Make Your Own Scented Candles on the Cheap

Learning how to make candles has been at the top of my list for a long time. For years now, I’ve sourced most (if not all) of the candles I burn in my home on the cheap from garage sales, because they’re readily available for a good price. A dime here, a quarter there— a dollar if and only if the candle is exceptional. I’ve never had to resort to paying $5-$25 for a single scented wax candle in retail stores.

Candle-making is a long-beloved crafts. You can use them in your own home, or take the tutorial and make candle gift favors for an event. I prepared for this project by gathering a few items: braided wick rope, wick tabs, 5 pounds of unscented soy candle wax (soy burns longer than paraffin), and a small container of fragrance oil formulated for use in candle-making: Cinnamon Sugar! I had trouble finding a variety of scents, but came across this one at the local craft store. Hopefully this means that my house will smell like delicious baked goods all winter.

materials for making your own candles at homeI have lofty dreams, now that I’ve gotten my feet wet, to attempt DIY pillar candles, so check out this tutorial and then check back soon for more candle making ideas. And if you’re still swatting mosquitoes this summer, you can also learn to make your own citronella candles.

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Step 1

 Open GalleryGather materials for your custom candles.I’d like to eventually explore different forms for my candles, hopefully mastering the art of the pillar candle, but I have to graduate up to that. Summertime goals. For now, I found a glass vase that I liked at a local vintage shop (one that I can either reuse for future candles, or retire into a classic vase) and set out on a mission to make a great candle for my home.

Step 2

 Open GalleryAssembling Candle wicks using wick tabs and braided rope. DIY to save money!I didn’t buy the pre-tabbed wick assemblies, the ones that come pre-assembled, because I wasn’t exactly sure what size candles I would decide to make. Buying the materials separately cost a little less anyways (just about $8 for 150 wick tabs and 100 feet of braided rope).

To assemble the wicks, cut lengths of the waxed rope for the candle. For ease of making the candle, cut a few inches longer than needed so you can trim the wicks to length at a later point. Secure one end of the wick rope into the wick tab base, and use needle nose pliers to pinch the metal tight.

Step 3

 Open GalleryMelting soy wax in a double boiler for homemade candles.To melt the wax, set up a double boiler system on your stovetop. It is important to watch the temperature of the wax with a thermometer as it climbs. You will need to heat it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4

When the wax is 180 degrees and all of the flakes have melted, remove it from the heat, add your fragrance oil (optional) and color (optional, not used in this tutorial) and let it cool down to about 125 degrees. Contrary to what you might think, the wax will stay completely liquid during this time! Note: If you add the fragrance oil while the wax is still over the heat, you risk the scent evaporating away.

Step 5

 Open GalleryPutting a wick into a DIY candle.When it reaches 125 degrees, carefully pour the wax into the container(s) of your choosing. Allow the wax to sit for a few moments, watch for the bottom and top edges to begin to solidify around the container, and then drop in the assembled wick and tab. I used a chopstick to help push the tab down to the base of the container and center it, and then looped the end of the wick, centered in the candle, over a construction pencil that wasn’t likely to roll away.

Step 6

 Open GalleryHow to make big candles at home.Your work is done! Let the candle solidify for several hours, and trim the wick down to a 1/4 inch. Any excess braided rope can be saved for a day when you make a shorter candle.

Step 7

 Open GalleryDIY Candle tutorial.I can report that making a candle of this size used about 2 pounds of wax. I still have 3 pounds of wax (and plenty of wicks and rope from my original $25 investment) to make a lot more candles before wintertime!

Materials

  • Wax
  • Wick rope
  • Wick rabs
  • Containers for candles

Tools

  • Stovetop
  • Double boiler
  • Scissors
  • Needle nose pliers
About Emily Fazio 

199Posts

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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14 Responses

  1. Suzanne says:

    Wow, I didn't know you could make your own scented candles right at home :-) I found some candle
    making stuff here on Amazon and I was wondering if this is good enough and not too expensive? Thanks for your tutorial :-)

  2. Pat says:

    I use left over scentsy wax, melt it down in microwave, insert my wick and tab, let cool, and I have a candle with scents already in it.

  3. Lena says:

    How to keep the wax from putting out the light? What are the best wicks to use?

  4. Carolyn says:

    You can make good wicks yourself with cotton string. Dip it in melted wax and then loop or fold it several times to make a strand about 4 string thicknesses. Twist the strings together quickly while the wax is still melted unti lthey are twisted into one thicker, wax-saturated wick. Much cheaper than buyin pre-made ones that don't burn very well.

  5. missym says:

    i have started making my own soy candles and i love it!
    the only issue i am having is finding wicks…i bought some at michaels but they only had two types (one for smaller containers and one for larger ones) …

    the wick that you bought did you have to pre wax them? or did you just drop it in?
    i have also bought a bunch of wick thread … they did not work properly it made a huge hole down the centre of the candle.

    i hope you are able to help me figure out what wick to buy or use!! btw the ones that i did get from michaels work great BUT they are expensive! i'd prefer to get something in bulk :)

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi, I'm also a beginner and I just made my first candle today. It turned out pretty well, though I haven't burned it yet because I want to add a layer of a different color. The wick I used was just a small roll that I think was bought at a craft store (I'm sorry I cannot help you with were else to find it, I'm hoping to find some at Wal-Mart) and was not pre-waxed. What I did was wax them myself by dipping it carefully in the melted wax while it was cooling (without touching it with my hands). Also I noticed her talking about adding the wax and then the wick. That actually seems odd to me and though it may work (I don't know I haven't tried) It may help you to do it a different way. For example putting the wick in first and then pouring the wax carefully into the container is how I've always heard of it being done. The pencil part still remains the same though. Anyways, hope this helped. God bless you and have a nice day.

  6. lauren says:

    how do u make it a certain color

  7. @Nancy402 says:

    I tried this with wicks that are already put together. You get a bag of them. They never burn right. I used soy wax too. Are there different kinds of wicks for different kinds of wax?

  8. Nancy says:

    How much oil are you supposed to use?

    • merrypad says:

      Most of the containers I found, including the one that I used, were 1 oz. For 2.5 pounds of wax, which is what I mixed this time, I used about 40 drops or 1/3 of an ounce. You may want to experiment based on the strength you prefer!

  9. Debra says:

    How can I use a men's aftershave or cologne for the scent?

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