Do it yourself

Candles are a favorite room accent for many people. They are used to add ambiance to a room, to provide a fresh or warm scent, or even just as decoration. However, candles can be expensive, and making wax candles like those sold in stores takes a lot of time, energy, and effort.

As long as you’re not worried about how perfect yours is going to be, you can make your very own wax candles. And once you’ve got the hang of it, feel free to experiment with colors, fragrances, and molds to make a unique and fun collection.

Waxes come in a variety of different forms. There are animal waxes, such as beeswax and lanolin, vegetable waxes, such as soy wax, and mineral, petroleum, and synthetic waxes. Wicks also come in many different types. Some burn slower, some have less “sooting” (when soot gets on other objects around the candle or on the glass that the candle is in), and others do not drip wax while lit.

Fortunately, you can pretty much ignore most of this if you are just looking for a simple, no-hassle, imperfect candle.

To make a wick, get a string, approximately 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch thick. Dip the string into a little candle wax and let the wax solidify. When placing the wick in a candle, you may have to hold it upright so that it does not fall to the side while the wax solidifies around the wick.

The traditional method of making wax candles is easy and enjoyable. It involves a pot of liquid wax, a stick, and a string for the wick. The stick should be about nine inches long and should also be sturdy enough to support the weight of the candle on the end of it.

To begin, attach the string to the end of the stick. Then repeatedly dip the string into the pot of liquid wax at intervals of about one minute. When the layer of wax is large enough, you can use the candle as is or use a knife to shave and trim the wax into a different shape.

An even easier way to make wax candles is to take remnant candle wax from old candles and put it into a metal baking tin. It’s probably a good idea to buy a tin specifically for candle making or purchase a disposable aluminum baking tin, as the residual wax will never come out. Place the tin in the oven at 350°F until the wax is completely melted. Take the tin out of the oven and let the wax solidify slightly. Place the wicks into the center of where you intend each candle to be.

Before the wax is completely cooled, cut small squares out of the tin molds with a sharp knife and place each into the center of a candle mold. Candle molds come in various sizes and shapes and can be bought in any place that has an abundance of candle supplies or online, such as Pittsburgh Candle or www.candlesandsupplies.com. Candle molds are made of specific materials that are able to release the wax once it has cooled. After placing wax into the molds, add a little more liquid wax into each until it is full. After the molds are cooled, flip the candles out onto wax paper and enjoy.

To make colored and scented candles, simply add food coloring or perfume to the liquid wax and stir. To make multi-colored candles, start with three containers full of wax, each in a different color. Pour a little of each color in a mold and swirl. Place the wick in the center and let the wax cool before using the candle.

It’s also really cool to put unique items in your candle. Experiment with beads, seashells, glitter, and more. The only problem can be that usually when the candle burns all the way down, whatever you put in it will be left behind.

A quick way to get an interesting lacy pattern in a candle is to use ice. Start with a thin layer of wax at the bottom of a mold with the wick in it. Sprinkle shaved ice over the top of the layer of wax. Put another layer of wax over the top of the ice. Repeat the ice-wax sequence until the mold is full. As the wax cools, the ice will melt, causing intricate patterns and gaps. This is even more exciting if colored wax is used.

Making candles by hand can be thoroughly entertaining and rewarding. It can also be a fantastic opportunity to bond with friends over a hot pot of wax. And remember, why pay money when you can do it yourself?