How to Make Homemade Jar Candles

Easy and Affordable Gift Ideas

In Humbleville, we’re big on D.I.Y. projects, especially ones that can be given as gifts!  Sure you can buy a friend a nice birthday gift, even write out a check, but to me, it means so much more when they’ve taken the time to make it.

My favorite type, and luckily the easiest type of candle to make is a jar candle.  Some candle companies charge upwards of $30.00 for a candle you could make for less than $5.00!

What You Need:

If you’ve always wanted to make candles, but never really knew where to start, this guide’s for you.  Making a jar or container candle is very simple, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we’ll need supplies!

Here’s what you need:

  • empty glass jars or containers
  • a double boiler
  • candle wax
  • oven mitts
  • wax paper
  • candle wicks (recommended: pre-waxed and wired wicks with wicks clips)

Now if you’re feeling more adventurous, there are a few things that will make your jar candles look and smell as though they came straight from Yankee!

When making candles, you’ll need candle wax, whether you’re using up old candles or buying basic wax.  You can purchase plain, unscented wax, however it won’t have any color.

And while crayon wax is often used by crafters when making candles, it also is not recommended.  The pigmentation in crayons can clog the wick, preventing the candle from burning smoothly.  Rather, find actual candle pigments at your local arts and crafts stores to ensure your candle burns evenly.

Another great option is adding a little fragrance to your candle!  You can find candle scents at any arts and crafts store and some in a wide variety of scents.  You can also mix and match scents for extra uniqueness!

Step By Step Directions:

Follow these instructions from beginning to end, and you’ll learn how to make a basic jar candles.

  1. Simply wash the jar, lids and rings with hot soapy water and dry well before filling.  Make sure the jar is flawless.  Cracks or scratches in the jar can cause the jar to break when you pour the hot wax into it, or when the candle is lit.
  2. Place your jars on a sheet of wax paper.  This will ensure that any wax spills will be easy to clean up.
  3. Position your wick in the center of the jar.  To make sure that the wick is straight, wrap the end of the wick around a pencil and allow the pencil to sit on top of the jar.
  4. Wax should be heated to the melting point in a double-boiler.  This is when you should add coloring and fragrance if desired.  Stir to blend, but never stir vigorously-hot wax is very dangerous and can cause severe burns.
  5. Use oven mitts or pot holders to remove the wax from the stove.  Then, carefully pour the wax into the the first container until it reaches the top of the container (or the desired height).  Repeat with any remaining containers
  6. Allow the wax to cool undisturbed for several hours or until completely hardened.
  7. Sometimes after cooling, your candle may end up with a depressed area around the wick of the candle.  This is a common occurrence and an easy problem to remedy.  Just melt some more wax, and pour it into the void.
  8. Once the new wax has hardened, simply trim the wick down to size; and your candle is ready for use!

Candle Making Demonstration


Clean Up Tips

Cleaning up after a project is never fun, but if you follow a couple simple guidelines you’ll minimize the hassle.

  • Don’t pour wax down the drain.

Allow any leftover melted wax to cool in a separate container and store the dried pieces for later use.  You should also dump the water from your double boiler outside to ensure that no wax goes down the drain.

  • Clean up spills on the stove.

If any drips or spills have occurred, be sure to clean them up completely.  Wax will ignite if it reaches a high enough temperature.

I love making labels and giving these candles as gifts for birthdays, ‘thank you’s, or Christmas.  Have you ever tried making your own candles?  How did they turn out?  Let us know!