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How to Make Candles with Household Items

Learning candle making? Before you rush out to buy an expensive set of moulds, why not experiment with disposable candle molds, found around the house? By the time you've completed a series of candles, you'll be an expert, brimming with confidence, and ready to tackle more durable and permanent candlemaking equipment.

What can you use for candle molds? Baking dishes and kitchen bowls, cartons and cardboard boxes, all produce fine candle shapes, with their own distinctive glossy, matte, or textured finish.

Most metal, heat-proof glass or sturdy plastic items, hollow on the inside, shaped straight-up-or-down, or with the lip wider than the base, make great diy candle forms.

Any aspiring candle makers in your family? Beginners of any age can learn the ways of the wax and the wicks, using these alternative forms for molding.

Have a look at the slideshow pictures below, and find unusual ideas for improvised candle molds:

Homemade Candle Moulds

Disposable Plastic Containers

Ideal pouring temperature:: 82°C (180°F).
Ease of demoulding:: Not the best. Rub the inside of the mould with a bit of cooking oil, before pouring the wax. The candle will come out more easily. You can mould a candle in a shampoo or Coke bottle, e.g., and simply slice the plastic off afterwards.

Yoghurt, cottage cheese, margarine and cream containers produce candles with a smooth finish. Great for moulding one-colour, and striped candles. Also for special techniques, such as frosting, and marbling. Try your chunky candles in the larger containers.

The brittle plastics of vegetable oil and Cola bottles, etc. withstand hot waxes, but tend to buckle, and lose their shape. So, a water-bath is recommended.

Cool Drink and Milk Cartons

Ideal pouring temperature:: 82-88°C (180-190°F).
Ease of demoulding:: Not a problem, as the mould is not reusable, and you'll tear it off the set candle.

Milk, cold drink, and buttermilk cartons produce a seam line, and not perfectly even sides. These irregularities add a charmingly handmade, not-perfectly-finished, look, to your candles.

Use bigger cartons for making candles with ice cubes, and candles with colorful chunks...smaller ones for single-color candles. A great opportunity for remelting - and using up - old candles.

Metal Mousse Molds

Ideal pouring temperature:: 93°C (199°F).
Ease of demoulding:: Excellent. Place the set candle in the fridge for up to an hour, depending on the mold size. The candle will pop out easily.

Handy for small or floating candles.

Warm the metal container up first, by floating it in a bowl of warm water. Pour the wax, and place the mold in a dish with cold water. This gives your candle a better, glossier appearance.

When the candle is partially set, but still warm, make a hole and put a primed wick in. Fill the candle up again, if a hollow forms.

Heat Resistant Glassware

Ideal pouring temperature:: 82°C (180°F).
Ease of demoulding:: Good. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes when cool. The candle should come out easily.

Can I make candles in any glass jars? No, definitely not, they have to be heat proof. The usual kitchen things, tea cups, mugs, dessert dishes, pudding bowls, baking dishes, fruit preserving jars, are all conveniently heat safe - great makeshift candle molds for your own creations.

Cup shapes make fine wax shells. Pour multi-wick candles in wider, shallower dishes.

Warm the glass up first; place it in a bigger bowl with warm water for a minute. Remove from the water. Pour the wax. This gives a super-glossy finish, especially if the candle cools down in a water-bath.

Pouring 65°C, (149°F), wax into a room-temperature glass produces a textured, not-at-all-unattractive, finish.

To wick up a flat dish:: pour the wax, wait until it sets partially, but is still warm. Make a hole. Insert a primed wick.
To wick up a tall glass or mug:: attach a primed wick in a wick sustainer to the bottom of the glass. Or hang a wick attached to a wicking needle or skewer over the mold.

Tupperware and Ice Cream Containers:

Ideal pouring temperature:: 82°C (180°F).
Ease of demoulding:: Fair, but rubbing the inside of the mold with a bit of cooking oil won't hurt.

This type of tough plastic doesn't pierce easily. Rather secure a primed wick - attached to a wick sustainer - to the bottom, or hang a primed wick attached to a wicking needle or skewer over the mold. You can also scent these candles.

Food Tins and Metal Baking Molds

Ideal pouring temperature:: 93°C (199°F).
Ease of demoulding:: Excellent, as far as wax separation is concerned. Cut the aluminium tin cans off afterwards - with tough metal cutters - as the ridges around their rims make it difficult to pull the candles out. These are best as container candles. Your candles will easily spring from wider-lipped tin baking moulds, with a bit of help from fridge cooling.


Ideal pouring temperature:: 93°C (199°F).
Ease of demoulding:: Not a problem, as the foil is peeled off afterwards.

Scrunch up a piece of tin foil; fold it open gently into a bowl; tie a primed wick onto a skewer; place it over your bowl; pour your wax into the bowl.

Don't feel like fiddling with fragile pieces of tin foil? Use firm foil tart and pie plates instead. These have stupendous mould release capabilities, and naturally pull away from the cold, set candles. On hot days, you can help the mold release process along with a few minutes in the fridge.

Cardboard Boxes and Tubes

Ideal pouring temperature:: 88°C (190°F).
Ease of demoulding:: this mold will be used once only - spray the cardboard with an aerosol silicone lubricant; pour your candle, and tear the cardboard off the cold, set candle.

You can make candles with interesting textures in any empty food boxes, (e.g. cereal boxes). Make the wick holes in the bottom of the box (forming the top of your candle), or hang the wick/s over the mould's opening.

Use cardboard cylinders, eg. paper towel rolls, to make narrow pillar candles. Stick these cylindrical tubes onto plastic lids, to keep them in place, and leak-free, with a ring of Presstik.

Use any of the above-mentioned household things as subsitutes for moulds - it's a great way to learn candle making at home, for kids or adults, whatever your age, or level of expertise.