With Christmas not too far off, it is time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. I tend to make homemade gifts for the majority of the adults in my life. It saves money and is always something a little unique. One of my favorite DIY gifts to give in the past has been candles.
(Please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through a link. It will not change your cost and I truly appreciate your support to keep this blog up and running. As with any DIY project, please use your judgment and be very careful. Hot wax is dangerous. For more information, see my disclosures page.)
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN CANDLES?
In my post, Simple Fall Decor, I discussed some of the dangers of conventional store-bought candles. Yes, they smell amazing but they are spewing hormone disrupters all through the house. I prefer to use either beeswax or soy wax candles. You can buy these from Amazon, but for a Christmas gift, I prefer to make my own. They are fairly easy to make and you can find all kinds of unique glass containers to put them in. One year I purchased three wine glasses of various shapes and heights (but still similar in style) and made a candle arrangement to give as a gift. It was a very elegant look and the wine glasses came from the Dollar Tree! Mason Jars also work really well and make a very stable candle.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE CANDLES
To make your candles, you will need:
- sturdy glass containers or mason jars
- wicks, at least one inch taller than the candle container
- soy wax or beeswax or a combination of the two
- a glass measuring cup to melt the wax in
- a saucepan to set the glass measuring cup in
- essential oils (Plant Therapy brand is my favorite)*
- pencils or chopsticks or popsicle sticks
- something to stir the wax, like an old spoon
- candle colorant, optional
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CANDLE
Melting the wax
First, measure your wax. You will need enough wax to fill the candle container twice. I actually used the candle jar to measure the wax. Fill the container, pour it into the pyrex measuring cup and repeat once. Then add about 2″ water to the saucepan. Place on the stove over medium heat and place the pyrex measuring cup in the water. Slowly allow the wax to melt, stirring as needed.
While the wax is melting, prepare your wick by straightening it, if necessary. Once the wax has started melting, carefully dip the metal part of the wick into the melted wax. Gently place it in the center of the glass container using a chopstick or popsicle stick to press it in place. Let this cool. This will help keep the wick anchored to the container when you pour in the remaining wax.
Continue to allow the wax to melt, stirring occasionally. Notice how full the pyrex container is in picture #2 versus picture #4. It melts down a lot. If using a candle colorant, add it according to package directions when the wax is nearly all melted. I tend to leave mine uncolored so the candles always match my decor.
Once the wax is fully melted, remove the saucepan from the heat. Carefully remove the pyrex from the water and dry the bottom of the pyrex container. Let the wax cool for several minutes. If you let it cool too long and the wax starts to harden, you can always re-melt it. Then add the essential oils, using 10-20 mL per pound of wax. (For my two candles I used approximately 1 1/4 pounds of wax and 12 mL orange essential oil, 6 mL cinnamon essential oil, and 3 mL clove essential oil for a moderately scented fall candle.) Stir gently to ensure the essential oils are dispersed throughout the wax.
Pouring your candle
Slowly and carefully, pour the wax into your chosen container. Center the wick, using pencils or chopsticks to prop it up straight. Allow the candle to harden, without disturbing, for several hours. Once the wax has hardened, trim the wick to 1/2″ above the wax. Wait 24 hours to allow the wax to fully harden before lighting your candle. Your candle is now ready to enjoy. Use it yourself or make several to give as gifts. These also make great house-warming gifts or end-of-year teacher gifts.
DIY CHRISTMAS GIFT SERIES
This is the first in a series of posts about Christmas gifts. Every other week I will be posting DIY gift ideas and ways to make the holidays special. For another easy gift idea, check out my post on making soap. The article was written for Mother’s Day, but it would also be easy to customize the soap for Christmas.
Do you give homemade gifts for Christmas? What is your favorite thing to make and give?