Candles are among my favorite things in the world. And although I love buying fresh candles off of the shelf, I’m always left with empty glass containers when the candles have burned out. Did you know that you can actually melt down those wax remnants and reuse those glasses to start fresh with your own DIY candles?
For example, I recently purchased a box of votive candles just like these from The Home Depot:
I opted for the orange candles because, to me, this is the quintessential color of autumn. Orange works from the month of August to November, from before Halloween through Thanksgiving and everything in between.
At the same time, I don’t want a collection of candles to just consist of a single color or single shape. So instead of buying all new candles and discarding the used glasses, I decided to reuse some of the glass containers from previously purchased candles and supplement my collection with brand new DIY candles in various shades of orange.
Here are the various Mason jars I will be using, all cleaned and ready to go:
In terms of the candle making supplies themselves, you’ll need:
- Wax – I used all-natural soy wax flakes (about 1 lb. of flakes per pint-sized Mason jar)
- Wax-covered wicks – I purchased a pack of 6″ wicks and will trim them to the appropriate lengths after the candles are poured and cooled
- Colorants – I used color blocks but you can also use pigment flakes, liquid coloring, and even wax crayon stubs!
- Scent – This step is optional; I purchased a fall scent sampler with four separate 1 oz. bottles of scents to experiment before taking the plunge and buying larger bottles for more candles
- Candle making pitcher – A specially designed metal pitcher for making candles makes melting and pouring the wax a breeze
- Wooden spoon
- Wooden dowels or skewers
Pour the appropriate amount of wax into your pitcher and heat the wax slowly on your stovetop until it’s completely melted.
Be sure to stir the flakes while they melt in order to evenly distribute the heat.
Remove the pitcher from the heat to cool; at this point, you can add your coloring and scents. Follow the instructions included with whatever you purchase and allow the wax to cool slightly before pouring into your containers. The wax is ready to pour when it forms little chunks because it is starting to re-harden; it may resemble a slushy or a soda with shaved ice.
Center your wick and secure it in place with two dowels and slowly pour the wax into the container. Readjust your wick if necessary and make sure that the dowels are holding it straight up in the center.
Be aware that the hot wax will lighten considerably in color when it is completely cooled.
When the candles are fully cooled, trim the wicks down and leave about a half an inch of length to light.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. That’s part of the beauty of DIY creativity, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you had envisioned, it’s still a custom creation and unique to you. Many times, what you end up with is just as good, if not better, than what you set out to make originally!
Here are a few different examples of experimental multi-tone candles:
The tall one on the left is the result of allowing the bottom half to cool completely before adding the top layer of a much lighter shade of orange wax. I made the tiny votive in the front by doing the same thing but in the opposite order: Light on the bottom and dark on the top; the top added only after the bottom was cool. However, for the tall candle on the right, you can create the muddled, almost tie-dyed look by pouring the top half before the bottom has completely cooled.
I love the orange sherbet/creamsicle appearance of the two-toned candles but I also love the straight up autumn orange candles, as well:
These DIY candles are much easier to make than you might think and they are the perfect addition to any store-bought candle collection. At the same time, they make fantastic presents to friends and family and this tutorial is coming just in time for the gift-giving season!
What colors and containers do you want to use when making your own DIY customized candles?
Rheney Williams is a creative DIYer who writes about Holiday décor projects for The Home Depot. If you are too busy to make your own candles, but still would like to decorate your house with ones that are already made, please visit homedepot.com to see a selection of Halloween and Harvest decorations.