How to make eco-friendly candles
Making candles at home is a fun activity that’s not too tricky and offers the opportunity to get creative. There are several eco-friendly ways to approach candle-making, whether you’re choosing a sustainable source of wax such as soy or beeswax, melting down old candles for re-use or upcycling old materials into candle holders.
You’ll need to start by picking the containers for your candles. You’ll need one that can withstand high heat and won’t leak or crack. Glass, metal or ceramic work best.
Gather all the tools and materials you need for ease, once the wax is melted you will need to work fast, so having everything to hand will make this job easier.
When you’ve made your choice, make sure it’s clean, dry and not too cold.
Then you’ll need to choose your wax and think about the amount you’ll need for your containers. We’ve picked soy wax, which is becoming an increasingly popular choice for several reasons - it’s easy to use, it’s renewable and even known to burn more slowly than most other waxes.
The good news is there are plenty of eco-friendly options available too, with many choosing to re-use old candle wax. If you do decide to use an old candle, you’ll need to cut it up into small flakes to help it to melt more easily.
Fill a pan up with water, roughly a quarter full. Then put it on your hob at a medium heat.
While you’re waiting for your water to heat up, add your wax flakes to a heatproof bowl.
Once you notice steam starting to rise, place your bowl into the pan.
Stir the wax using a wooden or silicone utensil every minute or so, making sure to break up any larger chunks with the spoon as you go.
During the melting process, you might want to have a cooking thermometer handy. Soy wax will start melting quite quickly, but the optimal temperature is between 76.6 and 82.2-degrees-Celsius. For any old candles it’s around 85-degrees-Celsius, just make sure you remove the old wicks with tongs. Now is also the time to add any suitable candle fragrance oil, or candle dye to give it some colour.
Once the wax has completely melted, it’s time to prepare your containers. Using an adhesive such as glue dots or tabs, stick your wicks down in a central position.
Carefully remove the bowl of melted wax from the pan and pour it into a heatproof measuring jug.
Then, while holding the wick in place, slowly pour the wax from the jug into your containers in a controlled manner.
We suggest using two balanced objects like pencils or lolly sticks to hold the wicks in place as the wax hardens.
Give your wax plenty of time to cool. Once it has set, you can really get creative and decorate them with anything from sprinkles to glitter to coffee beans.
You’ll also need to cut your wicks down to size.
There you have it, your very own eco-friendly candles. You just need to account for the cure time, which varies depending on the type of wax you use. As a general rule of thumb, the cure time for soy way is 10 to 14 days. This means you need to wait that long before you light your candle for the first time.