Introduction: Make Candles at Home Without Wax From Common Household Materials - Easy, Quick, Minimalist

How to make candles at home from scratch with lard or vegetable shortening, glass jars and yarn - without wax! Making jar candles is easy. They're low cost, odorless, long burning and perfect for emergency or blackout. With patterned jars, they cast an attractive light. The use of vegetable shortening such as Crisco makes the candles vegetarian/vegan.

If burning for a long time, a layer of molten fat might develop on the surface near the wick. When extinguishing, check that the wick is vertical as the fat resets. This makes it easier to relight. Also, maintain the wick as one would with a regular candle. Trim it if there is an accumulation of charred thread.


Yachtwitchway (author)2016-12-01

Hi I made 2 small candles using Crisco vegetable shortening and it worked ok however at room temperature they became very soft and couldn't be handled (I live in the caribbean). I made them without the jars, wanted just the candles alone. Looked fabulous, smelled great but wouldn't reccommend making them unless in fireproof pot!!

Adeldor (author)Yachtwitchway2016-12-03

Hi! Vegetable shortening and lard candles both must be made in jars as shown (or other fireproof containers)! These fats are too soft to make free-standing candles. In the jars they work very well. Without containers they'll be messy at best, and a fire hazard at worst.

CaitlinP5 (author)2016-01-11

Hi i made a bunch of candles with this method and the video i watched said to freeze them.. now they are settled and look great but are not firm and have melted into liquid on the top. Did i do something wrong or is there a way to fix this?

Adeldor (author)CaitlinP52016-01-16

Hi! Are you saying they're liquid at room temperature? If so, then the fat you're using is too thin. It might be soft, but should be solid at room temperature. When the wick is burning, there will be a liquid layer above the solid fat - melted by the flame. Once the candle is extinguished, the fat should resolidify as it cools. Of course, we're assuming your room temperature is not really high!

synchrotina (author)Adeldor2016-10-18

I am also finding that they are 'soft' at room temperatures. Is that just the quality of using vegetable shortening? Or does someone have a 'trick' to make them firm like regular was candles??

Adeldor (author)synchrotina2016-11-06

We're guessing the consistency of the fat being used varies. If it's soft when in its container/wrapping at room temperature (before making the candles), it'll be the same afterwards.

CaitlinP5 (author)Adeldor2016-01-23

At room temperature and never lit before about half has a liquid layer on top while the others are very soft. Im very upset because they look great so i wanted to sell them but now im unable to :/

ArielE5 (author)2016-01-02

Hi! So I made the candle using vegetable shortening and it worked likes dream! The only concerni have is the possibility of causing a grease fire with this type of candle. Do you know if these candles get hot enough to become a grease fire hazard? Thank you!!

Adeldor (author)ArielE52016-01-16

Hi! We've never seen the grease/fat burn from anywhere but the wick, but like any candle, these can be a fire hazard if mishandled/misused. Don't put them near anything flammable, don't let them tip over, and make sure there's a free flow of air above them. Beware children and pets. Treat them with caution, as you would any burning object.

casie.vanderweide (author)2014-09-22

Is it possible to add food coloring to these candles to change the color?

Most food coloring is water pasted, so it will not mix well with the oily/fatty melted candle. The cheapest route would probably be to mix in crayons or certain kinds of makeup.

Hi Casie,

We haven't tried coloring them, so we don't have a direct answer. This is just a guess: if food coloring doesn't work, perhaps melted wax crayons might(?)

Nikki1763 (author)2014-10-02

Hi Cassie,

I've just made 5 large candles using this method , I added green, orange and yellow food colouring and the colours have come out a soft pastel shade , really lovely. I have also added essential oil , although not sure we can smell anything yet , I'll keep you posted on that one

britha.zhu (author)2014-08-13

Why do people use wax if something so much easier to obtained can be used to make candles? Are there any cons of using vegetable shortening?

Adeldor (author)britha.zhu2014-08-15

Hi Britha,

The fats used in these jar candles are not suitable for making free standing candles as they are softer than paraffin wax (or beeswax, but that is expensive). Some sort of container is required, unlike "standard" commercial candles.

mandie.fountain (author)2014-08-11

Hi what is the shelf life for this type of candle, I'm thinking of starting to make them now for Christmas presents

Adeldor (author)mandie.fountain2014-08-12

Hi Mandie,

The shelf life is the same as that of the fat used - plus more since the fat won't be eaten. We have had some such candles sitting for a year. There has been neither degradation in function nor bad smell. Hope this helps!

bstimson (author)2014-02-09

How long do these candles generally last?

Adeldor (author)bstimson2014-02-09

In the jars we use, a conservative estimate is around a day.

Lavonna (author)2013-09-28

Can you add a scent to these candles?

Adeldor (author)Lavonna2013-09-28

Hi firstnonna,

As we were aiming at minimalism for this video, we didn't. You can add a few drops of a scented (essential) oil once the fat is melted - stirring it thoroughly. It's important not to heat the fat more than necessary to melt it (to preserve more of the scent - and to be safer too).

As an aside, the candles seen in the video have no noticeable odor when burning - and have the barely noticeable scent of lard/vegetable oil when not.


Lavonna (author)Adeldor2013-10-14

Thanks for the info.

billandritsch (author)2013-09-29

What neat idea, where have I been my whole life not to have thought of this LOL

Adeldor (author)billandritsch2013-09-30

Hi billandritsch,

:-) Thanks! We find it's the simplest things that are sometimes the hardest to divine.

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