There’s nothing like coming home after a long day of work, running errands, and practicing yoga to light a candle and allow the fragrances to wash over you, easing your tension from head to toe. Unless that candle is full of harmful toxins. The majority of candles sitting on the grocery store shelves and sold on Amazon are made with synthetic fragrances, paraffin, and metal wicks. If you’re concerned about the health and safety of your household, you may have decided to venture into making your own candles. This is fantastic! Nothing can beat the value of homemade. We’ll show you how to make natural candles using essential oil, fragrances, and soy wax as well as explain why these ingredients are much better than their alternatives.
9 Easy Steps for Making Essential Oil Candles at Home
Making candles at home is a great way to ensure you’re not inhaling toxic chemicals as you soothe your mind and spirit with aromatherapy. Here’s a tutorial for DIY essential oil candles.
Supplies You’ll Need
- Wax chips – You can use soy wax, coconut wax blend flakes, or beeswax. We will be using a soy wax blend called GB 464. (Keep reading to find out why we prefer soy wax over paraffin wax.)
- Wicks – You’ll want to use cotton candle wicks that are interwoven with paper and pre-tabbed (we prefer and suggest beeswax coated ones). We will use 2 pieces of ECO 4. Note: make sure you always test your wicks because different fragrance levels, waxes, and procedures will require different sizes of wicks. Wick size is critical for the best and safest end result.
- Wick Sticker or Glue Dots – This is a flat double-sided glue dot or round foam sticker that gets attached to the bottom of your wick and ensures that once your candle is in use there won’t be any wick migration, which could cause glass breakage and accidents.
- Essential Oils – This is your choice, though, we recommend an oil with a strong scent such as rosemary, eucalyptus, spearmint, orange, grapefruit, geranium, sage or similar.
- Fragrances – Same as with the essential oils, the scent you choose is completely up to you. However, you should make sure to pick fragrances that are phthalate and nitro-musk free. This information can easily be found in the description section of your manufacturer’s fragrance listing. We also recommend using skin-safe fragrance oils to ensure your safety while handling the oils and to create a better experience for the end user.
- Container – You can use glass jars or tin cans that can hold 12-oz of wax with plenty of extra space at the top. Be sure to choose a container that has a lid so you can close up the candle after each use to protect its fragrance. We will be using Libbey 12 apothecary jars for our demonstration. These jars have a 2.25” diameter. Note: Knowing the container diameters will help you with wick selection in the future.
- Wick Holders – For these, you can use simple household items, such as clothespins, chopsticks, pencils, or straws. If you’d like to make your candles in a more professional manner, you may be able to find wick holders at any of your craft supply stores. At The Therapist Essential, we actually use wooden sticks that we’ve drilled holes into to fit our wicks perfectly. But don’t worry! If you’re just starting out in your home candle making adventure, you don’t need to go crazy. Any of the above options will work just fine.
- Measuring Container – An aluminum or glass measuring container or pitcher will work just fine.
- Measuring Spoon Set with 1 TBSP Option – This will ensure that the proper amount of fragrance oils will be added to your mixture.
- Stir Stick – This can be metal or wooden, your preference.
- A Large Pot filled with water – This will be used to melt our soy wax that is placed inside the aluminum or glass pouring pitcher. However, if you’d prefer, you can use a microwave and a microwave-safe dish to melt the wax instead of the large pot of water.
- Thermometer or Temperature Gun
- CAUTION Stickers – Use these if you will be gifting your handcrafted candles. These will go on the bottom of your jar so your giftee or end consumer will know how to properly use your creation.
- Paper Towel – Very important supplies for easy clean-ups and protecting your work surface are paper towels and news or butcher paper.
Steps for Making Essential Oil Candles
Step 1: Wipe the inside of your jar so that you won’t end up with any unwanted particles that may aesthetically ruin your beautiful candle. Once this is done, prepare your candle jars by placing wicks in the center of the jar. Prop the wicks up by wrapping the extra bit of wick around a clothespin, chopstick, pencil, or straw and lay this rod across the top of the jar.
Step 2: Measure out your soy wax. You’ll need about 10 ounces of wax for every candle. We will be making 6 candles so you will need 60 oz of wax.
Step 3: Fill a saucepan halfway with water, then, using a double boiler, melt your soy wax on low heat. Once melted, remove the wax from the heat and allow it cool down to about 185° F, an ideal temperature for adding the essential oils and fragrances. This temperature isn’t arbitrary. If your wax is too hot, it can destroy the compounds in your oils. If it’s too cold, the oil will not evenly mix into the wax and oil seepage will happen on top of your candle.
Step 4: Add the essential oil blend to your wax using this formula: for every 60-ounces (to yield 6 – 10 oz candles) of melted wax, you will need 2 Tablespoons of essential oils and 6 Tablespoons of fragrance oils. Always have an extra glass or two ready to save any extra oil that you don’t want to waste.
Step 5: Evenly stir the essential oils into your wax. Make sure you don’t create bubbles while stirring as those can cause unwanted aesthetic issues when poured.
Step 6: Once mixed, wait until the wax cools to around 135-140° F. This will ensure a nice smooth top when set.
Step 7: Once the proper temperature is reached, pour your mixture into your jars slowly, making sure bubbles are not formed, and allow to cool for several hours (ideally overnight) before lighting.
Step 8: Even after the wax has solidified, we recommend waiting at least 3 full days for your candle to cure before using it. This will allow for a stronger fragrance throw. Once your candle has cured completely, trim the wick down to about a ¼” above the hardened wax.
Step 9: Light the candle and enjoy a homemade aromatherapeutic candle experience! It also makes an amazing gift idea!
Further Candle Making Tips
- You can mix your favorite essential oils and fragrances together for a more fragrant candle.
- Once cured, be sure to cover the candle jar with a lid between uses to preserve the scent.
- Try to keep your candles out of the direct sunlight to preserve natural creamy color. UV rays can yellow your candles over time.
- If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a microwave or a crockpot. For the microwave, melt the wax in a microwave-safe bowl like glass or ceramic, never metal. For the crockpot, use a liner so that the leftover wax doesn’t go down your kitchen drain.
- Make sure to wipe and discard any extra wax into a garbage can (never discard it in your sink or toilet as it may cause unwanted plumbing problems).
- Additional Additives that may be used:
- oUV stabilizer: This additive will help avoid yellowing of the candles.
- oStearic Acid: If you plan to use more fragrance oils or wish your candles to be a bit more shelf stable or harder, you may use this additive.
- oColoring: You can add coloring to your candles, if you wish. This comes in liquid or block format – your chosen manufacturer will be sure to offer one or both options.
- Always think safety first!
- oWear appropriate clothing that is tight-fitting to avoid sleeves catching or brushing off your ingredients. Use a protective apron so that the oils won’t ruin your clothes.
- oYou may wear protective goggles when pouring the hot wax to protect your eyes from splashes.
- oSince most of the essential oils and fragrances on the market are skin-safe, we don’t recommend any gloves, but if you feel more comfortable wearing them to protect your hands, feel free to do so.
Candle Burning Precautions to Prevent Fire
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Never burn candles on or near anything that can catch fire.
- Keep out of reach of Children and Pets.
- Place candles on a heat resistant surface. Keep wax clear of foreign materials, including wick trimmings, and keep candle out of drafts.
- Trim wick 1/4" before relighting.
- Never touch or move the candle when lit.
- Extinguish the candle if the flame becomes high or flickers uncontrollably.
- Discontinue using the candle when 1/2" of it remains in the container to avoid risk of glass shattering and damaging surroundings and endangering your home and occupants.
Our Favorite Essential Oils and Fragrances for Candle Making
The perfect complement to an at-home aromatherapy experience is a handcrafted candle. No matter what you wish to achieve through an aromatherapy practice , there’s an essential oil or fragrance oil to rejuvenate your mind and spirit. If you’d like to make your own candle, we suggest one of these scents for your first candle: Pine, Lavender, Grapefruit, or Apple.
Pine essential oil has a woodsy, earthy scent that calms and refreshes. If you’re struggling with stress or fatigue, the pine aroma can invigorate your mind and help you feel a sense of peace. Check out our pine aromatherapy candle to see if it’s the right scent for you.
A floral scent enjoyed by many is lavender. This essential oil is praised for its mental health benefits. Studies have shown it can ease feelings of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Make your home a relaxing environment with a handcrafted lavender essential oil candle.
Sometimes, we need more of a mood booster than a calming tool. To uplift and energize your spirit, make a candle using grapefruit essential oil. The citrusy aroma will provide you with clarity and focus so you can accomplish your to-do lists, concentrate on work, or finish studying for school. If you’d like to combine scents, we recommend using ginger, orange, and grapefruit together, like we did with our Passion candle .
Bring the bliss of fall into your home with apple fragrance oils. This scent is reminiscent of grandma’s apple pie baking in the oven. A soothing scent, apple will brighten your day, and can even relieve anxiety.
Why Should You Choose Soy Based Candles?
The best wax to use in natural candle-making is soy. Why is this? Soy wax offers several benefits, including the following:
- It’s made from vegetables (the soybean).
- It’s free from harsh chemicals, unlike paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum.
- It’s biodegradable and burns with less soot than paraffin wax.
- It has a lower melting point, so it’ll burn slower. This means you can enjoy a soy wax candle longer than a paraffin wax candle.
We believe that one of the best reasons to choose soy wax for candles is that soy holds the natural fragrances of essential oils without the need of amplifiers. This means you’ll have an excellent aroma for the duration of the candle. With so many benefits to soy wax, it becomes an obvious choice when making candles at home.
Benefits of Handmade Candles
Just as it’s important to be aware of the foods we fill our bodies with, it’s just as crucial to consider the effects of the air fresheners we use in our homes. If you have kids and pets living in your home, it’s especially important to consider the benefits of natural candles over the chemically produced paraffin candles found so readily in stores and online. Below you’ll find some of the benefits of homemade candles.
Free of Harsh Chemicals
As we mentioned earlier, candles that are not made of soy wax are commonly made of paraffin wax. Derived from petroleum, paraffin wax contains toxins, air pollutants, and carcinogens. Natural candles made with soy wax, cotton wicks, and essential oils are free from these toxins and reduce household exposure to harmful chemicals. This makes homemade candles a perfect fit for aromatherapy.
Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable
Natural homemade candles are a top choice for any home because they are environmentally friendly and sustainable. As we mentioned earlier about soy-based candles, they burn with less soot than paraffin candles and they’re biodegradable. Additionally, handcrafted candles require less energy consumption and natural resources than mass-produced candles, making them a sustainable solution for the environment.
There’s something to be said for the quality of goods made in small-batches, and handcrafted candles are no different. The appearance is more unique, the aromas are purer, and the ingredients are more natural. Once you start making or buying homemade, mass-produced products just don’t add up.
Good for the Economy
Buying homemade goods supports local artisans and the traditions they’ve passed down from generation to generation. One of the benefits of purchasing homemade products is helping local and small businesses thrive in your area. When you shop from a local seller, you help them make a living so they, in turn, can purchase more local goods and services. Support your local economy by shopping from artisans.
One of the greatest benefits of buying (or making) homemade products is the uniqueness of each item. No two items are the same, and this is true for handcrafted candles as well. The differences between each homemade product are the mark of a real artisan thoughtfully and lovingly making the items for you to enjoy. This is the art of the homemade.
Homemade Candles for Aromatherapy
There’s something to be said for the value of homemade products. You don’t have to worry about the quality of the ingredients, and you can feel good about supporting local artisans. Whether you choose to make your own candles at home this year or whether you choose to purchase handcrafted candles from small businesses, you’ll take your aromatherapy practice to the next level. Get inspired and shop our natural candles today!