Homemade Scented Candles

These homemade scented candles use recycled jars and their scents and colours can be tailored to what you like.

Buying a good scented candle is pricy, but making them at home doesn’t have to be.

I absolutely love candles and have been known to spend a pretty penny on them in the past. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t start making these sooner because they are so easy! And the repurposed jars can be used over and over again.

Homemade Scented Candles

Homemade scented candles

It’s a great project in which you can let your creativity flow and create amazing scents! The world is your oyster when it comes to candle-making. Do you like fruity scents? Fresh and bright? Dark and moody? Floral? Spices?

For the pictured candles I did a ‘Christmas scent’ with cedarwood, cinnamon, orange and vanilla essential oils, a rose geranium scent (that’s the pink one), a mint, orange and grapefruit plus a sweet pea and french vanilla.

There’s also a beeswax and citronella one which works well as an insect repeller for those balmy summer evenings!

Homemade Scented Candles


To make these candles you need:

  • Wax (I use soy wax or beeswax. Stay away from petroleum-based wax)
  • Candle wicks, preferably tabbed so they can stay in place
  • Recycled Jars
  • Something to stir the wax (I use bamboo skewers so they can be composted afterwards)
  • Tin cans (save your canned tomato cans!)
  • A saucepan of water
  • A pencil or skewer to hold the wick in place
  • Essential oils
  • Crayons (Optional, for colours)

Step-by-step instructions

For a small jar of 250ml, I used about 300g of wax. This fills the jars up a little higher than you would if you were filling them with food.

Start off by adding your wick to your jar. If they are tabbed (have the silver bit at the bottom) it’s a lot easier to place them. A bamboo skewer or pencil to hold them still works well too.

Wicks come in all different sizes so check the size of the wick and jar before purchasing them.

Homemade Scented Candles

Then, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. This and the tin can will form a bain-marie (a hot water bath where the wax can melt at a more controlled temperature.)

Whatever you use to melt the wax, it will be covered in wax at the end, so be prepared for that. I use tin cans because it’s mess-free, I always have them available in my recycling bin and I can reuse them over and over again.

Place the tin can and wax in the hot water and stir it until it melts. Take it off the heat the moment it has melted.

Homemade scented candles

If you are using crayons to add colour, add them in while the wax is melting on the heat so they can all melt down together.

Colouring the wax

Add in a couple of bits of crayon at a time until you like the colour. Bear in mind the cold candle wax will lighten in colour compared to what it looks like when it has melted.

Homemade scented candles

Adding scents

Once all the wax has melted and it is off the heat you can add in essential oils.  You can add up to 6% fragrance of your total wax amount (for a 300g candle that’s about 4 tsp).

How much oil you add will increase the cost of the candle obviously so the amount is up to you. It also depends on if you are using synthetic oils or pure essential oils as these vary in strength of smell.

You can make a blend of different essential oils to create your own unique candle scent.

Homemade scented candles

Then it’s time to pour the wax, carefully (with oven gloves on) into your prepared jar. If you find you didn’t have enough wax, just reheat some more and pour it in. Once you’ve poured it if there’s wax left in at the bottom of the tin, you can reuse it for another candle.

Then it’s time to let your candles harden. This can take a few hours depending on the heat of your room.

Homemade Scented Candles

Once they’ve stiffened up a bit you can add ‘toppings’ as decoration. I like to dehydrate rose petals, add citrus zest or a little cinnamon powder. Then wait til they are hard before snipping off the excess wick.

Wax cleanup

It is super important you do not pour wet wax down the sink. It will harden and clog up your drains. Be really careful and conscious about cleaning up.

Any spilt wax should be left to dry and then scraped off the surface. You can reuse all this wax or small bits of wax can be put in the compost (only if it’s soy or beeswax).

Homemade Scented Candles

Once your candles have been made they’ll need to be cured for 3-4 days to let the oils settle and infuse with the wax. That’s going to create a stronger-smelling candle.

Happy crafting.

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  1. just wondering whether there is an art to selecting the size of wick to size of jar ratio , ie will these burn efficiently right down. so often you buy a candle that floods and sputters so wont all burn away!

    1. Hey, I’m sure there is an art to selecting the wick! I buy mine off trademe (supplier beautyquip) and they actually have codes and recommendations of candle size for each wick so that’s how I choose

    1. Thank you! You can use pure or synthetic essential oils but infused oil I think would lose its scent completely when put in the wax.

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