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What You Need to Make Candles - Complete Equipment List

Posted by Jessica Ware on

When you are just starting out making candles it is important to have the correct equipment on hand before you start.  From my experience making candles I have gathered the following information that will be helpful for you to know about candle making equipment.

In general you will need wax, a jug, somewhere or something to melt the was with, a mould or container, wick, fragrance (if using) and a thermometer to make candles with.

Many candle makers can get away with this very basic equipment but there is a lot more to candle making equipment than this.  Below I have some helpful tips on how to take your candle making to the next level with different types of equipment.

empty candle glass with wick and scissors and wax in a bowl

Complete Equipment List

Here is a bulleted list of all of the equipment that you can use when you are making candles.  I am going to outline it all for you first and then discuss the different items.

Wax

You can use a variety of different waxes to make candles with.  Some of the different types available are:

soy and beeswax in bowls
    Each type of wax is created for a specific purpose.  For instance some waxes are made specifically for container candles and some waxes are made specifically for pillar candles.  You have to check with the supplier and read the description of each wax before you buy it to find out the specific information about the wax.  

      This does matter though because if you try to make a pillar candle with container wax your candle will not turn out and will most likely break when you are taking it out of the mould because it is too soft of a wax.

       

        Container to melt wax in and how to melt your wax

        You can use a variety of different types of containers to melt your wax in.  The type you choose depends on how you are going to melt your wax.

        Here is a break down of the different ways to melt wax and the container that you can use for the different melting methods.

        Microwave on 30 second bursts 

              • This is not my favourite method to melt wax and I do not melt my wax this way but many people do.  It is quick and convenient but you have to pay attention to the melt temperatures and stir the wax a lot to make sure that there is not hot spots developing in it as it is melting.
        Double boiler stove top method
              • This is the method that I use to melt my wax and it works very well.  The wax melts slowly and consistently and it is easy to keep an eye on the temperature of the wax and to watch exactly what is going on.  
              • This is contrary to the microwave method above where I find that you have less control over the melting speed, temperature and you cannot see what is going on unless you remove the jug from the microwave and look.
        metal wax pot hanging off of a pot full of water with wax melting
          Using a rice cooker or slow cooker 
                • Using a rice cooker or a slow cooker is popular with some candle makers because they are essentially melting a big pot of wax in a machine that is designed to keep things warm. 
                • I do not use or like this method because one has to scoop out the wax into a jug in order to mix in the fragrances and colours (if you are using any) and then pour it into the containers or moulds.  I find that there is too many steps and too much mess in this method, but that is simply my opinion.  Try this method for yourself and see if you like it or not.
          Using a wax melter
                • If you are a serious candle maker then investing in a wax melter is a great choice.  It gives you the option to melt very large amounts of wax at one time (depending on how large of a machine you buy) and keeps the wax at the temperature you desire.  
                • There are many candle makers who buy modified deep frying machines with a tap built onto them.  I have heard that these work fine if you do not want to invest hundreds of dollars into a very large machine.

          Thermometer

          There are two types of thermometers that you can use for candle making:

          The old school stick thermometers from a science lab

                • You put this into the container of wax and take a measurement.  It works but is slow and can be inaccurate if left to sit on the bottom of the container.
          An infrared digital thermometer
                • I use this type of thermometer and it is what I recommend investing in.  It costs around $40 but it is worth it because it is fast, precise and you can easily switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit as necessary.

          two images of thermometers, one infrared the other a glass thermometer

          Candle Colours

          It is important that you use proper colourants for your candles to keep them safe.  There are a lot of tutorials on the internet showing the use of crayons to colour candles, this is not a safe method because of the additives that are added to the wax of crayons.  They are also made of paraffin and if you are going for a natural wax, you will want to steer clear of using paraffin wax. 

          There are two main types of colourants:

          Liquid candle dyes

                • These are very concentrated and alcohol based.
                • They come in a plastic or glass bottle and have a dropper top so you can control exactly how much colour you are adding to your wax and you can replicate it again.
          Solid blocks of candle dye
                • You can you shave off the block and add in the shavings to your melted wax.
                • They are less precise unless you measure how much shavings you are adding into your liquid wax before you do using a precision scale.  This is really a big hassle and I prefer to use liquid dyes so I can get the exact amount of colorant over and over again when I am making batches of candles. 
            Using mica and/or glitter 
                • I would like to debunk a common myth of candle making.  Using mica and glitter in your candles is very tempting because they are both so pretty and give a nice effect on the surface. 
                • Mica will only clog the wick of your candle not allowing it to burn correctly. 
                • Using glitter in candles is dangerous because it is combustible, which means that it can ignite and cause a fire within your candle, potentially lighting the wax on fire.  This can happen and then can become a massive fire danger. 
                • It is best to avoid mica and glitter entirely with candle making.  They are not designed for the craft and are better left for other hobbies.

            pink glitter spilling out of a clear containerFragrance

            Candles create a lovely ambiance when they are burnt but a lot of people also love the smell that they can bring to their home, room or space. 

            It is important to use proper candle fragrances to avoid fire and other health implications.

            Using perfume to scent your candle

                • This is a problem and should be avoided because perfumes are alcohol based.  Alcohol and fire usually cause explosions and the last thing you want is a candle that you made exploding in your home or someone else's home.
            Using essential oils to scent your candle
                • Some essential oils can change into dangerous fumes when they are heated.  This is because essential oils are natural compounds and as a result react to temperature.  
                • If you use essential oils in candle making I recommend you learn a lot about the oil you are going to use and make sure it is not going to turn toxic if you heat it.
                • If you are a beginner and do not have some sort of training on essential oils you should avoid using them and stick to proper candle fragrances.  This will keep you and whoever else burning the candles that you make safe.

            drop of liquid coming out of a dropper into a amber coloured bottle

            Containers and Moulds

            In general there are two types of candles, pillar candles and container candles.

            Pillar Candles

                • Pillar candles are usually candles without a vessel around them.  They are made using a mould.  Moulds come in various types and can be made with plastic, metal or silicone.  It is important to use a hard wax, one that is designed to be used for pillar candles.
                • Taper candles are also in this category and are made either using a mould or dipped repeatedly into and out of hot wax.
            Container Candles
                • Container candles are candles that are made with wax poured into a container.  There are various shapes, sizes and materials that these candles can come in.
                • The most common type of containers are glass and metal.  It is important to not made a candle in a vessel that can melt and give off dangerous fumes such as something plastic.
                • Other expensive and rarer type containers that candles can be made in are cement and ceramic.
                • Please note that all glass containers must be approved for burning candles in them and MUST be heat tested before use.  Using old tea cups and drinking glasses is very dangerous because these were not designed to withstand direct heat and may explode.  This also goes for recycled glass materials such as beer or wine bottles.

            person pouring melted wax into white empty candle jarsWicks

            There are two main types of wicks:

            Fabric wicks
                  • Made of various materials such as cotton or hemp
                  • Some are prepared with wax so that they stand up straight while other types of fabric wicks come wound on a roll.
            Wooden Wicks
                    • Some crackle and burn slower and give a different type of ambiance than a fabric wick.

            Other Equipment

            Stir Sticks

            To mix the colours and fragrance into your melted wax you will need to use something to stir it.  I use a wooden spoon that I have dedicated exclusively for candle making.  I wipe it off quickly after I am finished stirring the melted wax to ensure it is clean and ready for the next use.

            Stickums

            These are little stickers designed to hold your wick down to the bottom of your container.  They hold the bottom of your wick in the centre of the vessel so that it does not move when you are pouring your melted wax into it. 

            Some candle makers use a hot glue gun to hold down the wick in the container.  I do not like to burn my fingers over and over again so I do not use this method when I make candles.

            Wick Placers

            There are tools that you can buy that place the wick in your vessel so that it is perfectly centred.  Some look like metal tabs and some are round adjustable circles, there are a few different types.

            Wick Holders

            Before or after you pour the melted wax into your container or mould you can use a wick holder to keep your wick centred as the wax cools. 

            If you do not use something to keep your wick held tightly and centred in the container or mould your wick will bow and your candle will not burn correctly.

            You can use wooden popsicle sticks, clothes pegs or metal tabs designed to hold candle wicks.  

            candles cooling with there wicks being held by wooden pegs and sticks

            Pro Tips

            Keep a few extra moulds handy when you are pouring your candles, when you have a bit of leftover wax left in your jug, pour it into the mould and use it as samples for your customers, or friends or keep it for yourself.  The same can be done with tealight candles.

            purple and white flower shaped wax melt tarts

             

            Wipe out your jug with paper towels immediately after you are finished pouring your candles.  This keeps your jug clean and ready for the next time you are ready to create. 

                • Some candle makers have a different jug for each scent but I have never found this to be necessary.  The extra jugs will take up a lot of room and it is not necessary to spend the extra money on supplies.  Just be diligent on wiping out your containers and you will be fine.  
                • If the wax hardens in the jug before you get a chance to wipe it out, just reheat the jug using the double boiler method (see above) or use a heat gun to melt the wax and then wipe it out.

             

            I hope this equipment list for candle making was helpful to you.  If you have any questions please leave them below and I will answer them for you the best that I can.  Happy candle making!

            <3 Jes xo

             

            *This blog post contains affiliate links - which means that if you click on a link and buy a product, I may receive a small percentage of the sale.

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