How to Make Scented Candles

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Marveled by the Ideas on How to Make Scented Candles at Home?

Can’t blame you, I’ve been on a scented candle making streak! It starts in the autumn for me when the temperatures begin to cool off and I crave the coziness. Nothing says cozy like reading a good book by the glow of a homemade scented candle. 

What’s even better about learning how to make scented candles? As autumn leads into winter I happily kick my candle making into full gear for beautiful, yet practical handmade gifts. Frankly, there are several reasons you’ll love discovering how to make candles at home – take these for example:

  • Homemade scented candles cost less than store-bought
  • Creating your blend of fragrances is so much fun
  • You can easily control the strength of the fragrance
  • Choosing the candle container is another fun step
  • Go green by upcycling containers like glass yogurt jars or coffee mugs 
  • Did I mention homemade scented candles make great gifts 
  • Make candles at home to match your decor and style
  • You get to make strong scented candles

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Beginner candle making all comes down to knowing how to make scented candles to suit your needs, wants, and likes with the best wax and fragrance!

But, what if you’re picky about scented candles? 

If you are finicky about scented candles rather it’s allergies, toxins, or just a classy nose – a.k.a you’re drawn the pricey stuff, than you have even more reason to grasp how to make scented candles! And if the cooler months are on the horizon or have settled in for you, there’s no better time to get started! 

It all comes down to knowing how to make scented candles to suit your needs, wants, and likes! 

If you look at it this way, scented candles are one of life’s little luxuries and help many of us feel calm and comforted. Maybe it’s in our genetic code from lighting fires to keep harm away at night or lighting candles to chase the dark away and extend our days. Either way, you look at it, candlelight has been a mainstay in human history and our lives wouldn’t be the same without it. 

In modern times candle fragrance has become the most defining characteristic of a candle. And if you want to learn how to make scented candles at home it’s essential you start with learning candle fragrance terms and types. 

Related To: Soy Candle Making Guide

Related To: Candle Making Supplies Index

Beginner Candle Making: Candle Fragrance Terms

Cold Throw: 

What is the candle fragrance term cold throw? It describes the amount or strength of fragrance that is emitted from a candle when it is unlit. 

What makes a candle’s cold throw important? If you are giving a candle as a gift or selling candles the first thing anyone does is smell the candle before it’s ever been lit. And if they can’t smell anything or it’s a really weak scent, they are likely going to assume it won’t smell any differently when lit (even if that’s not true). 

Hot Throw: 

What does hot throw mean? This candle fragrance term describes the strength of fragrance that is emitted from a candle when it is burning. 

A hot throw is the part of a candle that is enjoyed the most. Striking a match to light a candle that will fill your home with moody musks, rich spices, or fresh florals can lift your mood and truly transport your senses. So, it’s important to get this candle making step right. 

Sweating: 

What does candle sweating mean? Sweating is characterized by little beads or sometimes pools of fragrance gathering on the top of a container candle or seeping out the sides of a pillar candle. 

There are many reasons candle sweating can occur, but it has a lot to do with the fragrance load. 

Fragrance Load: 

What is a fragrance load? The fragrance load of a candle correlates to the percentage of fragrance used in candle making. It will determine the scent throw of the candle which includes the cold and hot throw. 

How much fragrance should you add to a homemade scented candle? 6% is the most common fragrance load. All though some waxes can hold up to 12%. However, there are several things to keep in mind when you want to make strong scented candles at home. 

  1. Adding too much fragrance to a candle can cause it to self-extinguish or not burn properly. (This happened to me several times when I was learning how to make scented candles.) 
  2. Eyeballing the fragrance load instead of calculating and measuring it correctly can cause candle sweating among other problems. (I am also shamefully guilty of this. Don’t rush your candle making – do the math always!) When all else fails, use a candle fragrance load calculator to get the best ratio for your homemade candles.
  3. Also, read labels to make sure you are adding the fragrance at the correct wax temperature. Standard fragrance oils can typically be added at 185 degrees Fahrenheit whereas natural options should be added at a much cooler temperature. It is imperative this done right so the wax and fragrance and bind together for an optimal scent throw. 
  4. Another key step to candle making is sufficiently stirring the fragrance once it’s added to the melted wax. It should be stirred for a good two minutes! 
  5. After making homemade scented candles they need to cure for a minimum of three days for a good scent throw. A cure time of 1 to 2 weeks is even better for natural waxes. 
Want to learn how to make scented candles at home? It’s essential you start by learning candle fragrance terms and types to get the best scent throw!

Beginner Candle Making: Candle Fragrance Types

Essential Oils:

It’s no surprise essential oils have become incredibly popular for all kinds of things, candle making included. But, do they deserve the hype when it comes to scented candles? Here are the pros and cons of using essential oil for candles. 

Pros: 

  • The biggest pro of making candles with essential oils is that they are 100% natural. Each is made from plant material – who doesn’t love that? 
  • Using natural ingredients is always a good thing! And it’s a highly appealing characteristic for many consumers, including myself. 
  • Pure essential oils are highly fragrant.
  • Essentials oils are also loved for their therapeutic capabilities and are the most common way to experience aromatherapy

Cons: 

  • Unfortunately, despite their strong fragrance, essential oils have the least hot throw compared to other candle fragrance types. This is due to the way essential oils degrade when exposed to high temperatures.
  • When it comes to essential oils you have a limited selection of scents to choose from as they are only derived from specific plants. 
  • I hate to break it to you, but essential oils can be expensive. Considering it takes 100s of pounds of plant material to produce a single pound of oil – it’s gonna cost ya

Standard Fragrance Oils: 

This candle fragrance type is the most common ingredient for scented candles. Often listed as broad terms such as perfume, fragrance, or “parfum” to cover the trade secret of candle makers. 

Pros:

  • They give a great cold and hot scent throw.
  • Practically unlimited choices of fragrance oils are readily available for candle making.
  • A little goes a long way, you don’t need any plant material to make standard fragrance oils as they are basically chemicals combined to mimic natural scents. 
  • Fragrance oils have a higher flash point, meaning they have more wiggle room when melting wax and blending in the fragrance.

Cons:

  • Fragrance oils are likely to contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates and parabens that can cause all types of health issues. They are listed as 2 and 3 on my list of the top five ingredients to avoid
  • Most often standard fragrance oils are not made cruelty free.

Natural Fragrance Oils:

I came across natural fragrance oils years after I began making candles. They are composed of aromatic isolates from nature and essential oils. Similar to the way the French have been making perfume for centuries, extracting scents from nature.  

Pros: 

  • This type of candle fragrance is phthalate and paraben-free.
  • Many can be found cruelty-free as well such as these from the Wooden Wick & CO. 
  • They have an excellent scent throw.  
  • Natural fragrance oils are more cost-effective than using pure essential oils.

Cons:

  • They can be hard to find, unlike standard fragrance oils and essential oils, natural fragrance is hard to come by in the states.
  • There’s not as much information out there about using natural fragrance oils for candle making, so pay close attention to the packaging.  
Candle fragrance has become the most defining characteristic of a candle. And if you want to learn how to make scented candles at home it’s essential you start with learning candle fragrance terms and types.

My Best Advice on How to Make Scented Candles

Steer clear of standard fragrance oil for your health and your families. Use the next best thing – natural fragrance oil. You get nearly all the pros of using essential oils without the cons of standard fragrance oil. 

And if your heart is set on making candles with pure essential oils, add them at a very low temperature and use all the tips above under fragrance load to get the most out of them! For a sophisticated scent, blend them like did to make pumpkin spice essential oil candles instead of using a single oil. 

New to candle making? Get a head start with candle terminology using our Candle Making Glossary Swipe File!

Grab many of my favorite essential oil blends for candle making and a Candle Making Glossary Swipe File in the Simple Living Library

And if you are going the extra mile to make candles with toxins choose a natural candle wax like soy, beeswax, or carefully crafted blend of waxes.  Which wax holds the most scent? Natural candle waxes are actually known to have double the life of the scent. Meaning you’ll enjoy a stronger scented candle and more hours of burn time! 

Ready to make your first homemade scented candle?

Start with this creamy vanilla and coconut sugar natural fragrance. Its aroma is decadent sugared vanilla with a light swirl of creamy coconut. Are you drooling yet?  You can get it separately or in a sample candle fragrance set. Which is a very useful and fun way to choose and create your own scented candles. 

Blend this fragrance into an amazing virgin coconut oil soy wax and enjoy its candlelight from a lead-free cotton wick. Here’s how to make scented candles at home! 

Beginner Candle Making Supplies for Creamy Vanilla Candles:

How to Make Candles at Home Step by Step: 

1. Measure Soy Wax

Use a kitchen scale to measure 20-ounces of soy wax flakes to make 2 candles. Or use this candle tip to find the right amount for your containers. 

2. Melt Soy Wax

To safely melt the wax, pour measured soy wax in a candle melting pitcher. Place the pitcher filled with wax inside a large saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water. Using the double boiler method, heat on medium to low heat with gentle simmer at most. Stir often with a metal whisk or heat resistant silicone spatula.

3. Cool & Scent Soy Wax

Remove the pitcher from the heat immediately, after melting to avoid the wax from becoming too hot or burning. Then clip a candle thermometer inside of the pitcher to monitor. 

Allow the temperature of the wax to cool to between 125°F to 120°F before adding 2 ounces of vanilla oil. Thoroughly incorporate the scent by stirring constantly for 2 minutes. 

4. Pour Soy Scented Wax & Place Wicks

As the wax begins to harden, dip the metal tab of each cotton wick into the wax. Then carefully center and adhere to the bottom of each mug. Hold in place for a few seconds. (After a few minutes the wax will harden and it will have a good hold on the bottom of the container.) 

After, gently pour your vanilla-scented wax into each container. Place an optional centering device over each wick to help keep them in place during the curing process. 

Before trimming each wick allow the candles to cool and the wax to harden 30 minutes to 1 hour. Trim each wick to about ¼ an inch. No matter how tempting, do not light your homemade scented candles until they have cured for at least 3 days. 

You May Also Like: 

DIY Candle Wax Melts

Essential Oil Candle Recipe

Easy Honey Goat Milk Soap

Crackling DIY Wood Wick Candles

Take my word for it, there’s no better time than the chilly nights to enjoy the warmth and decadence of a homemade scented candle. Learn more in my detailed soy candle making guide and find my tried and true candle making supplies in an all-in-one index. 

Pin these candle terms and techniques on how to make scented candles and tag #lifenreflection on Instagram to share your candle making with me. I would love to see what you come up with!

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