Making Layered Candles
It’s candle making time once again! I’m always ready for a fun DIY candle project – and this one’s all about making beautiful layered candles. It’s incredibly versatile; you can pick and choose everything from the scents to colour – once you’ve got the knack of the technique you may want to start experimenting with different shapes and sizes as well!
If you remember, we had a container candle project a little while back – so if you did that one, this one should be fairly easy for you because the general techniques will pretty much be the same. But fear not, if you didn’t follow me along on that project, this guide will be enough to get you through even if you’ve never made a candle before in your life.
Make sure you’ve got the following materials and tools, and you’re all set to go!
- glass candle container(s)
I prefer transparent glass so I can see the different layers layers as they melt (mason jars work quite well, as do most heat-resistant containers)
- three heat-resistant containers to hold wax when adding colour
- unscented soy or paraffin candle wax
- coloured candle dye chips - one dye chip per 500 grams of wax
- fragrance oil (optional)
- candle wicks sized to fit the height of the containers
Each wick should be approximately six inches higher than the top of its container. If you don’t use wicks with sustainers which keep them in place at the bottom of the containers, you may want to use wick stickers or glue dots.
- straws or chopsticks to hold the wicks in place (or wick bars if you prefer to use those)
- double boiler
- metal ladle or heat-resistant pouring pitcher
- protective gear (safety goggles, gloves, long sleeves, apron or old clothing)
- newspaper or wax paper to cover work area
Once you’re sure you have everything you need, be sure to cover your work surface and the adjacent area with newspaper or wax paper. Candle making can get a bit messy – so it’s always best to keep your work area nice and tidy.
Don’t forget to also put on your protective gear (so apron, goggles, gloves etc) – especially as you’ll be working with high heat. Just a word of warning – try wearing old worn out clothes and don’t attempt this task with your best outfit on!
Melt the first set of wax (for the first layer of your candle) in the double boiler. You can gain a good idea of how much wax you’ll need by filling the containers with the wax before you melt it. I would suggest adding about a third more than the amount it takes to fill the containers – you can always set aside any excess wax, store it, and re-melt it for your next candle making project. Since this project involves three colours, take note of how much of the first set of wax is needed to fill 1/3 of the containers. Then use that exact amount when making the second and third layer.
While your wax is melting, you can centre your wick in the glass container using an old candle makers tip. Quickly dip the bottom of the wick base into the melting wax and secure it in the centre of the glass container. Once the wax hardens, it should be set in place. Alternatively, you can use glue dots or wick stickers to keep it in place.
Making sure the temperature of your mixture has not exceeded 80 degrees Celsius, add your fragrance oil if you want to use it. Use a wooden spoon or chop stick to gently stir. Try matching the fragrance oil to the colour of the dye chip – here are a couple of ideas if you can’t think of any good combos:
- baked cookie fragrance could be matched with candle dye chips in gold, mahogany & maple
- blueberry fragrance would be lovely with blue, purple & pink dye chips
- candy cane fragrance could be paired with cerise red, cinnamon red & white dye chips
- floral fragrances can actually be complimented with a huge variety of colours such as shocking pink, bright yellow, and deep green; lime green, peach, and orange; or lavender, apricot, and coral
There really are so many options – be as creative as you want to be and explore your fragrance and colour options and much as you like!
Using a ladle or pouring pitcher, pour the wax into a separate heat-resistant container.
Tip: If you’re using a pouring container, you can blend the dye chip and melted wax in that, but remember to remove all traces of one colour from the ladle or pouring pitcher before you add the next layer of coloured melted wax.
Add the candle dye chip in the colour you want into this mixture. Stir in the dye chip wax to blend it evenly with the candle wax. I did actually recommend using 1 dye chip per 500g of wax per layer, but if you choose to use less, you can always use a smaller amount of dye chip by breaking apart the small piece with a knife or sharp blade. Or you can use the full amount of wax and save the leftover wax for a future project. Remember it’s all about trial and error and getting the exact shade you want.
After this, you should let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes – once it has got to approximately 65 degrees Celsius it’s ready for you to start pouring. Use the ladle or pouring pitcher to pour the newly coloured wax into the candle container(s).
Bear in mind, although you have already adhered the wick to the container, the hot wax may cause it to melt and come loose.
Gently hold on to the wick, but don’t pull too hard on it. Once you’ve poured in the wax, you’ll need to secure the wick once again, as it could move position in the hot melted wax. Do this with straws, two pencils, chopsticks or wick bars – essentially aim to sandwich the wick in the middle of whatever you’re using – see the picture below for an idea of what I mean here:
Be sure to position the wick(s) in the candle container(s) before the first layer of wax hardens.
Next, melt the second layer of wax, allow the wax to cool for a bit, and stir in more fragrance oil. Repeat steps 5 and 6.
Carry out the same method for the final layer of wax. Then remove the utensil used to keep the wicks in place and trim the tops of the wicks so that each is approximately ¾ of an inch above the wax.
Tip: Abstain from burning the candles for a week or two, so the wax has enough time to cure. Doing this will enable the wax to emit the most fragrant scent possible.
That’s pretty much all there is to creating beautifully coloured layered candles – something unique that stands out from the usual candle for sure!