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 whether making a candle in it is safe. 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 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 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. 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.
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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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.
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.
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.
#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.
#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.
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