DIY Scented Container Candles

Yesterday, Chris and I spent the afternoon turning vintage glasses and glass apothecary jars into lovely scented candles.  They came out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

A little sampling of our creations

We've taken to lighting candles around our space in the evenings, which just makes everything feel more cozy and classy, and there's something about a good scented candle that I especially like.  Making our own candles seemed easy enough, so we set out to collect all the materials and make it happen:

We grabbed a bunch of small glass containers from our own collection of extra things cluttering the office, including this lovely gold Georges Briard glass I picked up a couple weeks ago.  Sometimes I just can't resist a pretty glass, but it's kindof pointless to try to sell a single, so this seemed like the perfect way to use up some glasses.  We bought regular wicks, some wood wicks, and a few different essential oil scents (Eucalyptus Mint, Lilac Blossom, and Fresh Bamboo).  We decided to keep our candles white for a nice simple look this time, but we may experiment with colors someday.

Of course we also needed some wax, so we bought a couple blocks of white container wax from Michaels.  We also bought some soy wax, but we didn't get to using it this time.  We got out our big cutting board and an old knife we don't use anymore...

... and we hacked the block up into smaller pieces, being very careful to keep our fingers out of the way.  I don't know about you, but we like our fingers.

Most directions recommended using a double boiler, but we don't have one, plus I've melted wax for making fire starters before, and I've always done it with an old soup can in boiling water... so we plopped a couple blocks of wax into each of the two cans we had lying around.

Then we heated up a big pot of water, with a wire rack at the bottom to keep the bases of the cans from touching the bottom of the pot.  Chris put on some silicone mitts and held them in place.  We learned that you can use less water than we did at first, and the cans won't float quite as much; also, the tall and narrow can worked much better than the short and squat one, since it was easier for Chris to get a grip on.  There's always a learning curve with any new project, especially since we're bad at just following directions...

While the wax was melting, I planned out which wicks to use with our first containers.

We forgot to photograph this step, so it happened later; hence the different containers and background.

Once the wax was all melted, Chris splashed a little puddle of wax in the base of each one to keep the wicks in place, and I made sure the wicks were centered and straight.  I saw something about using wick putty or something like that, which probably would have worked better.  With our method, if it was a big container, the hot wax we poured on top of the cooled wick-holding wax would just melt the later and the wick would start moving around.  The wood wicks turned out to be a lot easier since they are rigid and seem to have sturdier bases, while the normal wicks had to be held in place by wrapping the top around a popsicle stick placed across the rim of the glass.

While the wick-holding wax dried, we mixed a bunch of drops of the essential oils into the cans of melted wax.  It was a very non-precise measurement involving shaking the bottle of oil over the wax for about 5-10 seconds until it seemed like enough and smelled nice and delicious.  It worked out well to have the can-size portions of wax, since that was enough for about 1-2 candles each (depending on candle size), so we could mix up different smells in each can.  We ended up doing about half the candles in Eucalyptus Mint, a few in Lilac Blossom, and the rest in a combination we're calling Lilac Bamboo.  We didn't take a picture of that step since it doesn't really look like much...

As you probably guessed, once the scent was mixed in, we filled up the glass almost to the top with wax!  Some of the wax sank a bit in the middle as they dried, so we topped those off with more wax.

Here they all are!  We used eight pounds of wax to make eight candles, including four apothecary jar candles (two tall, two short), two vintage Welch's juice glass candles (one Brontosaurus and one Tom & Jerry), one gold Georges Briard candle, and one pretty turquoise teacup candle (which was actually a refill job - our friends had given us this teacup turned homemade candle for Christmas, but it had burned to the base already, so we filled it back up to use again!).  Half of them have regular wicks, and half have wood wicks.

It wasn't a super cheap project, coming in around $50 for everything (although we have plenty of extra wicks, lots more oil, plus an additional $10 pack of soy wax to use for future candle making), but it was definitely cheaper than it would have been to buy these candles new!  We may decide to make some candles to sell in the future, in which case we'll probably look into buying wax and such wholesale.

What do you think about our little scented candle project?  Which one is your favorite?  Have you ever made your own candles?  Do you have any tips for us?  Do you like lighting candles in your own home?


  1. The Georges Briard candle looks really elegant and I bet that it would be a good seller! The others are cute too, but the Briard one really stands out :-)

  2. gorgeous and great for keeping or for gifting.

  3. You should put a warning that not all glass is suited for the high heat and may crack after one or more heatings when it is lit.

  4. I have a lot of glass left over from my daughter's wedding I was going to make some of it into candles. I am excited to try candle making.

  5. What beautiful photos - really love the kids ones! I still think that despite your initial outlay, when you consider how much a 'designer' candle can cost, these are a bargain in real terms...

    I made scented candles in teacups (tutorial here: http://hodgepodgecraft.com/2013/07/how-to-make-scented-candles-in-a-teacup-a-step-by-step-tutorial/) and was so pleased with how they turned out - they make great gifts :)


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