If you love candles, then you know they can be a bit of a splurge. For some high-end brands, a single candle can easily cost as much as $50! But candles don’t have to be expensive if you make them at home there are more benefits to making your candles at home than just being more affordable
Here are seven reasons why you should start making your own candles instead of buying them:
- It’s a great way to save money.
- You can choose your scents.
- Customize your colors.
- You can pick your containers.
- You’re in control of the ingredients.
- Candlemaking is therapeutic.
- DIY candles make great gifts!
If you’re at the crossroads of whether you should invest in another overpriced candle or try making your own, then keep reading. You’ll find seven compelling reasons to take up candlemaking, and two ways to get started today. Let’s get started then, shall we?
1. MAKING CANDLES YOURSELF WILL SAVE YOU MONEY
Although it might seem impossible to do, or you don’t know where to start, making candles is actually quite simple and fun, and the New Hobby Box guide to candlemaking makes it even easier to navigate.
But one barrier is that people think candlemaking could be too expensive of a hobby to get into, or that the cost savings of making a candle vs. buying one at a store aren’t all that different.
But as you may or may not know, scented candles are big business. Among the top 5 scented candle manufacturers in the US, they earned over $1.4 billion in 2021. That’s a lot of wax!
If people are spending that much on candles in a year, surely it’s more cost-effective to do so than to make a candle yourself, right?
Is It Cheaper to Make Your Own Candles?
It’s significantly less expensive to make scented candles versus buying them in-store. For example, a 22oz candle from Yankee Candle costs roughly $30; if you spent $30 on supplies for a DIY Yankee Candle, you could make roughly 77oz of candle, meaning each 22oz candle would cost you $8.57.
You can make a candle for just a few dollars too – I used premium ingredients in getting to my $8.57 number, like organic soy wax, hemp wicks, all-natural dyes, etc.
Like anything you buy in the store, you’re paying for a brand, transportation, markups for retailers, etc. Buying ingredients directly and making a candle yourself will always be a fraction of the price.
And in the case of candlemaking, that price is less than a third of the store’s MSRP.
Store Bought Candles Can Get Pricey
It’s more than just selling a ton of candles that got the candle industry to nearly a billion and a half dollars in sales in 2021 though; the prices of candles can get ridiculous too.
For instance, the Baobab-Collection “Feathers Touareg” scented candle costs $700! And there are dozens of candles on Amazon that run well above $100.
While those are extreme examples, candles are still expensive across major manufacturers.
It does last 110 hours, but in my house, that’s going to be less than two weeks of usage.
Have a look at our top 5 candle making kits to get a sense of how much you can get from a kit – the price comparison to buying candles is ridiculous.
2. YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR CANDLE SCENTS
When you make candles, you’re in control of the fragrance. This means that you can make a candle that smells exactly like your favorite flower, fruit, or even dessert. You can also mix and match scents to create a unique fragrance that is all your own.
If you’ve ever bought a scented candle only to be disappointed by the scent, then you know how frustrating it can be. But when you make your own candles, you can be sure that the scent is exactly what you want it to be.
Store Bought Scents Are Limiting
When you’re buying candles, you’re limited to the scents that the company offers. And while some companies do have a wide selection of scents, others are much more limited. This can be especially true for seasonal scents; if you want a pumpkin spice candle in July, good luck!
Plus, if you purchase in a physical store, then you’re further limited by what candle inventory they have on the shelf.
But when you make your own candles, the sky’s the limit. You can make a pumpkin spice candle in July, or any other scent you want, whenever you want it.
HOW DO YOU SMELL A CANDLE ONLINE?
That’s not a riddle – have you ever tried to order a candle online? It’s nearly impossible to tell what a scent is going to be like based on a name and description.
Even if the company has a sample of the fragrance oil for you to smell, it’s still not going to be the same as smelling the actual candle.
When you make your candles, you can be sure of the scent because you’re the one choosing and adding the fragrance oil.
Control The Strength Of A Scent
When you make candles, you also have control over the strength of the scent.
If you want a candle that has a strong fragrance, you can add more essential oils to the wax. If you prefer a more subtle scent, you can add less.
This way, you can customize the fragrance to suit your preferences.
YOU CAN’T CONTROL A STORE-BOUGHT CANDLE SCENT STRENGTH
When you buy a candle, you’re at the mercy of the manufacturer when it comes to scent strength. In some cases, this is great – if you love a certain fragrance, you want it to be as strong as possible. But in other cases, it can be overwhelming.
Have you ever been in a store and had to leave because the candles were too strong? Or lighting a candle at home only to have to blow it out because the scent was giving you a headache?
If you make candles yourself, you won’t have to worry about that anymore.
3. CUSTOMIZE THE COLOR OF YOUR CANDLES
When you make candles, you can customize the color to match your décor or personal style.
Whether you want a bright and bold color or a more subdued and calming hue, it’s easy to achieve with some food coloring and a little bit of trial and error.
Store-Bought Candle Colors Are Bleh!
When you buy candles, you’re stuck with the colors that the company offers. Just walk down the candle aisle at your local Target or At-Home – all the colors look the same. And while some companies do offer a few different colors, they’re all variations of the same thing.
But when you make candles yourself, the world is your oyster! You can choose any color you want, whether it’s bright and bold or subdued and calming.
Plus, you can even mix colors to create a unique shade that’s all your own.
This can be especially true for seasonal colors; if you want an orange candle in December, you might have a difficult time finding one, or at least one that isn’t scented for fall.
But when you make your own candles, the sky’s the limit. You can make an orange candle in December, and have it smell like pine needles.
Mixing Colors To Suit
With red, blue, and yellow, you can make any color with some elbow grease. But thankfully it’s a lot easier than that. You can find a ton of wax chip kits on Amazon that have tons of color options – for instance, the Candle Shop Store sells a set of 16 rainbow color wax dye flakes for $19.
This stock would last you quite a while. And you wouldn’t be limited to just using the fully saturated chips – no, you could mix certain flakes and create unique colors altogether.
4. YOU PICK YOUR CANDLE CONTAINERS
A huge gripe about store-bought candles is that 99% of them come in the same glass jar. How about some variety every once in a while?
When you make candles, you can pick any type of container you want. Glass, ceramic, metal – it’s all up to you.
You’re also not limited to just jars – there are tons of unique candle containers out there that can add some personality to your space, such as tin cans, coffee mugs, tea cups, bowls, antique vases, etc.
Not only can you pick the container, but you can also decorate it however you want. If you’re using a Mason jar, for instance, you could paint it, wrap it in twine, or even add a label.
The possibilities are endless!
Make Candles In Any Shape Or Size
Throw out the rule book – when you make candles, there are no rules! You can make them in any shape or size you want.
If you want a massive candle to last all season, go for it! If you want a tiny candle that will burn for an hour, that’s fine too.
You’re also not limited to traditional candle shapes, such as pillars and votives. You can get creative and make candles in all sorts of fun shapes, such as hearts, stars, flowers, or even animals.
Between picking a more exciting vessel and making the shape and size of the candle however you want, the body of the candle can stand out compared to a store-bought candle in a boring jar.
5. YOU’RE IN CONTROL OF YOUR CANDLE INGREDIENTS
This is a big deal but often overlooked by the average candle consumer.
When you buy a candle from a store, you’re trusting that the company is using quality ingredients – and unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
There have been many reports of candles being made with unhealthy chemicals, such as lead wicks and phthalates. Dyes are often made from synthetic chemicals as well, which can be harmful to your health.
Not only are these dangerous for your health, but they can also affect the scent, appearance, and performance of the candle.
But when you make candles at home, you know exactly what’s going into them. You can pick quality ingredients that won’t harm your health, such as beeswax, soy wax, and natural essential oils.
This not only gives you peace of mind knowing that your candles are safe, but it also allows you to make a higher quality candle. And when you use quality ingredients, it shows! Your candles will look and smell better, and they’ll perform better too.
6. CANDLEMAKING IS THERAPEUTIC
Candlemaking is a great way to relax and de-stress. The repetitive motions can be therapeutic, and working with your hands is quite satisfying. Similar to painting, or paper-making – you get a little dirty along the way, but in the end, you get to step back and look at your creation.
Not to mention, you can trigger a different body sense with this work – that is, torch the wick and smell your hard work. This can produce a calming effect, as certain scents are known to do.
Few things, even hobbies, can trigger the sense of smell like a homemade candle.
7. DIY CANDLES MAKE BETTER GIFTS
If you’re looking for a unique and personal gift, look no further than a homemade candle.
You can make candles for anyone on your list – friends, family, teachers, neighbors, coworkers – and they’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into making it.
You can even get creative with how you package the candle. For example, you could put it in a mason jar with a bow, or wrap it in burlap and tie it with twine.
The possibilities are endless!
Not only are DIY candles more personal than store-bought candles, but they’re also usually better quality. As mentioned, when you make your candles, you can control the ingredients and make sure they’re of the highest quality.
So not only will the recipient love the thoughtfulness of the gift, but they’ll also be getting a high-quality candle that they’ll enjoy using. It’s a win-win!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE CANDLES AT HOME?
If any of the seven reasons to make candles yourself resonated, then you’re probably chomping at the bit to get started. What it comes down to is supplies now, and you have two options. Buy individual ingredients or buy a kit.
Here’s the New Hobby Box recommendation for both.
1. Recommended Kit – SoftOwl Premium Candlemaking Kit
You can find some killer kits out there, but also a ton of cheap ones with tons of parts that you won’t need. Because of how the New Hobby Box tutorial is carried out, there’s only one kit that seems to check all the boxes, and that’s the SoftOwl Premium Candlemaking Kit.
New Hobby Box was built on the premise of sending full kits to people to learn something new; that meant every kit had all the items needed and the customer wouldn’t have to make a run to the store to get any missing pieces. For that reason, the SoftOwl Candlemaking Kit is amazing.
Instead of listing every item in the kit (you can see all that yourself in our product review of SoftOwl’s Candle Making Kit), you’ll find a few standout features we love, and why they are so great.
FAVORITE FEATURES OF THE SOFTOWL CANDLEMAKING KIT
- Premium Soy Wax: This kit uses soy wax, that’s important for your health. Soy wax burns cleanly and is non-toxic, contains no carcinogens, and is better for anyone with allergies. It’s also a flaked wax, which will help it melt way quicker when you’re making your candle in the pot. The kit contains 3 lbs of wax too, which is more than enough as you get started in your candlemaking career. Referencing the 22oz Yankee Candle earlier in this article, the wax in this kit would make 2.5 of the 22oz Yankee Candles, and the whole kit would still be less expensive.
- Real Tools: Making candles can sometimes be messy, and not in the “ink on my fingers” way when writing calligraphy, but more the “this wax won’t come off of my pots, pans, and utensils.” So instead of having to dedicate a pot, spoon, and anything else in your kitchen to candlemaking, the SoftOwl kit includes a 34oz melting pot for your wax, a thermometer, and a stirring spoon. The pot rocks too, but all are great in the sense that you don’t have to fork over any of your existing kitchenware.
- Gift Ready: SoftOwl knows that homemade candles make the best gifts – just like the 7th reason in the list above to make your candles instead of buying them. So the SoftOwl kit includes different styles of jars and tins, a couple of tags that you can write a gift note on, and then a nice jar/tin label to add that extra polish to the candle. The New Hobby Box candlemaking kit used to contain similar items, and it’s because there’s an insight and truth around homemade candles, and how they make incredibly memorable gifts.
ONE DISLIKE ABOUT THE SOFTOWL CANDLEMAKING KIT
It wouldn’t be an honest recommendation without pointing out a flaw – one thing that could be improved in the SoftOwl kit is the type of candle wick used. It’s unclear based on the packaging, but it feels and looks like a cotton core wick.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with cotton cores – cotton’s a natural fiber after all – and it gets the job done, and burns nicely. But the problem with cotton is usually in how it’s processed; where the fibers are turned into threads that create the wicks.
Unless the cotton is organic, it requires pesticides and fertilizer to grow, and not to get too high and mighty on the eco-friendly soapbox, but cotton requires a ton of water to grow.
And in terms of processing, unless it goes through a mechanical process, it most likely requires chemicals to break down so the fibers can be spun into thread – and those chemicals can be toxic, which is the last thing you want to breathe in.
So, we always try to use a more natural and sustainable fiber for everything we do – from macrame’s use of the natural fiber jute to candlemaking with hemp wicks.
We recommend purchasing organic hemp candle wicks to use in place of the SoftOwl kit’s wicks. Hemp wicks are incredibly affordable; for instance, this 100-pack of 8″ certified organic hemp wicks that use a beeswax coating is $12.45 on Amazon.
But the real benefit isn’t related to cost, it’s innate to the properties of hemp. The hemp plant requires no fertilizer or pesticide to grow, it’s basically a weed that can grow in water-deprived conditions, so it requires minimal water to produce, and the processing of the fiber into a thread can be done mechanically, which means no harmful chemicals are needed.
It’s not a deal-breaker if you skip the hemp wicks, but for fumes inhaled from a candle, having a wick as pure as possible is never a bad idea.
2. Recommended Candlemaking Supplies
If you want to go the route of getting individual supplies and tools, then you’ll find the below list below incredibly helpful. It’s the same list of items that are recommended from the official New Hobby Box Candlemaking Tutorial – these items are the exact or similar ingredients used in the candlemaking kits that were sold on the New Hobby Box storefront.
The list leans toward the most natural ways of making and burning a candle – paying close attention to what you inhale, and also the impact of the materials on the environment.
ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES NEEDED TO MAKE CANDLES AT HOME
- Organic Hemp Wicks – This is certified organic hemp, with a beeswax coating.
- Natural Fragrance Oils – Includes 12 different essential oils, all 100% natural.
- Organic Soy Wax – Big fan of this brand and wax quality – this is a total of 10lbs of wax. Find out the perfect temperature to melt this organic soy wax here.
- Non-Toxic Dye Blocks – Includes 24 different colors – solid variety for a beginner set.
- Glass Jars – Use whatever vessel you like, but these frosted jars are a great value.
- Candlemaking Pouring Pot – Don’t ruin your kitchenware – grab a candlemaking-specific pot.
THERE ARE MORE THAN 7 REASONS TO LOVE CANDLEMAKING
One of the biggest reasons New Hobby Box was founded, was to discover new things – to find new passions that do more than just distract.
Everyone wants to feel fulfilled, have a purpose, and do things that bring joy. Candlemaking does all of those things and more.
It’s a calming activity; it doesn’t require a ton of time or space; the materials aren’t expensive; you can make them as simple or complex as you want; and when you’re done, you have something beautiful and special to show for it. Oh, and it smells great.
While this list gave you seven compelling reasons to make candles yourself and pointed you in the right direction to get the supplies needed to start, there are certainly more than seven reasons to love candlemaking.
If you want to give the New Hobby Box candle making or even soap making tutorials a shot, head over to the chandlery section of the site.
The bottom line is that if you’re looking for a new hobby or even just something to do to relax and unwind, give candle making a try. It just might be the best decision you ever make.