This is just another one of those DIYs that I am asking myself why I waited so long to do. Candle making is so easy, it just takes a little prep work and patience.
These adorable little jar candles will be favors at Katie and Jon’s wedding next month. Neither of us had made candles before and luckily Katie did a little research beforehand so she had the appropriate hardware available (which I wouldn’t have since I failed to do the research, way to go Katie!). For candle making supplies and tips, check out Candlewic.com.
You’ll want to get a wax pouring pot and have a large metal spoon on hand as well for stirring. In addition, you’ll need wicks and tabs. It’s easier to purchase wicks with tabs already attached and there are also a few different types of wicks, two of which I am familiar with. Katie bought cotton wicks with no coating, which are a more economical route, especially if you’re making 120 candles. One of the drawback is that they do not stand on their own so you either need to purchase wick holders or reset the wicks as the wax hardens. We did the latter and it turned out just fine. On the other hand, I have some cotton wicks coated in wax at home, which are a little more pricey, however they are more sturdy so no resetting or holders needed. The burn time may also vary depending on wick coating and braiding. A bunch of factors come into play with regard to burn time and Rustic Escentuals has a pretty good write up if you’re interested. Below is an example using the wick holders, which we ended up not really needing, but they do help.
Another tip regarding the wicks and tabs: using a tacky glue, adhere the wicks/tabs to the bottom of your jar(s) before pouring in your wax so they don’t shift.
Speaking of the wax, it would be helpful to know how it melts down, measurement wise. We chose to use soy wax flakes, (but you can also use wax blocks ) and as you can imagine, measuring a cup of dry flakes melts down to a considerably less amount. We measured 10 dry cups of flakes melting down to approximately 50 ounces, about 5 ounces per cup. But since the wax is measured in weight versus volume when purchased, you may like to know that we also measured 20 pounds of wax melting down to approximately 430 ounces, about 21.5 ounces per pound. We made 123 3.5 ounce candles in 4 ounce jars.
We found that the most efficient way to melt the wax is a cup at a time, adding a cup of dry to the already melted wax, up to about ten cups. One cup melts much more quickly than ten at a time as too many flakes all at once just clumped together. But when you pour a cup of dry flakes into already melted wax, they don’t clump at all and since each flake is surrounded by hot wax, they melt exponentially faster.
Once the wax is melted, take it off the heat before adding your scent since you don’t want your scent to burn in any way. Apparently there is a particular heat to reach or not exceed when melting your wax, adding your scent and pouring, but we didn’t get that scientific. Winging it worked for us. We used a scent made particular for candle making, but you can also use essential oils, which I plan to try out soon. Eucalyptus anyone?
As far as how much scent to use, our scent suggested anywhere between 2% and 8% scent to wax. Using our approximate average of about 6% scent to wax, 32 ounces of scent made all of our 123 3.5 ounce candles.
When pouring your wax, it’s helpful to keep a paper towel or napkin on hand since the wax may drip off the edge and down the side of your pouring pot.
Also keep in mind when pouring your candles to leave a little room in the top of your jar or mold after the first pour, because it is recommended to top it off with a thin layer. Basically, the wax will harden as it cools, but many times the top layer will be wavy or have air bubbles; however, when you are pouring a very thin top off layer, the wax dries more evenly since it is such a small amount of wax.
Wax beginning to harden after first pour:
Hardened wax after first pour (notice the dimpling?):
And after the top off layer dried:
Then just trim the wick:
Stay tuned for an upcoming bottle cutting DIY where we upcycle empty food jars and bottles to candles and candle covers!
P.S. – thanks for not minding my cell phone tutorial photos. We made the candles on a whim (sort of) and neither of us had our actual cameras.