Published on May 27, 2020

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Photography by Katie Hatch

We found your next weekend project: Each month, Domino columnist (and crafting pro) Katie Hatch shares the how-to for a beginner-friendly decor DIY that you can master by Monday morning.

I started making candles a few years ago when I caught a bug to make my own scents. Candles are a perfect vehicle for testing and learning about fragrance. Plus they’re simple to make and low risk (except for the fire part), because the ingredients are pretty inexpensive and meant to be burned up! My biggest piece of advice? Don’t sweat it. Forgive yourself if something goes wrong—it’s only temporary.

The fundamentals are as follows: Melt the wax in the microwave and pour into the vessels of your choice. There are a few details to be concerned with, but that’s the gist of it. In terms of time, you’ll need about an hour. 

These candles were made in a mix of old glassware, but in the past I’ve used ceramic shot glasses, eggcups, teacups, mini planters, and small bowls. I don’t like to buy something new to make a candle with; there are plenty of things around the house that deserve a second chance. I’ve avoided using tin cans because I don’t relish how much they conduct heat, but that’s a personal opinion. 

It’s a very easy craft that helps set a peaceful mood in any part of the house. Once the candles have burned down, just put the vessels in the freezer to help release any wax residue, wash, and repeat.

colorful candles in glass jarsPin It
Photography by Katie Hatch

DIY Colored Candles

Note about amounts: I’m loose with my measurements, but the general formula for how much wax you need is: Number of total vessels (I used 7) x average ounce size of each one (mine were 5 ounces each) = 35 ounces total. Soy wax flakes are sold by the pound, where one pound is equal to 20 ounces melted, so adjust accordingly.

The Supplies

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Photography by Katie Hatch
mismatch glass jarsPin It
Photography by Katie Hatch

Step 1: Prep Your Vessels

Wash and clean the containers, but before drying, measure their capacity for liquid: Fill each one with water up to where you want the wax, pour that into a measuring cup, and jot down the amount. I suggest overestimating a little because the heat will shrink the wax. 

Step 2: Melt the Wax

Pop it into the microwave to melt, following the directions on the soy wax packet for timing. Then according to what kind of coloring you’re using—mine came in solid blocks—stir that into the wax. 

colorful candles in glass jars wicks restingPin It
Photography by Katie Hatch

Step 3: Set Up the Wicks

Dip the metal bottom of each wick into the melted wax and affix to the base of each glass; wait a bit for them to harden. 

Step 4: Pour in the Wax

The ideal pouring temperature is 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re using a cooking thermometer. If not, use touch: If you can hold the handle of the measuring cup and it’s just warm, you’re good to go. Pour the wax into each vessel slowly, leaving room at the top. If it’s too hot, you’ll get a little dip. But no worries, you can fill that in later. Simply wait for it to fully cool and pour in a little extra. 

Step 5: Wait a While

All that’s left is the cooling process! It depends on the size of your containers, but they should be fully hardened within a couple of hours. 

As told to Elly Leavitt.

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