Making your own candles is definitely an economical alternative to paying top dollar for candles. What's more, it's a fun and satisfying craft. Having the proper tools and supplies makes candle making easier and produces better results.
Candle pots are usually available for under $12 and last a lifetime. (I've had mine for 2 decades.) You'll want to use a double boiler, rather than put the pot directly on your heat source. All you need is an old sauce pan with a few inches of water in it. Put the candle pot in the water and you can safely melt your wax over low heat.
You can choose from beeswax, soy wax, paraffin, or other specialty waxes. Paraffin is usually the most economical and is generally the most translucent. I use paraffin most often. Soy wax is nice because it pretty much cleans up with soap and water. It can be a little pricier than paraffin, but many people view at as more natural and worth the cost. Beeswax is a premium wax, at a premium cost. I would only use it in projects that are going to show it off. Beeswax sheets are very nice for rolled taper candles, for example.
Wick is more than just string! There are many varieties of wick for different applications. Check the packaging or look for information from the supplier for recommended uses. For example, wick with a metal core is best suited for container candles and braided wick is preferred in rolled tapers. The diameter of the finished candle will determine wick size. Most commercially produced wick is primed, but if yours isn't, a simple dip in melted wax will do the job.
Unless you're pouring a container candle (making a candle in a mason jar, for example), you'll need a mold to contain the wax while it cools. Commercially made molds come in metal, plastic and rubber. A well made (and well cared for) mold will last a life time. If you're not sure if candle making will be to your liking, look for household items to use as molds. For example, you can use a wax coated carton (Orange juice carton) to make a candle (just tear it away once the wax has hardened). Martha Stewart makes candles in hollowed out lemon and orange rinds. Use your imagination!
Making your own candles means you can add a lot of scent, a little, or none at all. Candle scents are available in almost every fragrance imaginable. And, once you become more skilled at candle making, you can begin mixing custom fragrances from the basics. For example, a fragrance mix of apple, cinnamon, and vanilla makes a candle that smells like apple pie. You can buy color additives in solid or liquid form. But, you can also toss a crayon in the candle pot to color your candles.
Hand crafted candles are fun to make and make treasured gifts as well. For more on making candles, as well as safety tips, click on the link under resources, "How to Make a Jelly Bean Candle."
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