Are you looking for a fun wax craft for the kids but don’t want to spend too much on candle making supplies? Or are you a seasoned candle maker looking to reduce your materials costs with easy upcycled materials? Come learn how to make your own candle molds from materials you probably already have on hand.
For more ideas on how to save money and live green on the homestead, be sure to check out the Homestead Finances and Green the Homestead chapters of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. Don’t have your own copy of the book? Click here – we’re saving one just for you. With 400 pages of homesteading information, over four different levels of homesteading experience, there’s bound to be something there for you! We eat homestead DIYs for breakfast, man. If you’d like a free sample from either of those chapters, simply email me at Tessa@homesteadlady.com and I’ll get you set up.
The Why of Making Your Own Candle Supplies
If you’re new to candle making, the first thing you learn, apart from the fact that it’s really fun, is that it can be expensive. For one thing, it’s a bit addictive to take wax and wick and produce a real, usable candle. The more you make, the more candle stuff you need. Candle molds (for poured candles) are one of the higher-priced items.
So, before you dash to the craft store, go to your recycling bin to get your candle making supplies. You can make your own candle molds with upcycled materials and a hot glue gun.
Candle Making Supplies
There are certainly other ways you can make your own candle supplies, though they’re not quite as straight forward as upcycling candle molds. There are methods to spin and ply your own candle wicking, for example. If you keep bees, you can also get a decent supply of beeswax built up to use for candle making. Extracting and cleaning beeswax is certainly an investment in time, though.
To begin some place a little simpler with crafting your own candle making supplies, may I suggest you savvy shoppers start with the humble candle mold?
Make your own molds
Here are some ideas for upcycled candle molds:
Upcycled Glass Jars:
The most obvious – Glass jars previously used to house candles. You know you have some in your house somewhere! Those glass, lidded jars, with the embarrassed remnant of some seasonal candle still stuck in the bottom? You never did throw it out because, and rightly so, you thought it had to be useful for something.
- Dig out the wax and wash as much of the previous sticker off as you can (if it had one).
- Put the jar onto a jelly roll pan, and put it in the oven. Set the oven temp as low as it will go.
- Watch the wax in the mold until melts. As soon as it’s melted enough, pour out the wax into a foil lined container to add to your candle wax stash. (Doesn’t everyone have one of those?)
- With a paper towel in one hand and a hot mitt on the other, carefully wipe the warm wax out of the container until it’s gone.
- If the wax starts to harden, just put it back in the oven for a minute.
Voila, brand new jar to use for a poured candle! To learn to make new candles from old candles, visit this link from Tenth Acre Farm. If you have tea cups to upcycle into candles, here’s the perfect post for you from Untrained Housewife.
Upcycled Plastic Bottles or Milk Cartons
The easiest – An orange juice bottle, or a milk carton.
Any paper carton will do, but the individual serving size cartons are probably the best. This is especially true if you’re making candles with kids, and don’t want to spend a small fortune in wax to make larger candles. However, if you decide to go large and use something like a half gallon-size milk carton (big candle!), just make sure you use enough wick to keep it burning.
To learn a little bit more about what wick to use, and what effects wick use, just visit this link.
To learn more about making your own candle mold from a plastic container, please visit this link. Basically, you cut off the top of the bottle and insert a wick. Using a candle wick with its own metal base will help keep the wick stable. If you need to create your own hole for a wick, the video can show you how – it’s simple, I promise!
FYI, those flimsy plastic water bottles aren’t thick enough to deal with the hot wax so don’t bother using them. You also don’t want anything too ribbed, or you’ll never get your candle out of the mold.
Make Your Own Cardboard Mold
The most fun – Cardboard in many shapes and sizes.
The first mold you try to make with cardboard should be a toilet paper tube, with a hot-glued, flat cardboard bottom (see the photo below).
- Stand one toilet paper tube up onto a scrap square of cardboard.
- Using hot glue, secure the tube to the square base.
- Allow the glue to dry completely before filling about an inch from the top with melted wax.
- Insert a wick (see instructions below).
- Allow your candle to dry at least 24 hours before tearing away the cardboard mold.
To Insert a Wick
- Measure the length of wick needed by holding it up to the outside of your homemade mold. Use that measurement, plus an inch or two, and cut your wick.
- Insert your wick into your mold until it reaches the bottom. Wrap the excess wick at the top around a small stick or a nail so that the wick is straight and touches the bottom of the candle.
- Place the stick or nail across the opening of the mold so that it balances on top and keep the wick in the center of the mold for even burning.
A Note on Inserting Wicks:
The easiest wicking to use for control and straightness is wired wick. You can buy wicking with a small, flexible wire running down the center in spools at most craft stores. This wire enables you to control the wick and keep it straight as it goes down the length of your mold.
If you don’t have wick with wire in it, you can wrap the end of your wick securely around a small pebble or coin and place that in the bottom of your mold. The pebble will act like an anchor for your wick, keeping it straight. Be sure not to pull to hard and remove your wick from the bottom of the mold. You don’t want your wick to end up halfway up your candle!
Likewise, you can puncture the bottom of your candle mold and feed one end of the wick through the hole. Tie a secure knot at the end of the wick and pull the remaining length up through the mold. Secure the top of the wick as described in the instructions, keeping the wick straight. You’ll need a bit of clay or even glue on the underside of the mold surrounding the area where your knotted wick is placed. Without that clay or glue, you’ll get hot wax leaking out around the hold you made.
Candle Making with Kids
Making candles, as well as making your own candle making supplies, are fun activities to do with children, so be sure to include them, if you keep them on staff.
To learn more about teaching candle making to kids, please visit this link from Hobby Farms for an article I wrote about that very thing.
Here’s how to make crushed ice candles from Simple Life Mom.
Joybilee Farm teaches us how to make the perfect taper candles, for which you won’t need a mold.
If you have a little leftover wax, use it to seal these homemade envelopes that you wrote on with homemade ink, courtesy of Little House on the Prairie®.
Online Craft Classes
For more online opportunities to expand your craft repertoire, be sure to check out some of the courses below. My kids and I have loved Craftsy’s craft selections! In fact, we use them in our home education studies all the time.
The following is just a sampling – there are SO many more classes to be explored there. Just click on one and it will take you to a course description; then you can nose around the website all you like.
Don’t forget to email me at Tessa@homesteadlady.com for a free sample of any chapter from our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. We hope the book will be helpful to you, but don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what author and farmer Forest Pritchard had to say about the book: