Make candles yourself: Inexpensive and easy with leftover wax
By Jenny Hochmuth
Almost everyone likes the sight of candlelight in the evening when the days are getting shorter again. You can now buy candles in all shapes and colors. Alternatively, you can make candles yourself – from leftover wax. This is super easy, resource-saving and saves money.
When it gets colder and darker again and people stay at home more often, there are a few things that shouldn’t be missing: a cozy blanket, warm tea, an exciting series or a book and, of course, candlelight.
But for the fact that the lifespan is not that long, candles are sometimes quite expensive. And usually short butts are left over that no longer burn properly or look unsightly and are simply thrown away.
So why not just make your own candles from leftover wax?
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You can customize homemade candles according to their appearance and even their scent, they are a great activity on a cold autumn or winter day and a special gift anyway.
By the way: Candles can be harmful to health and are often not exactly environmentally friendly due to the ingredients. You should pay attention to this when buying. But you don’t need to buy anything:
TAG24 shows you how easy it is to make candles yourself at home.
You can also find more tips and tricks on the “Savings” guide page.
What do you need to make candles yourself?
To make your own candles, you don’t need a lot of materials. You can easily save costs by reusing old leftover candles and using old containers as molds. You can buy the wick individually or simply use a cotton cord. This is how upcycling is made easy!
Making candles yourself: the material
To make your own candles you will need the following materials:
- Pot and bowl/container for a water bath
- Casting molds (old yoghurt pot, glass, bowl, etc.)
- Candle residues, alternatively wax granules/pastilles made from soy wax, rapeseed wax or beeswax
- Candle wick or cotton string
- Wooden kebab skewer
- optional coloring wax
- Metal washers (especially when pouring candles)
- various aromatic oils as required
Tip: Sort the colored leftover candles beforehand and use the colors in a targeted manner in order to be able to produce beautiful, colorful candles again, otherwise unsightly color results can occur.
The preparation: Make your own candle wick
If you really want to make a complete DIY candle project out of it, you can even make the candle wick yourself:
- You need a relatively thick cotton cord.
- Then you melt some wax (more on that in the next step) and dip the line in until the line is completely soaked with wax.
- Now hang the cord vertically, let it dry and dip it in the wax again to form a layer of wax around the cord.
This can be repeated up to four times.
Instructions: How to make candles yourself from leftover wax
Once you have the required material, there are several ways to make candles. A distinction is made between candle casting and candle pulling.
Pouring candles yourself: That’s how it works!
Candle making is a quick method that is easy to achieve. You can let your creativity run free.
If you use old glasses, cups, etc. you get pillar candles. You can also pour the wax into pretty shapes or use cookie cutters (preferably on a baking sheet lined with baking paper).
And this is how it works:
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Step 1: Fill a saucepan with water and heat on the stove. Place a heat-resistant container (e.g. bowl) in the pot so that no water can get into the container. Add the wax and let it melt while stirring. A kebab skewer is suitable for stirring. If you want to color your wax, you should now add the coloring wax and melt it. After that you can add a few drops of an aromatic oil if you like to create a scented candle.
Step 2: Prepare the vessels you have chosen to fill and tie the wick to a washer. This should touch the bottom of the jar. To keep the wick straight, you can attach it to a skewer (with a knot or a clothespin) and place it horizontally on the jar. Make sure that it hangs as centrally and vertically as possible in the container. In addition, the candle wick should be a little longer. You can cut off later at any time.
Step 3: Now you can fill the melted wax into the vessels. There are no limits to creativity: In addition to simple, single-color candles, you can also layer different colors. Pour a layer of paint and wait until the surface is solid, then the next layer etc. and finally let everything cool down. If you have used an old yoghurt pot, you can simply cut it open and remove the candle. For example, if you used an old mason jar, you have a lantern that you can theoretically decorate.
As your candle burns down, keep glancing at it, especially towards the end. Conventional candles usually have a so-called “burning stop” that prevents the candle from burning all the way to the bottom, your homemade candle doesn’t have that. Therefore, always make sure that you only let the candle burn on a fireproof surface.
Make candles yourself – the slightly different way of making candles yourself
Another way to make your own candles is to make candles. If you prefer stick candles in particular, you should try this option.
Important here are deeper vessels in which the wax is melted, such as old sausage tins. Don’t worry: making candles is also very easy!
That’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Here, too, the vessel is placed in a hot water bath and the wax is first melted completely. Now would be the time to color the wax again, if that’s what you want.
Step 2: Prepare and trim the candle wick. The wick should be about 15 centimeters longer than the candle will end up being. Tie a loop to the top end of the wick and attach a nail or similar to the other end to weigh the wick down a bit.
Step 3: As soon as the wax has melted, you can get started: Hold the wick by the loop and dip it into the wax. Once everything has dried a bit, repeat the process until the candle is what you want it to be. Let the surface dry between each pass – this always takes a little longer from round to round.
Step 4: After you have reached the desired size of the candle, you can hang the candle to dry. When everything has dried well, cut off the bottom end with a sharp knife. Finished!
Tip: After the first immersion, pull the candle wick out again, lengthening both ends in a vertical position and let it dry like this. This keeps the wick in the candle straight.
Conclusion: Making your own candles from leftover wax, granulate and the like costs next to nothing!
There are several ways to make candles yourself. On the one hand you can fall back on new wax granules or pastilles from the trade, especially if you want to process a very specific color.
But if you want to save money and do something good for the environment, you can use old wax or candle residues.
Either way: The DIY project is ideal for making the dark days more comfortable, for a great pastime or as a small gift idea.
Cover photo: 123RF/fotohelin