How to Make Votive Candles (A Guide to Easy Techniques)
Make Your Own Votive Candles Step-by-Step
Candle making is almost a spiritual experience for me. There is something quite therapeutic and relaxing about slowly stirring the melting wax and mixing the fragrant scents together.
Creating votive candles is a great way to introduce yourself to pouring larger pillar candles (which can seem a bit intimidating at first). You can experiment with layering colors and scents just like some of those cool larger pillar candles.
If you are a semi-seasoned candle maker or someone just starting out, I would like to share with you my personal techniques that I have found not only save time but also easily make the perfect votive candle.
Ingredients and Supplies
- 1 medium glass measuring cup
- 1 medium saucepan filled halfway with water
- 1 scale
- 3 ounces white beeswax
- 3 ounces soy wax (for votives and pillars)
- 1/2 ounce scent
- 1 candle dye block (or liquid dye)
- 2 metal votive molds with pins
- 2 medium or #4 wicks (pre-tabbed and wax-dipped)
Beeswax can be expensive, so I've shopped around. I found and I just love it. I blend it with soy wax and it creates the smoothest pillar candles and wax melts. With this brand, I have finally found beeswax that is affordable and performs to my high standards. this beeswax
Step 1: Blend Soy and Beeswax
I have found that blending beeswax with pillar soy wax gives the longest burn and has a great cold and hot scent throw. The usual blend is 25% beeswax to 75% soy wax. I personally like to use 50/50: It adds in extra burn time, because beeswax burns at a hotter temperature than soy wax. Also, using soy wax that is meant to be used for pillar candles allows for a higher scent load and will be easier to release from the mold.
For two votive candles, measure 3 ounces of beeswax and 3 ounces of soy pillar wax and blend together in a glass measuring cup.
Step 2: Create a Double Boiler
Heat the saucepan half-filled with water on medium-high. Place the measuring cup with the wax blend inside of it into the preheating saucepan of water. This will create your double boiler. Heat to desired wax temperature.
Step 3: Add Candle Dye
The amount of dye that you use will depend on the deepness of the color that you are going for. I like to use the candle dye blocks—I find that it is less messy than liquid dye and easier to control—but you can use liquid dye if you like.
- If you are using the blocks, cut off small amounts and sprinkle them into the wax while it's in the melting process. Stir until the wax is fully melted.
- If you are using liquid dye, put in small amounts using the dropper, being careful not drop too much at one time. Stir until the wax is fully melted.
Check the color by dropping a small amount of wax onto wax paper or a folded paper towel. If the color is too faint when the droplet of wax cools, then you can add small amounts of dye, testing the color each time until you get the color that you desire.
Step 4: Watch the Wax Temperature
Heat the dyed wax to 170 degrees while stirring often. Do not stir too swiftly or it could damage the wax. Do not let the wax get hotter than what is suggested on the wax that you are using (usually around 200 degrees).
Note: I have found that 170 to 180 degrees is the maximum temperature that should be used. Anything over that temperature can burn the wax.
Step 5: Prep the Molds
While your wax is heating up, get your votive molds ready. If they are new molds, it's a good idea to lightly spray your molds with cooking spray or mold release. Use a paper towel to wipe off any excess spray inside the mold. Place the pins inside of the mold.
When you're using new metal molds, the first release can be tricky—but the more that you use them, the easier the release. It is a good idea to spray your molds for 2 to 3 uses for an easier release. The metal molds will become seasoned after a few uses and won't need to be sprayed every time.
Step 6: Add the Scent
- While the wax is cooling, measure out the amount of scent that you are going to add (see below for tips).
- Let the wax cool to 145 degrees and then add the scent. If you add scent to wax that is too hot, it will burn off some of the scent, giving it a weaker cold scent throw.
- Stir gently and thoroughly. Some scents are heavier than others, so it is important to not let it settle at the bottom.
How to Measure and Blend Your Scents
If you're blending scents together, divide your desired scent load by the amount of the number of scents that you are blending. For example: 8% scent load x 6 ounces of wax = .48 ounce of scent.
So, if you're blending two scents together, you need to measure .24 ounce each. It can be easier to measure if you round up to .50 ounce. That will give you a .02 of an ounce wiggle room in case you measure too much of one.
Allowing a little excess will not overload your scent if you start at 8%. It is usually alright to load anywhere from 6% to 10%. The information on the wax that you use will tell you the maximum fragrance load.
Step 7: Pour the Wax
Once the wax has cooled to approximately 125–130 degrees, it's time to pour!
- Pour the wax slowly into the votive molds to the top without overflowing.
- Stir the wax a little before you pour the next mold. This will help make sure that the scent is mixed well.
- Save the leftover wax for later. You will be using it to pour on top of the candles because you'll need to fill any air holes—and also because the wax will have shrunk a little while cooling.
- Let the poured candles cool for about 10 minutes, and start to reheat the leftover wax just enough to have it become liquid again.
- Slowly pour a little more onto the top of each candle.
Tip: If you still have any leftover wax, pour it into something you can store it in (to use for another candle later) or into a wax melt mold that you can use in your warmer.
Step 8: Let Sit, and Then Release
Let the candles sit undisturbed for at least 8 hours before trying to release them from the mold. The longer the candle sits, the easier it can be to get it to release. The candle should release by simply turning it upside down and lightly tapping on the bottom.
What If a Candle Won't Release From the Mold?
If you are having trouble getting it to release after the candle has set for more than 12 hours, put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes and try again. Repeat until it releases.
Note: Be careful not to let it stay in the freezer for more than 5 to 6 minutes at a time, as this could cause the wax to crack!
Step 9: Wick the Candle
Pull out the pins and push the candle wick through the hole. Lightly press on the metal part of the wick to secure the wick from falling out. Pre-tabbed wicks are the easiest wicks to use; however, you can also buy rolls of wicks and add the tab yourself. I like to use all-cotton, wax-dipped and tabbed wicks for my votive candles because I find it more convenient.
Trim your wick so that it is about 1/8 of an inch, and it is ready to burn!