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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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Avoid these containers for candle making. And learn how to make candles in safe candle containers instead with these tips.

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 whether making a candle in it is safe. Here’s where to start when it comes to candle safety. 

Stability 

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 discussed 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 excellent 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, you ask? 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 but 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 our printable candle wick charts from the Resource Library to cross reference the size of each candle wick you intend to use.

FREE PRINTABLE

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.

Fireproof

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. A 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 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. 

Leaking

You may think sealant will also have you covered when it comes to leaky containers, 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!

It’s no fun coming from someone who has cleaned up spilled candle wax before.

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. 

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Cracking

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 a 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.

We should ALWAYS do our part to prevent these issues from happening by never leaving a burning candle unattended and selecting appropriate candle containers with the correct wick size. 

Keep this guide handy the next time you are wondering if a container is safe for candle-making! Here’s what to avoid and what to use for DIY candles.

The BEST Safe Candle Containers 

Now, for the fun part – choosing beautiful, safe candle containers for all our candle making ideas!! 

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.

Happily, each type offers endless styles! Browse through each of these candle container types now.

#1 Metal Candle Containers 

Candle tins are a great choice for candle-making. You can choose a sleek design like these gunmetal candle vessels or an exotic look such as those similar to high-end candles. 

If you plan to add a label to your candles, choose metal candle containers that come in beautiful colors, like bold teal, navy, and sage, or opt for matte black and white.

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 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 undoubtedly 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 non-porous, 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 square glass jars with bamboo lids. As well as these high-temperature resistant amber glass jars I used in my tutorial for coffee bean candles.

Perhaps what I love most about glass container candles is the ability to showcase pressed flowers or crystals. See how I made pressed flower candles and fall leaf candles with this technique!

#3 Ceramic Candle Containers 

Ceramics are definitely one of my favorite types of containers for candle making. See my tutorials for milk and honey candles, forest bowl candles, candy apple triple wick candles, and coffee cake 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 repurposing 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. 

Think outside the box with these geometric ramekins and vintage-style ceramic campfire mugs. Oh, and these adorable ramekins for creme brulee souffle or sushi dipping bowls are 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 in it. 

#4 Concrete Candle Containers 

Concrete has become super popular in recent years. It has a unique industrial vibe and definitely checks off as 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. 

If you thought concrete was boring gray, this series of concrete containers for candles will prove you wrong. Concrete meets elegance with these vessels!

You can also make your own concrete candle containers; check out this tutorial from Amanda. This concrete candle mold is fascinating!

#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.

Make an enamel mug candle or make a multi-wick candle in a farmhouse-style enamel soup dish or a serving bowl.  

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. 

We’ve got a lot to choose from when it comes to how to make a container candle! But, make sure you don’t use these containers for candle making!
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42 Comments

  1. Are coconut shell bowls safe for soy candles??

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Cecile, from what I understand no they are not. Coconut shells are porous and easy to ignite.

  2. Patty Vandyke says:

    Is a Brass container safe to pour a candle into?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Absolutely, just make sure it doesn’t leak by filling it with water first to test.

  3. Is a plaster of Paris container safe to put a candle in? Thank you!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Great question! I’m thinking it may be prone to cracking under heat. You could test it by placing a tea light candle inside. Then watch it burn for an hour to see how it handles heat.

  4. Martha Crane says:

    Can you use yogurt jars for candle making?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes, the glass ones make great containers for candles. I’ve used them many times!

  5. Can you use terracotta pots for candle making?. I’m also using soy for my candle making.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes, Eric, you can. I have used them several times. You’ll just want to seal them first to be sure they won’t leak. I shared how to easily do that here.

  6. Hi. Are vintage depression glass bowls usable to make candles?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Denise, I haven’t tested one. But, they are made of thick glass and stand the test of time. They do not easily crack or shatter. So, with those considerations, I would definitely give it ago!

  7. Is stainless steel safe to use as candle containers?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes, metal containers, like stainless steel, can be used for candle making.

  8. Can you use vintage tea cups to make candles in?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes, they are made to hold boiling water for hot tea. Just be sure to check your vintage tea cups for any cracks first.

  9. Sherronda says:

    Is cigar boxes safe to put candle in?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      I wouldn’t think so. But they are made of wood and you sealed the inside of the box you could test one.

  10. Laura York says:

    Can you use porcelain containers ?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      If you check well for cracks and it’s thick porcelain, I would think that could work for a candle container.

  11. Scooter Humphrey says:

    Are wine glasses a good glass to use as candles containers?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      No, absolutely not. They are typically made of thin glass and are prone to cracking.

  12. Hi there, I would like to know if concrete candle vessels weigh a lot to ship outside?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes, concrete vessels do weigh a lot! I imagine they would cost a lot to ship.

  13. Stephanie says:

    My craft group wants to make a dough bowl candle. How do we choose wood and what sealant do you suggest? Thanks for the help

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Stephanie, what a fun idea! You can find lots of options for dough bowls on Etsy. I would send a message to an Etsy seller asking if they have a group/bulk discount. I shared the exact sealant and steps to sealing in this article.

  14. Hi there! I was wondering if soda aluminium cans like pepsi cans are safe containers to use as candle containers?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      I would be weary of a soda can because it is so easy to crush in your hand. I wouldn’t want the candle wax to gush out of a soda can if someone grabbed it too strongly.

  15. Michelle Stevenson says:

    Hi there. Can I use a wiskey tumbler glass for soy wax. I see them all over but not sure if it will crack. Thank you.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Michelle if it’s a thick walled glass like most whiskey tumblers you can try it.

  16. Can i use plastic containers for scented candles??

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Never use plastic containers for the candles they are too likely to melt when the candle is lit. Additionally, some essential oils and fragrance oils will break down the plastic overtime, without heat.

  17. Debra Moore says:

    I would like to know if I can safely burn a candle in a tin that has been painted on the inside and I used air dry clay on the outside when that dried I painted it and sealed it with epoxy resin. Will it be safe to burn a candle in ?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Debra, I would avoid burning a candle in a container that has paint on the inside. The paint will have toxins in it, for one and will likely effect the candle wax poorly when heated.

  18. Would I be able to make candles in glass tea light holders?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Yes, Felicity, I’ve made them in glass tea light holders. They are already made to withstand the heat of candles.

  19. Hi, I was looking to repurpose applesauce jars. Do you think these could work for candles? They are glass. My only concern is that they are more narrow at the top compared to the bottom. I’ve included a link for visual. Thanks for your help and info!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      They do look like thick glass Katie, but you are right to concerned about the narrow opening. It will cause tunneling in the candle. You might consider repurposing the jars for your pantry to hold flour, sugar, or rice. You could easily add big label to the front.

  20. Hi. I was wondering if an empty Starbucks Frappuccino bottle would be ok to use?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Great question Leanne! The glass is likely strong enough, but you will have a funnel and smoke around the sides of the bottle as it burns down, because the bottle opening is too narrow. If you have some of the bottles, why not use to fill with a coffee scrub or milk bath? You can find recipes for both under the bath and beauty tab!

  21. I have a ceramic planter that I want to use as a candle container. The ceramic planter is thin. How can I make the ceramic planter thicker enough to withstand the heat of the candle?

    1. lifenreflection says:

      I’m not a ceramic artist, so I wouldn’t know to make it thicker. If the ceramic was manufactured it like is heat-safe if it’s as thick as ceramic mug.

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