DIY Candles




About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

Making homemade candles is a fun and easy way to spend an afternoon. These DIY candles make great gifts, or can simply be saved for personal use and enjoyment. They use a natural soy wax, and are colored using non-toxic crayons. This allows for a multitude of possible color combinations. You can even liven things up a bit by adding essential oils to make them scented candles.

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Step 1: Materials

You will need:

Small Glass Jars
You should get around a dozen small glass jars. I found my leftover (5 oz) glass yogurt jars worked well. You can also buy new jars in a variety of fun shapes and sizes off Amazon.

5lb Soy Wax
Soy wax is a cheap and easy to work with natural wax. I find a 5lb bag yields roughly 20 - 24 candles.

Getting pre-made wicks will make your life much easier in the long run.

Box of Non-Toxic Crayons
Non-toxic crayons make a great coloring agent because they come in a multitude of colors that can be mixed and matched. They are also already wax-based, so you can melt it directly into the wax without having to worry about diluting it.

Assorted Scents
You can optionally add essential oil to your candle to give it a nice scent. I ordered a sample-sized scent pack from Nurielights. This is a cool little company that sources traditionally made oils from all over the world. Each sample only makes a few candles, so if you want to scent all of them the same, you should consider a larger size.

Wooden Clothespins
These are for holding the wicks while the wax sets.

Glass Measuring Cup
You will want to get a new glass measuring cup specifically for candle making. Wax is hard to clean off.

3 Quart Sauce Pan
While you can use the one you have, I highly recommend buying one specifically for candle making. Once the wax gets in there (and it will), you will have a heckuva time washing it out. Life will simply be easier to get a new pan.

Candy Thermometer
The last thing you will need is a candy thermometer that goes up to at least 200 degrees.

(Note that some of the links on this page contain Amazon affiliate links. This does not change the price of any of the items for sale. However, I earn a small commission if you click on any of those links and buy anything. I reinvest this money into materials and tools for future projects. However, you are obviously free to get things where you please.)

Step 2: Setup the Wicks

First things first, you will want to prepare all of the jars for later. You will not want to be fussing with this when dealing with the wax.

Center the wicks upright in the center of the jars using clothespins and then set them aside.

Step 3: Coloring

Pick out the color crayons you like and cut small bits off of them to be used as coloring.

A little bit goes a long way. That said, reds, oranges, and purples tend to require a little bit less coloring than blues, greens and yellows.

Step 4: Melt the Wax

Melting the wax directly in the pot will make the wax too hot, ruin it, and make a giant mess.

You will want to improvise a double boiler by filling the pot 2/3 of the way with water, and then hooking the handle of the measuring cup on the side of the pan. The cup should float and the water should be about an inch lower than the side of the pan.

If at any point it looks like the water is going to boil over the edge of the pan, or get into the cup of of wax, remove some water.

Insert the thermometer into the empty cup, and when it gets near 170 degrees, pour in some wax until the cup is half full.

Stir the wax to aid in melting.

Continue adding wax little by little until there is about 2 cups worth of melted wax inside.

Let the wax sit until the thermometer reaches 170 degrees

Step 5: Add Color

When your wax is at temperature, drop in the crayon coloring bricks and stir until they are firmly melted.

Keep in mind the color will change change as it cools. Make the color more vibrant than you think it should be as it will be less vibrant once settled. Also, don't get to worried if it seems to change color a little. It will sort itself out as the wax cools.

The coloring process takes some trial and error to get a hang of.

Step 6: Scented Candles

If you want to make scented candles, you can try adding about 10 drops of essential oil to the mix.

Again, this is going to take some trial and error to get right. Some oils are stronger or weaker than others and may require more or less oil.

However, keep in mind that if you add too much oil, the wax will not set properly. Don't go overboard.

Step 7: Pour

Pour the wax into the jars.

If the wicks have moved off-center after you have filled the jar, gently re-position them.

Step 8: Wait

Wait 4 to 6 hours for the wax to fully set and harden.

Step 9: Clean Them Up

Trim the wicks to be about 1/2" long.

Wipe away any wax that got splashed around the outside of the glass jar.

Step 10: Enjoy

Enjoy your new candles.

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    20 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I love the little jars you used. I am always afraid that the heat of the flame will crack the glass. How can I be sure it will be safe?

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    I just looked this up. The melting temperature of glass is 2800 degrees (F), a candle flame is about 1800 degrees (F), and the melted pool of wax is 140 degrees (F). The flame isn't touching the glass, so it is much cooler on the surface than if it was directly touching. I've never had a cracking problem. I think it is fine.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks. My mother had me always worried about such things.


    Reply 26 days ago

    Yes, you are right about the melting point, however glass can explode like rocks due to changes in temperature (as I have learned quite painfully) so you do have to be cautious about the type of glass you use.


    1 year ago

    Those are beautiful colors! I bought some crayons and wasn’t sure what colors to use or the quantity to make the same colors as your candles. Do you remember which crayon colors you used and the porportion?

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Not precisely, but I only used the ones pictured above. The color of the candle is going to be more muted than whatever crayon you select on account of the color of the wax. When the wax is melted and you mix in the crayon, it may appear to be very bright (almost neon), but as the wax cool, the color will become much more muted.

    Penolopy Bulnick

    1 year ago

    Would you advise getting a different glass measuring cup (for melting wax) and candy thermometer to make candles or do you think it is okay to use both with food after being used with wax?

    1 reply
    randofoPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes. You should probably get new ones just for candle making. That is what I did. In fact, I even bought a cheap pot that I use just for this.

    It is very hard (and annoying) to remove wax from things.


    3 years ago

    I tried doing this but kept getting a bad finish on the sides..kinda formed lines as if i was pouring in different layers. How do i avoid that

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I am not sure what you mean? In the pictures above, you can kind of see "lines" where the glass container curves. This is the refraction of the light in the container and not the wax. Are you talking about something different?


    2 years ago

    do you think this will work for carving, or is it too chalky? the mix for sculpting wax is too complicated lol

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I think it may be too soft and pliable for sculpting, but I have never tried.

    Paige Russell

    3 years ago

    I love the idea of using crayons to add color. Very clever!


    3 years ago

    It's important to note that wicks come in different diameters and sizes. LX type wicks are good for soy whereas HTP, which burn hotter, are better for paraffin. The diameter also has to be appropriate for the diameter of the container. Too small and the wick will simply burn a hole and drown, too big and the flame is too tall and causes smoking. Adding color or scent also changes the wick burning qualities, with heavier scents and darker colors requiring a larger wick.

    It's best to get a sample pack of various wick types and sizes to find which works best for your favorite style of container. Beginners, BTW, should stick with containers that have straight vertical lines. Rounded containers are harder to properly wick due to the changes in diameter at different points.


    3 years ago

    Many years ago I made lots of candles using molds from a craft store called Jo Belles, I believe they were located in Stoney Point, NC. that came in two halves and were embedded in wet sand to prevent leakage. I had lots of fun, and still have a few interesting candles that I refuse to burn. (Volkswagen Beetle and Mushroom) As of late, my candle making has consisted of using the leftovers of my favorite candles to make a mix of scents. This is a great tutorial. My vote will be registered shortly. One minor difference. Because of the shrink of the wax I let the candle cool the add more wax till the height is near flat at the top, No wick yet. I dip the wick into the hot wax and let cool while laying straight. I found a drill bit that is about eight inches long and after the wax has cooled, I drill through the center of the candle and insert the now stiff wick. Once you light the wick, the wax quickly fills the void left by the drill bit and buns like a normal candle. Great photos. Fun instructable.

    1 reply