Scented candles make wonderful gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, and anyone else you want to treat. Homemade candles are especially meaningful because they show you put time and care into making something unique just for the recipient. With a few simple supplies, you can easily create custom scented candles in any fragrance you’d like. Follow these steps to make beautiful candles that will delight your gift recipients.
Pick Your Scents
First, decide what scents you want your candles to have. Popular fragrances for candles include floral, fruity, spicy, woodsy, and classic scents like vanilla. Think about the person you’re making the candle for and what smells they enjoy. For instance, make a lemon candle for a friend who loves cooking, a lavender candle for someone who enjoys relaxing at home, or a pine candle for a friend who goes camping often. You can find candle making fragrance oils in craft stores or online that contain complex, sophisticated scents.
Gather Your Candle Making Supplies
Here are the basic supplies you’ll need to make scented candles:
- Wax – Paraffin or soy wax are common options. Paraffin wax is inexpensive and makes candles with a classic texture. Soy wax is pricier but makes candles that burn longer and cleaner.
- Wicks – Pre-tabbed or pre-wired wicks are easiest to work with. Choose the proper wick thickness for the width of your candle jar.
- Jars – Glass jars in any shape or size work for candle making. Make sure they’re heat safe. Consider decorative or colored jars.
- Fragrance oils – Use oils made for candle making, NOT essential oils or perfumes.
- Dye blocks – Optional, for colored candles. Use dye made for candle wax.
- Thermometer – To monitor the wax temperature for safety.
- Double boiler – This allows you to melt wax gently. Or you can use a slow cooker or improvise with a pan or tin can.
Prepare Your Candle Jars
Wash your jars and lids thoroughly first. Place wicks in the center of each jar, using adhesive stickers or a bit of wax to hold them upright. As an optional step, you can add dye blocks to the wax to create colored candles. Use 1 dye block per 1 pound of wax.
Melt the Wax
Put wax flakes or pellets into your double boiler or slow cooker pot. Melt the wax slowly over low heat, stirring frequently. The ideal temperature for soy wax is 185-200°F. Paraffin wax should be 180-200°F. Use a thermometer to check the melted wax temp. Remove from heat when the wax is fully melted.
Next, carefully stir in your fragrance oils, using the recommended amount from the supplier. The general guideline is 1 oz. of fragrance oil per 1 pound of melted wax. Gently mix to incorporate the scent. Work carefully to avoid spills since wax can stain.
Pour into Jars
Now you’re ready to pour! Carefully pour your melted scented wax into each prepared jar, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace. Add any decorative elements you’d like, such as flowers, glitter, seashells, or tea leaves. Let candles sit undisturbed until wax is completely hardened.
Trim Wicks & Cure Candles
Once cooled and set, use scissors to trim wick ends to 1/4 inch length. Finally, let candles cure for 24-48 hours before burning so they achieve their full scent throw and burn properties.
Creative Packaging Ideas
Plain glass jars work beautifully, but you can also package your homemade candles in creative ways to make them extra special:
- Tie jute, ribbon, or raffia around the jar neck for a rustic touch.
- Glue pretty fabric around the outside of the jar.
- Place jar in a gift box or decorative tin.
- Tie on gift tags with a personalized message.
- Bundle small candles in cellophane and tie with a bow.
- Reuse tea tins, metal buckets, or other funky containers.
Gifting Your Candles
Your thoughtfully homemade scented candles make wonderful gifts for any occasion. Include a sweet handwritten note explaining the special scent you chose. Let your homemade candles express your gratitude, celebrate a birthday, congratulate a new homeowner, or simply brighten someone’s day. With personalized candles that you craft yourself, your gift will always leave a lasting impression.