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Candlemakers mold candles out of wax and wicks for personal enjoyment, decoration around the home and gift giving. From photograph candles to Christmas candles, there is a candle for just about any occasion or theme. And when old candles become boring or visually dated, makers can simply recycle them.

Did you know that electric light is only about 100 or so years old? Prior to that time, homes were lit by gas jets, oil lamps and, of course, candles.

Nowadays, the lighting of a candle usually signifies a special occasion of some sort. But more and more people are finding out about the magic of candles in everyday use, and some are even making candles at home themselves.

Candles are simple to make and require few special tools or materials. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and scents.

Besides creating light, candles also serve many purposes, including creating atmosphere, celebrating a special occasion and decorating.

The first thing to learn about candle-making is that it should be fun. The rules are made to be broken; failures aren't tragic and remember that experimentation is a big part of the process.

You don't have to be overly creative either. Beth Lube is a novice candlemaker who says she is not at all creative. "Candle-making gives me an outlet to be creative without having talent. It's fun mixing the colors, using different scents, and choosing different moulds."

Candles are usually made in one of three methods:

Dipped candles:   dipping wicks into melted wax again and again to make tapers.

Beeswax candles:   rolling up beeswax sheets around a wick.

Molded candles:   pouring melted wax into a mold with a wick in the center.

Of the three, rolling beeswax sheets is probably the easiest. Some people find dipping too time consuming (and REALLY messy), but others enjoy the feeling of really making the candles from scratch.

If your preference runs toward moulded candles, you can incorporate herbs, oils, flower petals, metal stars or just about anything you can think of into the candle itself. Also you have more options in color and scents with moulded candles.

Besides getting to use your creative side, Lube finds making candles very relaxing. "It takes away all your cares and worries."

Getting Started

People of all ages and abilities can make candles since it is easy, fun, inexpensive and can be done anywhere. While some people may take a class to get started, most just jump right in -- either by buying a kit from a craft store or finding instructions in books or on the Internet.

Making candles is more than just having fun or relaxing. You are actually creating something that is both useful and beautiful.

Beth Lube didn't expect to experience a thrill when she finished her first moulded candle, but she did. "It was like I had created a baby all by myself. I couldn't wait to see what it looked like."

One of the best things about candle-making is how inexpensive it is to get started. You can buy a kit at most craft or department stores for around $20, and even buying the individual items you need won't set you back that much.

Beeswax$1 per sheet
Paraffin wax$12 to $20 per slab
Dye blocks$1.15 to $1.55 per block
Scent$3 to $7 per bottle
Wicking$1.15 to $4 per five meters of wicking
Metal wick tabs$1.30 to $2 per 20 pack

Depending on the type of candles you want to make, these items will probably get you started. Buy the cheapest supplies at first, until you become more knowledgeable about candles and exactly what you want to make.

When you go to the craft store, ask lots of questions. They will be more than happy to help, and may even have some free brochures with instructions.

And this recreation is only going to grow. More and more people are realizing how important it is to create a positive living space and are using candles to do just that. Many novice candlemakers have even turned their hobby into a business.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, you can start out small by selling your candles at craft fairs or through word of mouth.

The best way to get started is to go out and buy a few supplies with some friends, and then bring everything home and get creative. Remember, the best thing about making candles is that if you don't like the finished product, all you have to do is melt it down and start again!

If you still don't know where to start or where to get supplies, contact the National Candle Association for a list of retailers who carry candle-making supplies in your area.


National Candle Association
870-1030 15th St.
Washington , DC   20005


The Candle Cauldron
Candle-making info, tips, ideas and resources

Candle and Soap Making
Links to various candle- and soap-making sites

CandleMaking Techniques
This site has step-by-step instructions for making all kinds of candles

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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.