How to Make Homemade Natural Candles (a fun project & gift idea!)

Making your own candles is so much fun and a great project to do with any big kiddos in your life! Last year we loved making homemade bath bombs together for our holiday gifts—they were great for teachers, friends, party hosts, the mail carrier, you name it.

This year, we thought we’d switch it up with high-quality candles made from all-natural beeswax and holiday-scented essential oils from one of our favorite all natural companies, Plant Therapy.

Making homemade candles

Why I Hate Conventional Scented Candles

Before we dive in though, I have to tell you why I despise conventional scented candles. Don’t get me wrong, I love burning candles—it’s hard to beat that ambiance this time of year—and it’s certainly nice to add a pleasant aroma to the room while enjoying one.

BUT, breathing in those synthetic fragrances—not to mention the paraffin wax they’re usually made with—can be toxic! Some even say it’s as bad for you as second-hand smoke or the fumes from your car.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, along with researchers at the University of Michigan and South Carolina State, certain types of candles have been found to discharge the dangerous chemicals benzene and ketones, both known cancer-causing agents.

While there have been no definitive studies determining the long term effect of candle exposure, Arizona allergist Dr. Stuart Agren says the chemicals emitted by certain candles, especially heavily-scented ones, are similar to the fumes released by automobile exhausts.*

Of course, the National Candle Association (yes, there is such a thing) disputes these claims, but I’ve learned enough from my research about processed food to stay away from synthetic or artificial anything. I’ve also learned that just because something is “approved” for use doesn’t mean it can’t be bad for you—just look at what happened with this approved synthetic product. Synthetic by definition is “made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product.” In other words, it’s fake, fake, fake! And we all know we like the real thing around here. :)

Synthetic and artificial ingredients are the #1 additive I try to avoid in my food and, naturally (pun intended, LOL), this extends to other products in my life. So, rather than emit questionable fumes into my home while burning candles, we thought we’d make (and share) our own DIY natural candles with beeswax and essential oils!

A Better Choice for Your Scenses

Thankfully, not wanting artificial fragrances in our candles doesn’t mean we have to go the unscented route. Essential oils have been around for centuries and we thought the fun holiday scents from one of our favorite essential oil companies, Plant Therapy, would be perfect for this project.

Homemade candles with essential oils
This Cozy for Christmas Holiday Blend Set would be perfect for making some holiday-themed candles!

Essential oils are concentrated, volatile, aromatic liquids obtained from the fruits, seeds, flowers, bark, stems, roots, leaves or other parts of plants. Plant Therapy offers only 100% pure essential oils and is one of the few companies who offer USDA Certified Organic options. All of their oils go through multiple rounds of testing and are always free from additives, adulterants, and dilutions to uphold the highest quality. While you can certainly find many essential oil options out there, know that they are not all made the same. Finding a quality product is essential, which is why we choose Plant Therapy!

As a bonus, new customers can take 10% off of their first order when you use our code 100DAYS10. A great time to try Plant Therapy!

And right now for the holiday season, Plant Therapy is having their Holiday Cheer Daily Deals! You can save up to 30% on all of their great products, perfect for making your homemade bath bombs. Make sure to check them out daily here from now until December 21st, 2020.

Homemade candle making supplies

Supplies Needed for Homemade Natural Candles

Ingredients

Tools

  • 4-ounce glass jars or tins (or other similar containers)
  • Wicks + scissors (we used organic hemp, but cotton is another good choice)
  • Pencils or clothespins for holding the wicks in place
  • Wooden skewer (for stirring)
  • Dedicated candle-making pitcher (basically a metal pitcher you’ll only use for melting wax)
  • Pot to use as a double boiler (filled with a couple inches of water)
  • Electric heat source (in other words, not your gas stove—I bought a very inexpensive electric burner)

Optional

  • Gift tags/string + pen
  • Organic items to embed (such as plant clippings from your Christmas tree, herbs like lavender and rosemary, pieces from candy canes or other hard candies, coffee beans, seashells, etc. – optional)

I highly recommend you read this full list of SAFETY TIPS before getting started. Melting wax for candles is really simple to do, but it’s never a bad idea to take extra precautions. Also, make sure you understand why using your gas stove (or expensive pots) isn’t such a great idea for this project!

We hope you enjoy making and gifting these as much as we have this holiday season. Have fun with it! :)

Give homemade candles as gift
Homemade scented candles

How to Make Homemade Natural Candles

The best gifts are those that are handmade! Learn how to make these DIY natural candles, using beeswax and Plant Therapy oils, that look and smell great.
4.8 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Cuisine: American
Method: Too Easy
Print Recipe
Servings: 6 candles

Ingredients
  

  • wicks (+ with wick sustainers tabs) cut to length
  • 6 4 ounce jelly jars
  • 1 16 ounce bag beeswax pellets
  • 1 tablespoon essential oil (I used Plant Therapy) about 150 drops, enough to get an aroma when burning the candle
  • organic items to embed (such as lavender, rosemary, or pine needles) optional

Instructions
 

  • Thread each wick through a wick sustainer tab (twist it around or tie a knot where it comes out at the bottom), place in the bottom of a jar, and temporarily hold in place with a clothespin or by wrapping it around a pencil that lays across the top of the jar. Repeat for all six jars and set aside.
    How to Make Homemade Natural Candles on 100 Days of Real Food
  • Heat the beeswax in a candle-making pitcher on a double boiler over medium heat (electric stove recommended, see above) until completely melted, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Use a wooden skewer to stir in your essential oil of choice. Carefully pour almost all the wax into the jars (leaving some behind in the pitcher) and adjust the placement of the wicks if necessary. As the wax begins to solidify, embed any organic items near the top (if desired). 
  • Once the wax completely hardens it may sink around the wick. Simply reheat remaining wax and fill in the gap (adding additional embed items if desired). I think it looks better if you fill beyond the gap, all the way to the edges, for one smooth surface. Let cool till it hardens, trim wick, and it’s ready to gift or use!
    How to Make Homemade Natural Candles on 100 Days of Real Food

Notes

The number of candles this recipe will make is approximate. It will depend on the size of your containers.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
How to Make Homemade Natural Candles on 100 Days of Real Food
I love how cute my 6th grader finished these off for everyone on her list! :) And a big thanks to my talented niece for writing all the pretty cards for us.

*Source: https://www.abc15.com/news/national/can-burning-candles-make-you-sick-university-studies-scrutinize-possible-release-of-toxic-fumes

Other Fun DIY Projects

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25 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Natural Candles (a fun project & gift idea!)”

  1. 4 stars
    This project turned out to be easier than I expected. Not sure why it is recommended to not melt the wax over a gas stove top. When I tried to click on the link for more information, it did not work. We used a gas stove top and it was fine. This is a good project for children who can be safe around hot things. It also requires a fair amount of fine motor skills. My almost 9 y.o. boy was just old enough to do it with me safely and effectively. I used the same ingredients listed. We used the entire bottle of essential oil to fill 1 tablespoon, so we can’t use that again for another batch. However, the ball of twine for wicks will last for many more projects. I liked the smell of the essential oil in the candle. It is very mild. I smell the beeswax as much as the fragrance when it burns. Small mason jars were sold out at the time, so we used whatever glass jar of the same size we could find and that worked just fine. My only suggestion would be to give people pointers on how to clean up afterwards. I looked that up online. People loved receiving these candles as gifts. I look forward to trying it again with a different fragrance.

  2. If your using the essential oils and then adding Pine clippings or other clippings such as rosemary ( That have strong. Fragrances in them selfs) in ithe jars, wouldn’t the clippings smell as well when the candle is being burned ? Just wondering if it would be to much. I’m looking for Christmas basket gift ideas for my three sons and their families. And love this. Newbie to this site.

    1. You can add natural colors to your candles using herbs and spices to keep the entire process “natural.” This will need to be searched outside of this blog but it can be done. – Nicole

    2. Hey, this is a great recipe! Just tried it with some lavender oil and it went surprisingly well for a first time.

      I just wanted to comment to address something about synthetic chemicals you mentioned earlier. You’re right, paraffin isn’t too good to be inhaling but saying ‘benzenes and ketones’ are dangerous is a big misstep to make. Benzenes and ketones show up in everything (yes, including natural products!) for example piperitone is naturally found in Eucalyptus oil. Some benzenes and ketones are dangerous
      but should be treated on a case by case basis. And like with any chemical, high doses aren’t usually good for you, natural or not.

      ‘Synthetic’ versions of chemicals are no different from those extracted naturally in their chemical makeup. The only difference is they are purer due to the distillation process (think the difference between alcohol content wine and vodka, both contain alcohol but in vodka it is in a much purer form).

  3. 5 stars
    I am a huge fan of Lisa and made her bath bombs and bath salts recipes this year for Christmas presents, which went down a treat. My next project will be making the candles.

    Well done Lisa!

    Julie

  4. Back in the Hippie days of my past, we used to make Sand Candles at the beach…so much fun! Think I will try making your scented candles! Thanks for sharing. December 2019

  5. Are the embedded herbs a concern for a fire hazard? Also, do they add to the scent of the candle or just the visual?

  6. Hi! I just want to clarify…do you put the tablespoon of essential oil in the large pitcher or in the individual candle jars? I’m thinking the pitcher, correct? So one tablesooon of essential oil makes 6 candles? Or is it a tablespoon in each candle jar? if you want to use a different scent do you just do another batch? I’m just kind of confused how you made different scents in one batch. I’m sorry…I am not very good with crafts but really want to give this one a try. Thank you so much!

    1. Sharla, you put your essential oils into the large pitcher and then pour that into each jar. I hope you try these and they turn out great for you! – Nicole

  7. How would you feel about doing a how to video of yourself making the candles? I think seeing it done would be festive and fun and give me more confidence that I can do this. I would love watching the extra ideas you throw out like you do when you make lunches.

  8. 5 stars
    Can you please tell me what’s in the Spiced Apple Cider candle. I would love to make it, but would love to know what exactly you put in yours!

    1. Honestly it was either xmas tree or rosemary clippings, but an even better idea would be pieces of a cinnamon stick! Wish I would’ve thought of that earlier :)

      1. That is a great idea with the cinnamon sticks. Do you know what type of oils did she use to make is the “spiced apple”?

  9. 5 stars
    How many drops of essential oil did you add? Obviously would adjust if I’m making a different number of candles but just looking for a ballpark. Thanks!

  10. I had no idea about candles giving off bad fumes! Scary! Are Soy candles any better? Or are there any commercial kinds that are okay?

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