How to Make Candles with Household Items
What can you use for candle molds? Baking dishes and kitchen bowls, cartons and cardboard boxes, all produce fine candle shapes, each with its own distinctive glossy, matte, or textured finish.
Most metal, heat-proof glass or sturdy plastic items, hollow on the inside, shaped straight-up-or-down, or with the lip wider than the base, make great diy candle forms.
Any aspiring candle makers in your family? Kids and adults alike can learn the ways of the wax and the wicks, using these alternative forms for molding. Excellent for children's candle making, and beginners of any age. (A productive way for you and the kids to spend time together at home, too).
Have a look at the slideshow pictures below, and find unusual ideas for improvised candle molds:
Disposable Plastic ContainersIdeal pouring temperature: 82°C (180°F).
Mold releasability: Not the best. Rub the inside of the mould with a bit of cooking oil, before pouring the wax. The candle will come out more easily. You can mould a candle in a shampoo or Coke bottle, e.g., and simply slice the plastic off afterwards.
Yoghurt, cottage cheese, margarine and cream containers produce candles with a smooth finish. Great for moulding one-colour, and striped candles. Also for special techniques, such as frosting, and marbling. Try your chunky candles in the larger containers.
The brittle plastics of vegetable oil and Cola bottles, etc., withstand hot waxes, but tend to buckle, and lose their shape. So, a water-bath is recommended.
Cool Drink and Milk CartonsIdeal pouring temperature: 82-88°C (180-190°F).
Mold releasability: Not a problem, as the mould is used once only, and torn off the set candle.
Milk, cold drink, and buttermilk cartons produce a seam line, and not perfectly even sides. These irregularities add a charmingly handmade, not-perfectly-finished, look, to your candles.
Use bigger cartons for making candles with ice cubes, and candles with colorful chunks...smaller ones for single-color candles. A great opportunity for remelting - and using up - old candles.
Metal Mousse MoldsIdeal pouring temperature: 93°C (199°F).
Mold releasability: Excellent. Place the set candle in the fridge for up to an hour, depending on the mold size. The candle should come out easily.
Handy for small or floating candles.
Warm the metal container up first, by floating it in a bowl of warm water. Pour the wax, and place the mold in a dish with cold water. This gives your candle a better, glossier appearance.
When the candle is partially set, but still warm, make a hole and put a primed wick in. Fill the candle up again, if a hollow forms.
Heat Safe GlasswareIdeal pouring temperature: 82°C (180°F).
Mold releasability: Good. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes when cool. The candle should come out easily.
Can I make candles in any glass jars? No, definitely not, they have to be heat-resistant. The usual kitchen things, tea cups, mugs, dessert dishes, pudding bowls, baking dishes, fruit preserving jars, are all conveniently heat safe - great makeshift candle molds for your own creations.
Cup shapes make fine wax shells. Pour multi-wick candles in wider, shallower dishes.
Warm the glass up first, by placing it in a bigger bowl with warm water for a minute. Remove from the water. Pour the wax. This gives a super-glossy finish, especially if the candle cools down in a water-bath.
Pouring 65°C, (149°F), wax into a room-temperature glass produces a textured, not-at-all-unattractive, finish.
To wick up a flat dish: pour the wax, wait until it sets partially, but is still warm. Make a hole. Insert a primed wick.
To wick up a tall glass or mug: attach a primed wick in a wick sustainer to the bottom of the glass. Or hang a wick attached to a wicking needle or skewer over the mold.
Tupperware and Ice Cream Containers:Ideal pouring temperature: 82°C (180°F).
Mold releasability: Fair, but rubbing the inside of the mold with a bit of cooking oil won't hurt.
This type of tough plastic doesn't pierce easily. Rather secure a primed wick - attached to a wick sustainer - to the bottom, or hang a primed wick attached to a wicking needle or skewer over the mold. These candles can also be scented.
Food Tins and Metal Baking MoldsIdeal pouring temperature: 93°C (199°F).
Mold releasability: Excellent, as far as wax separation is concerned. Cut the aluminium tin cans off afterwards - with tough metal cutters - as the ridges around their rims make it difficult to pull the candles out. These are best as container candles. Your candles will easily spring from wider-lipped tin baking moulds, with a bit of help from fridge cooling.
TinfoilIdeal pouring temperature: 93°C (199°F).
Mold releasability: Not a problem, as the foil is peeled off afterwards.
Full instructions for making a freeform candle in a foil mould.
Don't feel like fiddling with fragile pieces of tin foil? Alternate with firm foil tart and pie plates instead. These have stupendous mould release capabilities, and easily separate from the cold, set candles. On warm days, help the cooling process along with a few minutes in the fridge.
Cardboard Boxes and TubesIdeal pouring temperature: 88°C (190°F).
Mold releasability: this mold will be used once only - you'll tear the cardboard off the cold, set candle.
You can make candles with interesting textures in any cereal, or food container box. Make the wick holes in the bottom of the box (forming the top of your candle), or hang the wick/s over the mould's opening.
Use cardboard cylinders, eg. paper towel rolls, to make narrow pillar candles. Stick these cylindrical tubes onto plastic lids, and keep them in place, and leak-free, with a ring of Presstik.
Use any of the above-mentioned household things as subsitutes for moulds - it's a great way to learn candle making at home, whatever your age, or level of expertise.
Press the Home key to return to Page Top
More Candle Centerpiece Crafts