How Are Scented Candles Made?

Scented candles fill a room with relaxing, healing and calming aromas. Fill your home with floral, citrus or spicy fragrances by creating your own scented candles. Customize the scents you use for different seasons, holidays or special events, and choose from a variety of methods to add scents to your homemade candles. Homemade scented candles not only add charm and warmth to your home, but they also make thoughtful and personal gifts.

Add Fragrance with Essential Oil

Research has documented the healing properties of essential oils. Scent your candles with lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus and peppermint to create the experience of a relaxing spa retreat. Whether you are making dipped, molded or votive candles, you begin with melted wax, and that is when you add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance.

Determine the Amount of Wax to Use

Determine how many ounces of wax you need by multiplying the number of candles you want to make by the volume capacity of the container or mold you are using. For example, if your container or mold holds 4 ounces of wax and you want to make 12 candles, then you need 48 ounces of wax. Since there are 16 ounces in a pound, divide this number by 16 to determine the number of pounds of wax to purchase. In this example, 48 ounces divided by 16 equals 3 pounds of wax.

Melt the Wax

In a double boiler, melt the wax to a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • For dipped candles, make the inner pot where you place the wax tall enough to accommodate the length of the candles you want to make. 
  • For molded candles, once the temperature reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of hardening crystals for each pound of wax. 

Add Color

Add one candle dye chip for each pound of wax to dye the wax to a medium shade. So, in the example with 3 pounds of wax, you would add three dye chips for a medium shade. For deeper or lighter shades, add more or fewer dye chips.

  • For lavender-scented candles, add purple dye chips.
  • For peppermint candles, add red dye.
  • For chamomile-scented candles, add a light shade of blue dye.
  • For eucalyptus-scented candles, add an earthy green dye.

Add the Essential Oil

As a general rule of thumb, add 1/4 ounce of essential oil per pound of wax. This amount also equals 1 teaspoon. Therefore, in the example with 3 pounds of wax, you would add 3/4 ounce, or 3 teaspoons of essential oil to the wax.

Make the Candles

This process varies depending on the type of candle you are making.

  • For votive and mold candles, secure the one end of the wick to the bottom of the vessel with a drop of melted wax. Tie the other end to a skewer and rest it across the top of the vessel to pull the wick taught. Pour the wax into the vessel and allow it to cool completely.
  • For dipped candles, cut a length of wick that is 2 1/2 times longer than the height of the candle you wish to make. Fold the wick in half, and attach fishing weights to each end. Hold the wicking by the loop and dip the ends repeatedly into the melted wax and then into a bucket of ice-cold water. Continue until the candles reach the desired diameter.

Other Methods of Adding Scent

Besides using essential oils, there are other methods of adding scent to candles. The heat from the flame will release the fragrance of fresh herbs and spices, so use these to infuse scent into a homemade candle.

  • Add fresh fragrant herbs, such as rosemary or lemon verbena to the melted wax.
  • Attach cinnamon sticks vertically to the sides of a pillar candle with melted wax.
  • Add several teaspoons of ground espresso for coffee-scented candles.
  • Melt a few chocolate bars or some chocolate spread into the wax for chocolate-scented candles.