How-to: Making candles in a crock pot

A couple years ago, I got the most amazing candle on clearance at Pottery Barn for all of like two dollars. Unlike most candles its size, it had only one wick, which burned straight down and left a large amount of wax unused. It smelled fantastic and I kept it for all this time, certain that I’d use it for… well, something. The other day I decided I was going to pour my own candles using the leftover wax. I’d never made candles before, knew nothing about it, but a short conversation with my mother (who has candlemaking experience) set me on the right path.

Here’s a basic tutorial on how to make some of your own.

Supplies needed:
Leftover candle wax, or new wax for making your own scents
Glass votive holders or small jars
Wicks (If you can’t find somewhere to buy them, use birthday candles!)
An old knife or cheese grater
A small container or dish to hold wax pieces
A crock pot
Essential oils or fragrances (optional)

Step 1.
Start by making sure your candle holders are clean and empty. Mine wouldn’t come perfectly clean, but no big deal! They’re just for me to use. If you’re having trouble getting old wax out of votive glasses, pop them in the freezer for half an hour or so. When you take them out, the leftover wax should pop right out when you press the edge with a knife.

Step 2.
Cut or grate up your wax and fill your containers to the brim, packing it down as you go. It’ll melt down to about half to 2/3 full, so make sure you have plenty more wax to top the containers off.

Step 3.
Set your filled containers in the crock pot, cover, and turn it on high. You don’t need to put any water in the crock pot. It’ll take half an hour to 45 minutes for the wax to melt fully. Add more wax shavings or chips as it melts and the wax level in the glasses drops. If you’re adding fragrance, this is when you’d add a few drops to each candle. Using a wooden skewer or popsicle stick to stir it up works great.

Step 4.
Once the wax is all melted and your candles are the depth you want them, turn off the crock pot and carefully drop the wicks into the middle of the melted wax. Let cool.
I removed mine from the crock pot to cool, but you can leave them in if you want – It might work better if you do. The wax shrinks as it cools, causing it to sink in the middle around the wicks. The faster the wax cools, the deeper it will sink.

It doesn’t hurt the usability of the candles, but if you want them to look store-bought, you may want to let them cool slowly in the covered crock pot, melt a little wax in a separate container and pour it into each after they’ve cooled and become sunken, or melt the top with a hair dryer to get the wax to even back out. Once they’re completely cooled, you can wipe or scrape any stray wax from the glass to give it a neat and polished look. Which I did not.
Either way, all done!

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