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.

Comments

author
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!!

author
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.

author
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?

author
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!

author
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??

author
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.

author
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 :/

author
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!!

author
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.

author
casie.vanderweide (author)2014-09-22

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

author

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.

author

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(?)

author
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

author
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?

author
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.

author
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

author
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!

author
bstimson (author)2014-02-09

How long do these candles generally last?

author
Adeldor (author)bstimson2014-02-09

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

author
Lavonna (author)2013-09-28

Can you add a scent to these candles?

author
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.

Cheers!

author
Lavonna (author)Adeldor2013-10-14

Thanks for the info.

author
billandritsch (author)2013-09-29

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

author
Adeldor (author)billandritsch2013-09-30

Hi billandritsch,

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

About This Instructable

104,711views

69favorites

License:

Bio: Focusing on DIY and self-sufficiency, our goal is to provide how-to information, ranging from cooking to construction and machining to micro-controllers - anything within our ability ... More »
More by Adeldor:Make Yogurt by the Gallon without a Yogurt MakerBake a Simple Yogurt Fruit Jelly Cake. Easy Recipe. Basic Utensils. Few Ingredients.Toy Octopus Yarn Doll. No Sewing.
Add instructable to: