Safe Candle Containers for Candle Making: What Avoid and What to Use
How to make candles in safe candle containers – make sure you don’t use these containers for candle making!
Container candles are one of the best ways to start candle making. Why? Because it’s pretty straightforward when it comes to how to make container candles. Some start by buying the prettiest jars and pots they can find. In contrast, others look to repurpose things such as candles in mason jars, coffee mugs, tins, teacups, or yogurt jars. Seasoned candle makers, like myself, make candles from a combination of both in addition to candle molds.
But, it might surprise you, how many containers are not safe for candle making.
Using the wrong container for candles can result in explosions or fire. So, it’s important you know what is safe to use to make a container candle.
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How do you know if a container is safe for candle making?
Choosing a candle container at first might be based on your personal style or home decor. But, it ultimately comes down to if it is safe to make a candle in. Here’s where to start when it comes to candle safety.
It might go without saying, but any container that could easily tip over should be avoided. For example, something with an uneven surface on the bottom, such as a hand-thrown pottery bowl, might not be a good idea. Or top-heavy objects, like a wine glass that could get tipped over. (Who hasn’t seen a wine glass slip this way?)
Another thing to consider about stability is the surface you place the candle on to burn. Is it stable? This is #5 on my candle care list!
Shape and Diameter
I don’t hear this candle-making tip talked about much, but it solves the most common candle container problem. Giving good reason to examine the shape and diameter of a candle container.
Let me explain,
Picture a vase with a full bottom and a narrow opening on the top. This shape is great for flower arranging, but the diameter on the top is much too small to wick and burn a candle properly.
If a container has a narrower top than the bottom, it doesn’t work well for candle making. Why? Because as candles burn, they form a circular melting pool in the wax. As the wax burns down, it goes deeper into the candle.
A diameter that is too small compared to the bottom of the container will be exposed to more heat than is safe. You’ll not only have candle tunneling you’ll also risk the candle cracking.
And if you have a container with a much wider opening than the bottom, you may need multiple wicks. When you look at a candle wick size chart, you’ll notice that even the largest wicks can only adequately be used for up to a 5-inch diameter candle.
Use one of our many printable candle wick size charts in the Simple Living Library to select your wick type and size for just about any container size you choose.
I think the popularity of dough bowl candles might have some mislead when choosing a fire-safe candle container. Basically, anything that can catch fire with ease is not safe. Basically, the candle could burst into flames, or the container could soak up the wax and become a giant wick, creating an enormous flame.
But, I’m sure you’ve seen candles made in walnut shells, terra cotta pots, and wood bowls. I’ve made some myself.
The difference is sealant! When you apply a 100% waterproof sealant to a wood bowl, terra cotta pot, or any porous container, it becomes safe to use.
I recommend applying two heavy coats of sealant with drying time in between layers. This type of Mod-Podge works well too. But, keep in mind no amount of sealant can make things like plastic safe as a container for candles.
You may be thinking sealant will have you covered when it comes to leaky containers too, but I wouldn’t risk it. Depending on the size and speed of the leak, you could have a hot mess in front of you! Coming from someone who has cleaned up spilled candle wax before, it’s no fun.
So, to avoid this candle issue, fill your intended container for candle making with water and see if it leaks. You can go as far as to leave it full for a few days to check for slow leaks.
This candle safety tip is not one to break! Ha, Ha!
When a candle container cracks, hot wax will begin to leak. And we already know what a safety issue and mess that can be. But, if a crack causes a candle container to shatter and explode, you could have a flaming wick with no container. And that means house fire.
This is a biggie. So, how do you know if a container won’t crack?
It all comes down to heat resistance.
Most things are not made to handle the heat created by melting candle wax. Choose heat-resistant containers such as oven-safe ceramics and glassware, cast iron, enamel camping mugs, and pressure canning jars. Make sure only to buy containers designed and labeled as safe for candle making.
No matter how you look at it, a burning candle should never be left unattended. And we should always do our part to prevent these issues from happening by selecting appropriate candle containers and the right wick size.
Now, for the fun part – choosing beautiful safe candle containers for all your candle making ideas!!
The BEST Safe Candle Containers
We’ve learned not all things can be used safely as candle containers. So, what type of containers are safe for making candles? There are a select few types of the best containers for candles. But, each type offers endless styles. Here’s a look at each type:
#1 Metal Candle Containers
If you plan to add a label to your candles, choose metal candle containers that come in beautiful colors, like matte black, rose gold, or bold teal. You can even find Christmas tins for candle making. (These little white candle tins are calling my name!) Each is easy to label on the top, bottom, or side.
Candlemakers appreciate that, unlike glass containers, you can’t see the wax, which makes metal containers for candles a good option for beginner candle makers. They’ll hide imperfections such as candle frosting and uneven pours. Follow these instructions on how to make a container candle in a tin.
You’ll also value the use of candle tins as they will help keep your candle scent stronger when stored with a lid on. This tip is #8 on our candle care list. So if you were wondering, are tins good for candles? Oh yeah!
#2 Glass Candle Containers
Glass container candles are certainly popular, but some glass containers are not safe. To make candles in a glass, it needs to be thick, smooth, and able to bear high heat.
Is it safe to make candles in mason jars? Absolutely, mason jars are safe candle containers. Designed for pressure canning, they can withstand up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. They are nonporous, smooth, and thick enough to avoid cracking.
In fact, any glass jar that holds these similarities could be a good candidate for candle making. As for other types of glass, avoid drinking glasses, glass vases, and various decorative glass containers.
What about wine glasses? Can you make a candle in a wine glass? No, wine glasses are not stable and prone to cracking.
With that said, there are many beautiful glass containers manufactured for candles, such as these colored glass containers with bamboo lids, these high temperature resistant amber glass jars (see my tutorial for making coffee bean candles in amber glass jars here), and these mercury glass jars I made candles in for an upcoming candle workshop.
#3 Ceramic Candle Containers
Ceramics are definitely one of my favorite types of containers for candle making. See my tutorials for pumpkin spice candles, blue spruce candles, candy apple triple wick candles, coffee cake candles, and pumpkin pie double wick candles; all are made in ceramic containers. Can you tell I love making candles in autumn?
Ceramics are awesome for making candles in! They are long-lasting, heat resistant, and sealed. Basically, if a ceramic container is marked microwave and dishware safe, you’re good to go!
If you are restoring a vintage ceramic container or mug, make sure it doesn’t have any cracks and is in good condition. And if you find a ceramic container you love that isn’t sealed – apply two coats of this to make it candle safe.
Check out these gorgeous gray marble ceramic bowls, colorful ceramic dessert bowls, geometric ramekins, vintage style ceramic campfire mugs, oh, and these adorable ramekins for creme brulee souffle or sushi dipping bowls perfect for a multi-wick candle. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these options!
And when you’ve finished your homemade candle reuse the container for another or plant a succulent it.
#4 Concrete Candle Containers
Concrete has become super popular in recent years. It has a unique industrial vibe and definitely checks off sturdy and leak-proof as a candle container. But is concrete safe for candles? Yes, it is known to be the most resistant to heat and fire out of all construction materials. And therefore makes quite reliable safe candle containers.
This collection of concrete candle containers from Wood Wick Co is one of my favorites, and these hexagon concrete vessels are fascinating. And if you thought concrete was boring gray, this series of concrete containers for candles will prove you wrong.
You can also make your own concrete candle containers, check out this tutorial from Amanda.
#5 Enamel Candle Containers
Enamel is another fail-proof candle container. They are made strong to resist high heat and cracking. You’ll have a hard time finding an enamel container that leaks or isn’t sturdy. They are, without a doubt, one of the best containers for candles.
We’ve got a lot to choose from when it comes to how to make a container candle! With these five types of safe candle containers, you can find one to fit any style.
Compare your candle container ideas to the list above to look for thick, smooth, sturdy, leak-proof, and heat-resistant characteristics. And don’t forget to choose the correct candle wick size too with our printable charts.
Keep this guide handy the next time you are wondering if a container is safe for candle-making! Pin these 5 safe candle container types now! Tag #lifenreflection on Instagram to share your candle making with me.