candle making guide

Introduction - Who am I ?

Welcome to my in-depth guide on candle making. My name is Jason and I'm the owner of Suffolk Candles, where I create and sell handmade candles.

I first became interested in making candles when I was furloughed during the pandemic. I fell in love with the whole process - from choosing the scents and wax blends, to experimenting with different vessels and wick types, to finally pouring my very own scent creations.

In this guide, I'm going to share everything I've learned over the years about making high quality, creative, and long-burning candles.

I'll cover all the basics about waxes, wicks, fragrance, vessels, and safety. I'll provide candle recipes for beginners as well as tips and tricks I've discovered along the way to help you have the best results from start to finish. Whether you're interested in candle making as a hobby, going into business yourself, or simply learning more about the art form, my goal is for this to be your ultimate resource for candle making knowledge. So let's get started!

Candle Making Guide

Below are the links to various guides I've written all to do with candle making, covering various topics using my own experience.

What is a candle ?

Before we get into candle making the first thing we need to do is understand exactly what a candle is and how they work. 

A candle is a small, flammable object that produces its own light, made from wax with an embedded wick. The purpose of a candle is to provide portable illumination, creating brightness and, often, a delightful scent through the melting and evaporation of the wax.

Common Candle Terminology 

If you’re new to candle making, you may feel overwhelmed by some of the terminology used to describe candle supplies, ingredients, and techniques. As a beginner, I remember struggling to understand the difference between paraffin and soy wax or what exactly the purpose of a wick is.

However, learning some of the most common candle terminology is key foundation knowledge for creating your own quality candles. In this article, I aim to provide simple definitions around frequently used candle terms such as wax, wicks, vessels, curing, and scent throw.

With a better understanding of the jargon and science involved in candle making, you’ll feel more confident in navigating recipes, purchasing supplies, and instructing others on DIY candles.

Whether you’re looking to explore candle making as relaxing hobby or start your own candle business, consider this your go-to intro to candle vocabulary.

Different types of Candle Wax

When making candles, selecting the right wax for your needs is crucial. Candle wax comes in types like paraffin, soy, beeswax, and palm - each with distinct properties affecting burn time, scent throw, ease of use, and more.

This article will compare the major candle waxes regarding cost, sustainability, performance, and suitability for candle projects. I’ll explore the unique benefits of paraffin, soy, beeswax, and palm so you can make informed choices when purchasing waxes.

Whether you want to make containers, pillars, or votives, my guide will help you understand how to select, prepare, and properly use the different candle waxes available.

Let’s overview some key qualities of each to help you choose the best option for your candles.

Understanding Different types of Wicks

The wick is the unsung hero of a high-quality candle. This slender cord that runs through the middle of the wax may seem simple, but it’s actually carefully designed and calibrated for optimal burn performance.

Wicks come in different materials, thicknesses, and styles that impact how evenly, brightly, and safely your candle burns.

Choosing the right wick type prevents issues like tunnelling and smoking. As a candle maker, having in-depth knowledge of wicks allows you to customize your candles’ throw, melt pool, and burn time. 

Through experience, testing, and research, I’ve learned how variables like wax type, candle shape/size, and additives determine which wicks work best. In this guide, I’ll explain the characteristics and purposes of common wick varieties including cotton, wooden, paper, square braid, and cored wicks.

My goal is to demystify wick terminology and science so you can confidently select, size, and pair wicks that unlock your candle recipes’ full potential.

Containers for Candle Making

When crafting a candle, the vessel you choose to hold the wax is an incredibly consequential decision that impacts safety, design, burn efficiency, and overall user experience.

From metal tins to mason jars to elegant glass containers, candle vessels come in endless shapes, sizes, and materials. As you select containers for your candle making endeavors, factors like heat resistance, appearance, price point, and repurposing potential should inform your choice. In this comprehensive guide to candle containers, I’ll overview popular vessel options for both hobbyists and sellers while highlighting creative, practical, and money-saving solutions I’ve discovered.

We’ll dig into topics like preparing containers properly, pairings with certain wax types, wick requirements, how to get wax out of jars and decorating techniques to take your candle design to the next level.

By understanding container fundamentals as well as the art of matching vessels to your candle recipe’s specifications, you’ll craft gorgeous, long-burning candles enclosed in your ideal encasement.

Working out the Volume of a Candle Container

When making your own candles, properly calculating the volume capacity of your chosen candle container is a crucial early step.

You need to know how much wax your vessel can hold in order to measure out the correct wax amount and ensure optimal hot throw and burn time. While you can find the volumes of common container types like jars and tins online or through simple math, unusual, tapered, or handmade vessels require a few easy experiments to determine the volume.

In this article, I’ll walk through fool proof methods to work out candle container volumes using water displacement and mark points. You’ll learn how to allow for melting wax expansion, pair the ratio of wax to vessel correctly, and make spreadsheets for custom container volumes so your candle making is efficient and mess-free. Accurately predetermining candle container capacity sets you up for success whether following recipes or formulating your own wax blends from scratch.

I aimed to introduce the topic of calculating candle container volumes, set up the goal of providing methods to do so, and highlight the importance for candle making success.

How to Wick a Candle

Wicking a candle properly is one of the most technical and particular steps in crafting a high-quality, safe, and long-burning candle.

The wick serves the crucial function of drawing wax up to fuel the candle flame. Selecting the right wick type and correctly placing and securing it makes all the difference in your candle's performance.

An improperly wicked candle can tunnel, struggle to light, drown its wick in molten wax, smoke excessively, and burn unevenly. By understanding wicking best practices including precise wick sizing based on your wax and vessel choice, even centering, and tying off wicks to grip the bottom, you can create candles that emit full fragrance, provide steady illumination, and burn from edge to edge without issue. Can you use superglue for wicking candles ?

In this guide, I’ll cover time-tested techniques on how to wick a candle for ideal results and troubleshoot problems if they arise. Properly outfitting candles with wicks is a make-or-break skillset for reliable DIY candle making and selling.

Understanding Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oil is arguably the most enjoyable ingredient in candle making. These concentrated aromatic oils allow you to infuse your candle creations with inviting scents ranging from fresh linens to baked goods to spa tranquillity and everything in between.

However, all fragrance oils are not created equal or well-suited for candle use unless specifically designed for high temperature performance. By learning about the different grades and properties that impact creativity, scent throw, and safety, you can get the most out of your fragrance oil selection.

In this guide, I’ll break down factors like flashpoints, compatibility with various waxes, intended usage, and origins when demystifying the world of fragrance oils. 

Let’s dive into how to unlock amazing possibilities with fragrance while avoiding common candle scent snafus!

Beginners Guide to Essential Oils

Essential oils are the powerhouse ingredients that give candles, soaps, and other homemade products their signature scents.

Best essential oils for candles

Distilled from aromatic plants, these highly concentrated botanical essences impart natural fragrance in a potent, pure form. As a budding aromatherapist or DIY artisan, essential oils offer an irresistible way to experiment with herbal alchemy through scent. However, high quality essential oils require careful sourcing, handling, and combining to unlock their potential from seed to solution.

My beginner’s guide demystifies these “essences of wellness” by decoding labels, outlining aromatic profiles, preventing noxious mixes, and providing proven formulas for blending balanced, beautiful scents.

From refreshing citrus to sensual florals to woodsy medicinals, understand the basics of aromatic botany and safety before launching your own custom essential oil practice. Let’s thoughtfully transform nature’s living legacy into fragrant plant magic!

Best wax for essential oils

How to Make a Candle

Candle making allows you to create beautiful, custom-scented candles using ingredients tailored to your unique vision. But where do you start when making candles at home for the first time?

Crafting candles requires an understanding of supplies like wax, wicks, and vessels as well as a bit of artistry plus best safety practices. In this comprehensive guide to candle making for beginners, I’ll walk you through my simple a simple method to make soy container candles using my tips garnered from years of candle business experience.

We’ll explore pouring techniques, essential tools, unique candle recipe ideas, troubleshooting candle problems, and more so you can design breath-taking candles that also burn cleanly and evenly.

Whether you want to make candles as gifts, for relaxation, or to start your own brand, this guide serves as your complete candle making starter kit. Let’s turn your creative spark into fragrant, handcrafted candle magic!