Make Your Own Pretty Pillar Candles

Make pillar candles to any size at home!
Ah, mission accomplished. Whilst on my maiden voyage of DIY candle making a few weeks ago, I made a goal to learn how to make pillar candles. Easier said than done, come to find, because my first 4-5 efforts using paper, cardboard, wax paper, tape and glue forms left my kitchen a soy-waxy mess. Furthermore, I found that even cardboard forms weren’t enough to make the pillar a perfectly round shape.

The candle form that I chose to experiment with next might surprise you. These flexible couplings can be found right in the plumbing aisle of your home improvement store, can be used repeatedly for your candle-making projects and are available in a variety of sizes (the 2″ wide model that I bought to test with cost $4.33).

How to make a pillar candle!

Try this project for yourself at home, and bask in the glow all fall and winter.

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Step 1

 Open GalleryCreate your wick using rope and a wick tab. Crimp a wick tab and wick rope to length for your candle. Make sure your wick is a few inches longer than it will need to be.

Step 2

 Open GalleryMelt your soy wax on the double boiler. Allow it to reach 180-degrees.Prepare your double boiler system on your stovetop, and begin to heat the wax flakes to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3

When the wax is 180 degrees fahrenheit, turn off your stove and add your fragrance oil (optional) and color (optional) and allow the wax to cool down to about 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Note: If you add the fragrance oil while the wax is still over the heat, you risk the scent evaporating away.

Step 4

 Open GalleryUse wax paper and a rubber plumbing coupling for your DIY pillar candles.While the wax is cooling, prepare your forms. I experimented by using a round recyclable plastic container and the aforementioned rubber coupling from the plumbing aisle. To prep the rubber coupling, use a hot iron to fuse a piece of wax paper to the base of the coupling.

Step 5

 Open GalleryFuse wax paper to the base of your rubber coupling for a good, water- and wax-tight seal.Allow the wax paper and rubber to cool. The seal should be apparent, and the wax paper should be completely adhered to the rubber.

Step 6

Pour the melted wax into the forms (at temperature 125-degrees Fahrenheit). Keep a close eye for leaks in the base of the forms as your pour – if there are leaks, know that the wax will continue to pour out freely. With no leaks through the wax/rubber connection, I considered this method a big success!

Step 7

 Open GallerySecure the wick and tab into the cooling candle.Watch for the wax at the base of the candle to begin to cool (you may be able to see it becoming more opaque in this photo). Drop the wick tab and rope into the candle, and center it. Center the rope as it emerges at the top of the candle, and brace the rope in place so that it doesn’t shift as it cools (I used a spatula that wouldn’t be inclined to roll).

Step 8

 Open GalleryYour pillar candle will pop free from the rubber and plastic molds!Allow the wax to dry overnight (24 hours is recommended, but consider shorter or longer depending on the diameter of your candle). Keep in mind that if you’re using a rubber coupling, it will likely insulate the heat and take longer to cool than if you tried this method in a thin plastic container.

Both methods that I attempted popped loose easily from the forms. The candle slid out of the plastic recycled container like an ice cube from an ice cube tray, and the other attempt with the rubber coupling loosened easily like a push pop once the wax paper on the base was peeled free (and it will just peel free — so easy!).

Step 9

 Open GalleryEasy DIY pillar candles.Hurrah! Finished candles right out of the mold! The candle on the left is a 2″ diameter and stands 4″ high. The candle on the right is tapered, as I used a recycled plastic container to form it, and is nearly 3″ diameter at the top. It stands 3″ high.

Note: For a pillar using a plastic container form without tapered edges, you might want to try using a cake frosting container!

Materials

  • Soy wax flakes
  • Wick tabs
  • Braided rope for candle wick
  • Rubber coupling (also, plastic containers)
  • Wax paper

Tools

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Double boiler
  • Candy thermometer
  • Iron
About Emily Fazio 

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I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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