DIY Candles

‘DIY CANDLES’ IS A TUTORIAL ON HOW TO MAKE CANDLES AT HOME

‘Dude, you go through a lot of candles’ said Tim.
‘I mean, candles are dope’ I replied.

And born from this vehement discussion my idea to make candles exploded into the world.

Roughly two years ago I started making candles.
This is my unofficial guide.

the (candle) goods:

Wax

Paraffin wax – This is the most common wax found in candles. I recommend paraffin for beginners due to its simplicity and price. It’s cheap, versatile, and odorless. It’s made from a by-product of the petroleum refinement process, but gets a bad rep because fools keep associating all things ‘petroleum’ with ‘harmful.’ See: petroleum jelly

Soy wax – Made from soybean oil and sometimes includes oils from other plants. It has more recently gained popularity from eco-nuts, because of the scary ‘’petroleum paraffin.’ Creates nice, slow burning candles that don’t shrink when cooled. I’ve also found that soy wax candles also have a nice ‘gloss’ to them. Maybe I just need to get my eyesight checked.

Beeswax – 100% natural. Obligatory cliché, but it’s the bee’s knees. It’s what most candles in history have been made of, so that’s cool. It can definitely lean on the more pricy side, but generally, this wax has an awesome natural ‘sweet’ smell to it and burns slowly.

Paraffin wax

I swear officer, it’s just me bag o’ paraffin!

Thermometer – Google ‘frothing thermometer,‘ one with a clip is preferable

Wicks – You can buy a spool of wick. If you want your life to be easier, get some of these cool ones that conveniently stick to the bottom of your vase

Wicks

Obama once called these ‘sticky wicks’

If you opt for the spool of wick, you’re going to need a tongue depressor-like thing to hang the wick off. A pencil works just fine, in a pinch.

Wick + tongue depressor

andy warhol would be proud

Heat-resistant bowl – We’re going to be doing a double boiler. If you have your own way to do this, go for gold. I just use a standard china bowl

double boiler

on alert

Big kitchen pot – For clonking any potential candle thieves. Also good for double boiling.

Oven mitts – Unless you have gauntlets, this is the (much less) cool way to go.

Crayons (optional) – Guess what, crayons are wax! If you’re feeling saucy, get some of these bad boys. You can also use cooking dyes.

Crayons

contrary to popular belief, these are not jumper cables

Pourer (optional) – I used my Pyrex glass pourer. You can just pour straight from the bowl if you’d like, but it’s more dangerous. If you don’t have gauntlets, I recommend.

Pyrex

product displacement

Newspaper ­(optional) – Good for transcoding secret messages from your allied spies, as long as you have a cipher. If not, also doubles for a tidier workstation.

Fragrance (optional) –Most absorb pretty well in any kind of wax. Try ground cinnamon or vanilla extract if you don’t want to leave the house.

the (vessel) goods:

I decided to make my candles in hip alcohol glasses, so the following items are only for those who want to do the same. If you already have your candle vase, skip to the next section.

Glass-cutter – Sounds a lot more badass than it looks. Inexpensive and easy to use, this is the one I have. You can find something similar online at eBay here.

Glass Cutter

wouldn’t want to meet this in a dark alleyway

Big bowl (full of ice water) – This will be used to ‘crack dat glass.’

Kitchen pot – You’re going to boil water in this, and used in conjunction with the big bowl full of ice water, it’s going to crack the glass.

Glass bottles – I used alcohol bottles. Most work, unless they are made from very thick glass, like Hendrick’s Gin bottles.

Sandpaper (optional) – If you want to sand the glass-cut edges.

The method: making that glass vessel

(if you already have your wax ‘vessel’ and don’t want to cut glass, skip to the next section)

1/ Use the glass cutter and create a fine score line* to weaken the bottle – check here and move to 4:35 to get a better idea.

2/ Boil one pot of water, and have another large bowl with ice water ready to go.

3/ Dip the glass vessel (up to the score line*) in the hot water, then (also to the score line) in the cold water. Repeat as necessary until the glass separates. It might seem scary, but the glass never ‘explodes.’ It’s actually quite anticlimactic how it just… falls apart.

4/ (optional) Sand the freshly cut section! This is really up to you, as I never have had problems with the glass being overly sharp.

*a ‘score line’ is the weakened area cut into glass
Glass Cut

my first-ever glass cut

The method: making your fire things

1/ Set down newspaper around your workstation for any gloop gloop

2/ Create that double boiler. You might have a proper one, but I’m just a pleb and use a standard pot filled with water and a china bowl placed above it. (REMEMBER: check the water levels in your double boiler every once in a while, or risk burning your pot)

3/ Clip your thermometer onto your double boiler top.

4/ Read the instructions on the wax. Most waxes need to be melted to 100°C. If the instructions aren’t clear, do this. Sometimes there is wax hardener you will need to add, but I’ve only encountered this with paraffin wax.

5/ Wait for the wax to start melting and its eventual rise to the desired temperature. Add any coloring (crayons anyone!?) or scents that you would like during this time.

Making Candles

tonkatsu ramen

6/ While the wax is melting, set up your vessel! (Does anyone hate that I keep calling it that?) If you’re using the simple spool of wick, you’ll need to tie it around a tongue depressor or pencil to keep it from moving around. If you’re using the sticky wicks, just plop one in the bottom of your bottle.

7/ Once your bowl is full of the hot wax at the desired temperature, we’re ready to pour it into the vessel. I usually pour from the bowl into my pyrex, then into my vessel. Getting all the wax into that narrow opening can be difficult on your first go, so the Pyrex medium sometimes helps.

8/ I believe the real candle-making method states that freshly-made candles need to ‘settle and cool’ for a week, but blah blah blah. I’ve always been fine firing them up after two days.

Making Candles

ready for candle vigil’ing

Love & the smell of burnt hair,
Jared

Post (gift-related) Script: Buy two bottles of wine and drink one. Then, make a candle out of the empty bottle and pair it with the other full bottle. Great for mothers or girlfriends on their allocated day.