

Double Boiler

A double boiler is when you place a shallow pot or saucepan on your stove and add 3-4 inches of water. Place your melting pot with measured wax and optional dye blocks in the melting pot, and then place the melting pot in the saucepan.

Boiling water only reaches 212°F so you do not have to worry about the wax in the melting pot reaching the flashpoint temperature of soy wax that is over 400°F.

Melt the wax in a double boiler until it reaches the temperature of 185°F and remove from heat.

Microwave

Put your candle wax in a microwave safe Pyrex container and place it in the microwave for 2 minutes. The bottom will begin to melt at this point so stir it a few times and place it back in for 45 seconds.

Repeat the process of microwaving for 45 seconds and stirring roughly 4 times depending on the wattage of your microwave.

Once the wax is completely molten check the temperature and microwave it in smaller increments until a temperature of 185°F is reached. Then remove from microwave.

5. Monitor Temperature

The temperature at which I add my fragrance oil is based on the flashpoint of the fragrance oil I am using.

Flashpoint is defined as the temperature a compound gives off a vapor that can be ignited in-air.

While it can be a safe practice to do this, I do it to maintain my fragrance oil. If you have a fragrance oil that has a flashpoint of 160°F and you add it to wax that is currently 185°F, you will immediately begin losing fragrance oil through evaporation.

It is best to monitor the temperature of the wax until it has gone just below the flashpoint of the fragrance oil.

6. Add Fragrance Oil

At this point, I add the fragrance oil to my mix and stir it so that the fragrance oil is completely incorporated into the wax, but not so much that I will cause the formation of bubbles. Stir gently.

7. Prepare Container

It will take a few minutes for the wax to drop from its current temperature to its pouring temperature. This is a good time to start placing the wicks in to the bottoms of the containers with wick tabs.

Center the wicks the best you can and clip the wicks with a clothespin. Gently pulling on the wick before clipping it so that it remains tight and straight.

In addition, if you want to preheat your containers to help prevent wet spots or surface flaws this is the time to do so by blowing inside each container for several seconds each using a heat gun.

8. Pour Candle

When I pour my candles I do not mark them so that I can make sure they are all the same level. However, that is a popular thing to do for some candle makers.

Usually, I pour each container about 3/4 of the way and then go back through adding a little more and go back through adding a little more again.

I can usually get them all approximately the same level doing it this way.

Honestly, I am too lazy to measure each container on a digital scale as I pour, or to make a jig to put on each container to mark the wax level. If you are not good at eyeballing levels in containers, perhaps using a digital scale or making a jig to mark the pour level is a good idea for you to try.

After all the candles are poured you can go through and tap on the side of each one a few times to encourage any bubbles to float to the top.

9. Let Cool

I usually let them completely cool to room temperature before touching them again. Sometimes if you start messing with the wicks too soon it can mess with the soft wax and make an ugly spot on your beautiful new candles.

10. Trim Wicks

Now that the candles are completely cool you can trim the wicks. Normal length is about 1/4 of an inch, however, I sometimes trim them to about 3/8 or 5/16. It is better to leave the customer or the person you are giving the candle to a little too much rather than not enough.

11. Put Lids On And Cure Candles

Now it is time to put the lids on your candles and begin curing them. Curing is the process in which candle wax hardens and traps the fragrance oil within.

For soy wax candles this process can take up to two weeks for the candles to fully cure. I know it seems like a pain, but do it if you want the best scent throw possible.

12. Enjoy

At this point, your candles are ready to enjoy. If you are starting a candle business I recommend making a few dozen candles to give away to friends and family so they can test them out and give you any feedback that may help you when making candles for paying customers.

Candle Making Suppliers

I know that I previously listed CandleScience and CandleWic, however, many other great candle-making suppliers exist. Here a few more.

  • Aztec Candle And Soap Supplies – Aztec has a great place to start when making scented candles because of their selection of fragrance oils as well as other candle-making supplies. They are located in Knoxville, TN.
  • California Candle Supply – California Candle Supply has everything you need from wax, wicks, containers, fragrance oils, and candle-making kits for beginners. They are in Glendora, CA.
  • Lone Star Candle Supply – Lone star has all of the regular candle-making supplies you may need, in addition, they have soap-making supplies. They are located in Keller, TX.
  • CandleWic – Candlewic has everything you may need in addition to soap-making supplies. They are located in Doylestown, PA.
  • CandleScience – CandleScience has everything you need for making scented candles, they also have great suggestions for types of wax and wicks for their containers. They have locations in Nevada and North Carolina.

Candle Making Cleanup Suggestions

Making candles can sometimes be messy, so here are some tips that may hopefully help you out.

  1. Put newspaper down on your work surface. This will keep any drops or drops off of your table. When you are pouring multip0le candles you are almost always going to be dripping wax somewhere. This helps out.
  2. Use lots of paper towels. As you pull out your thermometer, stirring spoon, or empty your melting pot or pyrex measuring cup wipe them down immediately with paper towels. If you are starting another batch of candles, you won’t even have to wash them.
  3. Wear latex gloves. I like to use the black or orange ones from the auto parts store because they have grips on the fingers. This may not be needed if you are only making 2 candles, but if you are about to make 5 batches of a dozen candles they help. They keep wax and fragrance oil off of your hands and help with moving hot candle containers to cooling racks.

Free Candle Making Calculators

As promised here are the two free candle-making calculators. One of them is designed to help you measure your wax and fragrance oil and the other is for calculating the profitability of a candle business.

Candle Making Calculator

Here is the download for the spreadsheet. Simply enter your container size, how many containers you have and what fragrance oil load you want and it will do all of the calculations for you. Giving you the results in pounds and grams.

Click here for the web version of the calculator.

Candle Profitability Calculator

This spreadsheet is designed to help you calculate how profitable your candle business can be based on the price of your supplies, overhead, labor, and what margin you charge for your candles.

Just fill in the expense boxes with whatever your actual costs are and then choose the profit margin you want on your candles and then look at the gross and net profit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use crayons when making candles?

Do not use crayons to color your homemade candles. While they are supposed to be non-toxic, they are not designed for use in candles and can clog up your candle’s wick leading to tunneling or mushrooming.

Is it cheaper to make your own candles?

It is absolutely possible to make your own candles at home cheaper than what the store offers. You can make an 8oz mason jar scented candle at home for between $2 and $5. That same candle from a retailer can cost $10 or more.

What’s the cheapest way to get started?

If you already have a microwave-safe bowl and a thermometer the cheapest way to get started is simply by buying some wax and fragrance oil on amazon. However, if you do not have those things, you should buy a candle-making kit from one of the suppliers above or amazon.

What is the best way to scent a candle?

The best way to scent a candle is by using fragrance oil or essential oil and adding it to the candle wax at about 185°F. Mix the oil in with the wax gently and pour your candle at the manufacturer’s suggested temperature.

Conclusion

In conclusion, candle making can seem intimidating to beginners but the whole process from start to finish can take less than 20 minutes for a batch of candles. The rest of the time is spent setting up everything and cleaning up afterward. Just take your time and get everything ready and follow the directions.

If you are new to 100% soy wax candles be aware the surfaces can get lumpy after the initial burn, however, they will still burn good and smell great. You don’t see candles do that from retailers because they mix paraffin wax in with their candles, which can be toxic.

You will be making premium hand-poured scented candles for a fraction of the price boutique retailers charge for them before you know it!

Carl

Hi, I'm Carl. I am one of the co-founders here at Candleers. I like to make candles and use candles.

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