Sustainability made simple

DIY Candles: How to Make Homemade Candles from Leftovers

homemade candles
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Dom J

It’s hard to imagine a winter without their soft glow, but even candles aren’t without ecological problems. Since eco-friendly ones are hard to find, why not try making DIY candles yourself? Here we will show you how to easily make homemade candles from leftover candle wax.    

DIY Candle Supplies

To make your own homemade candles, you will need the following supplies:

  • old, leftover candle wax
  • some twine or string (100% cotton) for the wick
  • a tin can (or something similar)
  • an empty toilet paper roll, old tea/coffee cups, or glass jars
  • a toothpick or skewer (to stabilize the wick)

How to Make Homemade Candles: Instructions

There are a few different variations for making candles, so just choose whichever one you like best. The following two steps need to be done no matter which method you choose.

1. Heating the Wax

Sort out the wax and leftover candles according to color and place them in tin cans. Place the tin can in a hot water bath to melt the wax. Make sure the boiling water doesn’t splash and get into the wax. Use a fork to remove the remaining pieces of wick and any other debris from the liquid wax. 

2. Making the Wick

The easiest way to make a candle wick is to use a thick cotton thread. Cotton string from hoodies or thick laces work well. If you don’t have any of those handy, thinner threads will do too. Just make sure that anything you use is pure cotton – if it’s made of polyester or other plastics, it will produce harmful gases when burned.

To make the wick for your DIY candle, braid the twine/string if it is too thin, or twist it firmly if it’s already thick. Dip it repeatedly in hot wax (beeswax works best!) until you’re satisfied that it is fully covered. Hang to dry/harden for approximately one hour, ensuring the wick is kept straight. Tip: place newspaper under it to protect your floors!

Making Candles: Pouring Method

If you have spare clothes pins, you can use them to stabilize your wicks!

Place the candle wick in the middle of your container using a small bit of hot wax to secure the wick to the bottom and let harden for approximately 5 minutes. Then, slide the toilet paper roll onto the wick if you want to create a straight candle. Wrap the other end of your wick around a toothpick or skewer until nice and tight. Let the skewer rest on the edges of the toilet paper roll. Carefully pour in the hot, liquid wax and let harden.

As soon as the wax is solid (approx. after two hours), carefully loosen the toilet roll. This works better when it is still slightly warm but can handle a bit of pressure.

Tip: If you want to use different colors, pour one third or half of the first color into the container, let the wax dry a little and then pour in the next color. This way you’ll get a very colorful homemade candle.

DIY Teacup Candles

how to make homemade candles
Don’t know what to do with the old tea set you inherited from your Grandma? Try making DIY candles! (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Flickr - Rya Pie )

You don’t have to use teacups for this method, though they do turn out quite well. Feel free to be creative when choosing a container for your homemade candles – mason jars, tin cans, mugs, and flower pots also work. This way, the container becomes part of your aesthetic as well!

It’s not hard to do, just follow the same steps as in the previous homemade candle method. Place the candle wick in the middle of the teacup (or other container) with the help of the skewer. Carefully pour in the hot, liquid wax. Then let the wax get solid.

How to Make Homemade Candles Using the Pulling Method

The cotton thread/string (which will be used as a wick) must be about 6 inches longer than the candle is to be. The length of the candle depends on the container of wax in which the wick is dipped. A high container works best. Knot a loop to the upper end of the wick, attach a nail or washer to the lower end. This prevents the candle from slipping from the wick during the candle pulling.

Now dip the candle wick into the container of wax. After dipping, wait several seconds until the wax has dried – you can hang it on a hook while waiting – then dip the wick back in.

Slowly but surely the DIY candle is created. The thicker it becomes, the longer you will have to wait between dippings.

No matter which method of candle making you choose, enjoy the process, and get creative! Consider adding dried flowers to the hot wax, or putting a few drops of your favorite essential oils in to really make them your own. And remember, DIY candles make an excellent gift for friends and family!

This article was translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Kerzen und Docht selber machen und aus Resten neue Kerzen gießen

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