Candle Making Supplies for the Beginner
A Basic List to Get You Started
Below is a list of basic items I have put together to help you get started on your way to making your own personal candles at home. This is by no means the definitive list. As you continue to progress in your candle making skills and abilities, you will begin to learn about and acquire new equipment to fit your growing needs.
You need wax. It’s a candle. Now there are ways to make a candle without wax, and there are gels that you can use as well. But for your basic candle, you need wax. The biggest decision you will have is figuring out what kind of wax to use. The primary waxes in use are paraffin and soy. For a better idea on the differences between these, check our article Paraffin or Soy, Take Your Pick.
Double Boiler / Melting Pot
When making your first candles I recommend using the double boiler method. It’s the easiest way to melt small batches of wax. All you need is a stove/hot plate, pot, pouring pot, and thermometer. As you advance, you can go with something larger. I use a Presto Pot that has been converted to a wax melter. It can hold nearly ten pounds of wax and I can control the temperature much easier.
This is a must have. It is very important for many reasons. Primarily, it will keep you from overheating your wax and possibly burning it or having it catch fire. Trust me on this (personal experience). Also, there are several additives that need to be put into the wax at certain temperatures and you will want to pour at other temperatures. You can easily start with a candy thermometer, but I recommend moving to a digital thermometer as soon as you can. They are very accurate and are easier to use.
Well this is a big thing to consider. There are several types of wicks, in a variety of sizes. The style and size of wick will depend on the type of wax and size of container or pillar. For many candles I make I need to use multiple wicks. The best advice I can give is to research before buying and test, test, test.
Container candles are THE best way to make your first candles. You can buy your own, or recycle some you may have laying around the house. Either way, this is where you start. Once you mix your wax, fragrance, and colors you just place a wick in and pour. That easy. Well, OK, not quite that easy. But it is the general idea. CAUTION: Heat will break glass! Make sure your container can take the heat, and never let a candle burn to the bottom of the container. There are ways to help avoid this and we will discuss them more in another section.
This is where things start coming together. Fragrance oils are the best way to scent your candles. You can use essential oils, but I find that the flame can burn off the oils causing less hot throw (scent in the air). They can also be more expensive than synthetic fragrance oils. Additionally, fragrance oils allow for more variety. There are some guidelines to using fragrance which we will touch on elsewhere.
Let’s add a touch of color. Dyes can come in either solid block or liquid. You can even use crayons, but you need to stick with the Crayola brand and use the sparingly. The will affect the way your wax acts. My personal choice is to use liquid dyes. I just find them easier to use and I can measure just by counting drops. They also mix quickly, especially when using multiple colors. The bottles should come with droppers, but be prepared to buy some if necessary.
There are several additives you can use when making candles. Two that I have found useful as a starter are Vybar and UV Inhibitor. Vybar is an additive that will allow your candle to retain a bit more fragrance and enhance the color. It is also said to help wax adhere to the side of containers as well. You can also use steric acid, but I find Vybar to be easy to work with. UV Inhibitor is used to help retain candle color over time. This works and I use this for candles that I plan to give away or sell at flea markets. Especially if I make a large batch that may sit for six months or more.
As I said earlier, this is just a list to help get you started. The best thing I can recommend is to do additional research, whether here or other places. Also, check out forums, books and any candle maker you may meet. The good thing about this community is that almost everybody is willing to share information. We love to talk candles. Be creative and enjoy this great hobby we share.