Candle Making…in scavenged vessels


Candle making, a true farmgirl skill.  We go through a lot of candles here, to make the house smell nice and to read by, so sometimes it is nice to supplement with ones I have made.  I think various molds would be fun to try, tapers and tea candles and such, but without all of the fun trimmings and trappings of fancy candle making, I have resorted to using coffee cups.  Or canning jars.  Or whatever I find.  I got these fine looking vessels at the dollar store.  You can find wax and wicks at homesteading stores or online.  I purchases a giant bag of organic soy wax and the wicks that I thought would work. (I really had no idea, I simply guessed!)


At the shop, I have a separate pan and measuring cup when dealing with wax.  Once or twice you can get all the wax out and scrub it up nice, but we simply make too many lotions, salves, and now candles to have to worry about it.  So, these instruments are specifically for wax.  They ain’t pretty, but they get the job done.  Pour wax to the top of the measuring cup and heat water to boiling.  As the wax melts, stir it with a chop stick and add more wax until the finished product is about 2 cups.  Do not add any water or oils, just straight wax.


Ahh, my old nemesis, the wick.  It insists upon releasing its grip, and running amuck as soon as I pour the wax in.  It is truly a test of my patience.  I have found a few tricks.  Use a good glue, and glue the bottom of the wick to the bottom of the coffee cup.  Press down on the metal part with a chopstick.  The longer you leave it, the less likely it will dislodge and become a horizontal wick!


(I love chopsticks, can you tell?  I am the one putting them in my purse at the Chinese restaurant.)  Twist the wick (carefully) around the chopstick to hold it in place.


When the wax looks completely melted, give it a stir again.

A Note on Scents: Now is the time to add fragrance or essential oils to your product.  You will add them into the coffee up or the wax, your choice.  Funny story about the oils.  I wanted all natural scents wafting through my house.  So, I used about 60 drops of essential oil and….nothing.  Not strong enough.  I used an ounce of essential oil.  Emily casually walked in and said, “Your candle is on fire.”  I said, “Oh good!  I can smell the pine essential oil from here!”  She instructed me to go see the candle and sure enough, the whole thing was on fire with my hutch not far behind it!  Bonfire in the living room!  So, I just use enough essential oil to cover the metal ring at the bottom of the wick, but alas it doesn’t really emit much scent.  So, I broke down and bought fragrance oils.  I can tell people how bad they are all I want, but at the end of the day at Walmart when I am picking up smelly candles….Well, I may as well buy the fragrance oil and try to save a few bucks.  I poured an ounce of oil into the coffee cups, and they aren’t bad but they aren’t like Yankee Candle either, so I am not sure what the trick is.  Most people like softly scented or scent free candles anyway!  Fragrance oils are endocrine disruptors so if you have thyroid problems, you may want to opt for essential oils.


Now, with one hand use a chopstick to hold down that pesky metal part at the bottom of the wick and with the other hand pour hot wax into the coffee cup.  That 2 cups of melted wax will make two 12 oz. coffee cups into candles.  Leave it now for several hours to set.  Remove the chopsticks and clip the wick down to 1/4 inch.  They are ready to burn brightly!

Candle Tips: Always burn candles until the wax is melted all the way to the edges or you will have a shallow hole and it will not burn evenly.  Keep wicks trimmed to 1/4 inch to prevent bonfires in the living room.  Use a snuffer, fun to say and will keep your wick from sidling to the edge of the candle.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Schneider says:

    My first experience in candle making came when a Catholic church asked me to make them a big Easter candle. These have to be mostly beeswax so I collected up the things and got a piece of 4″ PVC pipe to use as a mold. Husband helped and it turned out nice. Beeswax has a lovely odor all its own! THEN on Easter Sunday, I watched in horror as it burned and a big draft from a heating vent blew the flame sideways causing it to burn a hole in the opposite side, spilling about 16 oz of lovely wax down the side and onto the carpet. The flame shot about a foot high and the priest scuttled to the other side of the altar in haste! Someone rescued him and a kind lady who knew how cleaned up the mess. I will make only small candles like yours from now on.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      That is hilarious! I know not at the time. I watched in horror as I read! I cannot imagine what you were thinking! Thanks for sharing!

  2. a few other “molds/holders” that I have used: tea cups, wine glasses, clean milk cartons, paper towel rolls

      1. thanks
        if you want something a little “odd”, add ice cubes if pouring into a milk carton.

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