If you’re new to candle making, the first thing you learn, apart from the fact that it’s really fun, is that it can be expensive. For one thing, it’s a bit addictive to take wax and wick and produce a real, live candle. The more you make, the more candle stuff you need. Candle molds, for poured candles, are one of the higher-priced items. So, before you dash to the craft store, go to your recycling bin to get your candle making supplies. You can make your own candle molds with upcycled materials and a hot glue gun.
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Candle Making Supplies
There are certainly other ways you can make your own candle supplies, though they’re not quite as straight forward as upcycling candle molds. There are methods to spin and ply your own candle wicking, for example. If you keep bees, you can also get a decent supply of beeswax built up to use for candle making. Extracting and cleaning beeswax is certainly an investment in time, though. To begin some place a little simpler with crafting your own candle making supplies, may I suggest you savvy shoppers start with the humble candle mold?
Make your own molds
Here are some ideas for upcycled candle molds:
- The most obvious – Glass jars previously used to house candles. You know you have some in your house somewhere! Those glass, lidded jars, with the embarrassed remnant of some seasonal candle still stuck in the bottom? You never did throw it out because, and rightly so, you thought it had to be useful for something. Dig out the wax ,and wash as much of the previous sticker off as you can (if it had one). Put the jar onto a jelly roll pan, and put it in the oven. Set the oven temp as low as it will go. Watch the wax in the mold until melts. As soon as it’s melted enough, pour out the wax into a foil lined container to add to your candle wax stash. (Doesn’t everyone have one of those?) With a paper towel in one hand and a hot mitt on the other, carefully wipe the warm wax out of the container until it’s gone. If the wax starts to harden, just put it back in the oven for a minute. Voila, brand new jar to use for a poured candle! To learn to make new candles from old candles, visit this link from Tenth Acre Farm. If you have tea cups to upcycle into candles, here’s the perfect post for you from Untrained Housewife.
- The easiest – An orange juice bottle, or a milk carton. Any paper carton will do, but the individual serving size cartons are probably the best. This is especially true if you’re making candles with kids, and don’t want to spend a small fortune in wax to make larger candles. However, if you decide to go large and use something like a half gallon-size milk carton (big candle!), just make sure you use enough wick to keep it burning. To learn a little bit more about what wick to use, and what effects wick use, just visit this link. To learn more about making your own candle mold from a plastic container, please visit this link. FYI, those flimsy plastic water bottles aren’t thick enough to deal with the hot wax so don’t bother using them. You also don’t want anything too ribbed, or you’ll never get your candle out of the mold.
- The most fun – Cardboard in many shapes and sizes. The first mold you try to make with cardboard should be a toilet paper tube, with a hot-glued, flat cardboard bottom (see the photo below). After you’ve tried some of those, you can make nearly any shape you want out of cardboard. Remember to close up all the open seams with hot glue and dry them thoroughly, or you’ll have hot wax leaking out. You can also try using a piece of thick clay to close up a small seam or hole. But for larger seams, you really need hot glue. Keep your first cardboard molds simple (like a rectangle), so that you can practice a few times before you get more intricate (like a hexagon). If you want to use paper egg cartons, you’ll end up with nice, little mini-candles that will float in water (you can leave the carton paper on, or rip it off). Whichever shape you choose, be sure to dangle the wick from the top, secured to a nail or stick at the top of the mold. If the wick is forgotten, the candle can’t burn! Once your candles are completely cooled (at least overnight), you can simply peel back the cardboard and burn it in your outdoor (only) fire pit. You can also compost the cardboard.
Making candles, as well as making your own candle making supplies, are fun activities to do with children, so be sure to include them, if you keep them on staff. To learn more about teaching candle making to kids, please visit this link from our Farm Sprouts editorial blog over at Hobby Farms. Here’s how to make crushed ice candles from Simple Life Mom. Joybilee Farms teaches us how to make the perfect taper candles, for which you won’t need a mold. Here are some simple melt and pour soy candles from Mama Kautz and some tallow candles from Homesteading Hippy. If you have a little leftover wax, use it to seal these homemade envelopes that you wrote on with homemade ink, courtesy of Little House on the Prairie®.
To aid you in your candle making adventures, you may need these fine products: