Beginner Candle Making Equipment Guide
What equipment do I need to make candles at home?
Making candles at home can be simple. You can borrow candle making equipment from your kitchen and set it aside each time you want to make candles at home.
- Melting pot or pitcher
- Wick Holders
- Long Spoons (something to stir with)
- Candle Making Supplies
It’s easy to say “borrow candle making equipment from your kitchen”, but if you’re not much of a cook or a baker you might come up empty-handed.
I’ll give you my affiliate links where I think you may benefit. If your kitchen is not stocked like mine, go to the nearest dollar store. I am a professional candle maker and buy many supplies from there to keep costs down.
What is the best melting pot or pitcher for candle making?
Never melt candle wax directly on a heat source or open flame to reduce scorching or fire.
Candle wax must reach 185 F or 85 C to properly expand to bond with fragrance oil.
Melting pots and pitchers can be cleaned up with paper towels and a heat tool if the wax has hardened. Never pour wax down your drain.
Good: A heat-safe bowl (glass or metal) can be placed on top of a pot of water (bring to a boil). This is a traditional double boiler where the heat is transferred without direct contact. However, it may not reach temperature.
Better: A heat-safe glass measuring cup placed in a metal pot with enough water to reach a least halfway up the side of the glass will evenly melt the candle wax.
Because glass is sensitive to sudden temperature changes and can break, place the glass measuring cup in the water bath and bring the water up to boil at the same time. Do not add the glass measuring cup to boiling water.
If I am upcycling candle jars and have leftover candle wax, I leave the wax in the glass measuring cup and cover it with cling wrap. Later, I microwave the leftover wax (since glass is microwave safe) to make more candles, or I make tealight candles.
You can make candles using a microwave. I go into detail in this article –> here.
Best: An aluminum melting pitcher placed in a metal pot with enough water to cover a couple of inches up the bottom will melt the candle wax evenly.
Aluminum melting pitchers are more durable than glass and are not sensitive to sudden heat changes. They store more easily and are not as heavy.
It is also easier to clip a thermometer to an aluminum melting pitcher while it is in the water bath. A glass measuring cup makes a thermometer awkward.
Additionally, the exception to the rule is gel wax.
Gel wax must reach 200 F or 93 C to liquefy or melt. Gel wax has to be melted directly on a heat source. It is best to use an electric burner as gel wax is made from 95% mineral oil and is extremely flammable.
A glass measuring cup cannot be placed directly on a heat source or subjected to high heat without breaking making the aluminum melting pitcher universal for all candle making.
If you want to make gel wax candles at home and do not have an aluminum melting pitcher, you will need to use an old pan that does not have a non-stick coating on it.
Another option could be to recycle an old can but it may not hold enough gel wax and most cans have a “poly-plastic type” liner inside the can. Before you go this route, go to your local thrift store and buy a cheap pan.
What is the best thermometer for candle making?
The process of candle making relies heavily on monitoring the temperature of the wax and taking action at key points. For that, you need a reliable thermometer.
You cannot tell the temperature of candle wax without a thermometer even though it melts at about 120 F. Soy wax is liquid but cloudy until it reaches about or above 135 F. Soy wax, depending on the blend, starts to scorch at 220 F.
Paraffin wax, depending on the blend, can withstand more heat but may scorch as low as temperatures around 245 F.
That is just too vague for candle making. We need to melt, monitor, and confirm it is 185 F. Then temper, monitor, and adjust to the flashpoint of the fragrance oil we are adding.
As I mentioned, it is important to bring wax to temperature to properly bond with fragrance oil. It is also important to not burn, scorch or overheat your candle wax.
The candle wax that has been scorched will discolor and sometimes separate and not bond with the fragrance oil.
Like all vegetable oils, if it is smoking it is starting to scorch and burn. Yes, soy wax is hydrogenated soybean vegetable oil. (not safe to eat) Overheating makes it break down.
Heating soy wax at temperatures above 245 F you risk the chance of separating the soy candle wax leaving you with just soybean oil. Your candle may look like the fragrance oil never mixed in or soybean oil sinks to the bottom of your candle.
There are some outside factors that impact candle wax temperature stabilization that cause problems like rough surfaces we talk about in the tools you need below. We will cover the basics here.
Good: An infrared thermometer is a quick way to take a temperature reading without any cleanup. It’s also hands-free and there is not handling hot items.
An infrared thermometer works by bouncing light from an object and returning a resulting temperature reading.
The fault I found with the infrared thermometers is trying to accurately take the temperature of transparent liquids was challenging as often the temperature value shown was the bottom of my pitcher, not the “middle” of my melted candle wax.
When I started reworking many more candles than usual fixing the tops, I realized it was because I switched to a different thermometer. I was not able to accurately monitor the temperature of my candle wax.
If you must, try it. They are also the most expensive type.
Better: Glass thermometers can be purchased readily at your local dollar store. They are accurate and have been used by many for years.
The downside to glass thermometers is they must be wiped off or cleaned after each use and are easy to break. Likely they are cheap at the dollar store.
Best: A meat thermometer made of metal and often found in an easy-to-read digital form is a quick reliable way to monitor the melting process for candle making. Many meat thermometers or deep fryer thermometers also come with a clip to secure them to the side of your melting pitcher.
Like the aluminum melting pitcher, a metal thermometer is more durable. It will need to be cleaned or wiped off after each use but it is not an issue.
What is the best scale for candle making?
Candle making is measured by weight not volume which makes it a little tricky. Most of us cook using measurements like 1 cup of flour and a half cup of sugar and so on. Switching to weights is just not something we are used to.
With a little training, you will get the hang of it in no time.
The confusing part is we need to fill candle containers with liquid that we have measured by weight. Converting is not straightforward. I have a complete article on How to Calculate the Wax and Fragrance Oil You Need.
If you are making candles from a candle making kit, everything is measured for you and you should not need a scale.
Flake Soy Wax can be purchased in bags by 1 pound, 2 pounds, 5 pounds, 10 pounds, and 45 & 50 pound cases. The smaller bags can be divided up without a scale.
Fragrance oil can be purchased in bottles of 1 ounce, 2 ounces, 4 ounces, 6 ounces, 8 ounces, 16 ounces, 1 gallon* and 55-gallon drums*. These are all sold by weight not volume.
If you want to easily make candles at home, buy the candle making supplies for your specific recipe. This way you can skip this part.
- Regular scented candles are a ratio of 1 ounce of fragrance oil to 1 pound of soy wax.
- Double scented candles are a ratio of 1.5 ounces of fragrance oil to 1 pound of soy wax.
- Triple scented candles are a ratio of 2 ounces of fragrance oil to 1 pound of soy wax.
Good: A kitchen scale that is accurate to 2 decimal places or 1/100 is all you need for basic candle making. However, most of them are made for measuring food items and can be clumsy for measuring candle making supplies.
Additionally, they are not designed to withstand the harshness of fragrance oils. Soon you may find fragrance oils will etch plastics or remove some painted-on lettering.
Better: Digital Craft Scale this is the scale I use and have used for years. It takes a beating and is accurate. It’s easy to clean and holds up to 11 pounds.
I don’t use the same scale for crafts as I do for shipping. My shipping scale is just as accurate but a bigger scale (weight up to 50 pounds) and kept cleaner.
Best: Digital Stainless Steel Craft Scale is a scale that is a little better than mine, cheaper, and easier to clean.
What is the best wick centering guides for candle making?
There are 2 different wick centering guides we are going to cover. The first is a guide to help you find the center of your candle jar. The second is a guide to help hold the wick in place while the candle congeals.
It is important that the wick is centered and stays upright after hot wax has been poured into the jar. A wick that is too close to the edge will cause the candle to burn incorrectly and can also make the jar too hot creating a safety hazard.
Good: Clothespins and wooden sticks with holes are commonly used because they are inexpensive and can be effective. You need to develop a skill centering the wicks on your own because these will not help you find the center of your candle.
They fit loosely on top of your candle jar and will hold the wick in place for the most part. Give the wick a gentle tug to make a “kink” so that the wick stands up and does not slide down as it heats up from the candle wax.
Better: The Centering Rings help you find the center of your candle and keep the wick in place while your candle sets up.
These can get pricey and are custom to specific size containers which is a little limiting. If you struggle with this they do work well.
Best: The Metal Bowtie Style helps you find the center of multiple container sizes and hold the wick in place securely.
These are relatively inexpensive and can be cleaned up (unlike the wooden) and used many times. They are a good investment.
What are the best long spoons for candle making?
I included this as equipment because you can’t make candles without stirring unless you are making unscented candles. This section will be short.
Don’t use wooden spoons. You can’t clean them completely and they hold the fragrance oil.
Good: Dollar store plastic spoons are ok but you will eventually go through many. The fragrance oil breaks down the plastic.
Better: Dollar store silicone solid piece spatula and spoons. They are cheap and last “forever”.
Best: Dollar store silicone solid piece spatula and spoons. They are cheap and last “forever”.
What to know before making candles? -Article read
What tools do you need to make candles?
There are several tools of the trade that most candle makers won’t go without. You do not absolutely need these if you are making candles for your personal use, but if you are making candles as a hobby and want to make gifts you can make the investment.
Heat tools – Presentation is important. These are used to correct imperfections on the tops of candles. (A hairdryer will not get hot enough.) Soy often congeals with rough surfaces or craters. Remelting the surface improves the appearance.
Some candle waxes that contain paraffin or are poured at hotter temperatures shink more than others creating a sinkhole in the middle. Re-melting the candle wax with a heat tool evens the top layer of wax.
Hot glue sticks – Many candle makers use wick stickers to attach the wicks to the candle jars. Many candle making kits come with wick stickers. Because they are not always reliable to stay in place, I use my hot glue tool to attach wicks.
Many candle makers use an RTV gasket glue to attach wicks to candle jars. I do not because it makes it difficult to remove the wick after the candle has been used. It also takes 24 hours to cure before you can make candles.
Rubbing Alcohol – This is the cleaner I use because it cuts through the fragrance oil well. It is inexpensive and can be purchase by the pint at the dollar store. Soy wax cleans up well with warm soapy water.
Silicone gloves – My hands quickly became sensitive to the fragrance oils and overwashing. Also, I am a messy candle maker and cannot use liquid candle dye without getting some on my hands. It also saves from getting fingerprints on everything.
Candle Care Kit – Using the correct tools (not scissors) to trim wicks will keep your candles fresh and last longer. Scissors tend to fray the end of the wicks leaving a jagged start that mushrooms. It is important to have a clean cut.
Properly caring for candles will help them to last longer and perform better. I have an entire article on it What is the best candle making kit for beginners?
Candle making kits are the ultimate beginner candle making equipment. A kit can get you started with what you need and then all you have to do is refill the kit with candle wax, fragrance oil, wicks, and candle containers. A candle making kit can range greatly in contents. Choose one that fits your needs. Do you want to make a candle or 2? Do you want to make candles on the weekends? Or, do you want to start making candles to sell to earn extra money? Here is what I believe is the best candle making kit for beginners.
Candle making kits are the ultimate beginner candle making equipment. A kit can get you started with what you need and then all you have to do is refill the kit with candle wax, fragrance oil, wicks, and candle containers.
A candle making kit can range greatly in contents. Choose one that fits your needs. Do you want to make a candle or 2? Do you want to make candles on the weekends? Or, do you want to start making candles to sell to earn extra money?
Here is what I believe is the best candle making kit for beginners.