Homemade Christmas Candles

Christmas candle image by Aidan-Sally/Flickr.com

Overview

Homemade candles can brighten your home during the holidays or be given away as gifts. Christmas-candle crafts are suitable for all ages and abilities, so this can be a project for the whole family. The tools and ingredients you will need can easily be found at a craft store or online. Buy them separately or as a kit.

Materials

A container candle is one of the easiest candles to make and a good place to start for beginners. Most fireproof glass or metal containers can be used to make container candles. Mason jars, tin cans, small bowls and glass votive cups are a few containers you may already have on hand at home. Blended paraffin wax is a good choice for container candles. You may prefer a natural wax such as soy wax or beeswax, but keep in mind that paraffin wax tends to hold fragrance better. Beeswax sheets make a good heat-free candle-making alternative for younger crafters (see section 5). There are different wick styles for every type of candle, so choose a wick appropriate to the size of the candle you are making. For optimal burn in solid-colored, scented container candles, use cotton-core waxed wick. Choose colors and scents appropriate to the holiday--classic shades of red and green, and warm scents such as cinnamon, spruce and vanilla. The tools you will need to have at home are a double boiler, wooden spoon, stirring stick (like a chopstick), cooking thermometer, ruler, scissors, pliers, gloves, newspaper, paper towels, wax remover and aluminum foil.

Setting Up

Lay newspaper down all over your work area. Keep paper towels and wax remover handy. Wrap the stove burner in tin foil for easy clean up of any wax spills. Once you have laid out all of your materials, tab your wick. When you purchase a wick, it should come with a wick clip that will eventually serve as its "anchor" at the bottom of the candle. First, cut the wick to the height of the candle plus two inches. Next, thread the wick through the wick clip. The flat end of the wick clip is the bottom and the side with the small metal tube is the top. Clamp the metal tube around the wick using pliers.

Making a Container Candle

Fill the bottom of the double boiler (the large saucepan) with two inches of water and turn the stove to high heat. Now is a good time to put on gloves for safe handling of hot materials. Break up your wax into small pieces and place it into the top of the double boiler. Use the cooking thermometer to test the temperature of the wax, which should reach approximately 190 degrees. Once it has all melted, add the dye, letting it dissolve entirely. Add fragrance last, because its potency can be reduced if left over the heat too long. Keep the wax temperature as consistent as possible while making these additions. Finally, pour wax into the candle container, and place the wick in the wax. Use a stir stick to center the wick. As the candle cools, the wax will shrink, pulling the wick off center, so you will need to periodically pull the wick back to center. A shrinkage hole will appear around the wick, which you will cover with a second pouring by reheating the leftover wax to 190 degrees and filling the hole. Let the candle cool completely. Trim the wick to 1/4 inch above the wax before burning.

Adding Decoration

Decorate the candle container with Christmas stickers, ribbon or glitter. Make sure to keep decorations clear from the wick and top part of the candle container.

Christmas Candle Crafts for Kids

For small children, rolling beeswax candles is a heat-free alternative. Beeswax sheets can be purchased in a variety of colors and cut into all shapes and sizes. You may need to warm the beeswax in a sunny window or with a hair dryer to make it pliable for rolling. Once rolled up around a wick, you have made a candle! Beeswax candles will not drip and have the delicious scent of natural honey when lit.

Keywords: christmas candle, candle craft, homemade christmas gift

About this Author

Lynn Holmgren is a freelance writer based in York, Penn. She has published articles about writing, international exchange, travel and outdoor recreation in ShowcasePA! magazine and Bootsnall.com. Homgren also enjoys writing and reviewing short stories on her blog Long Story Short.

Photo by: Aidan-Sally/Flickr.com