Homemade Holidays: Crock Pot Candles

December 8th, 2009 - filed under: The Farm » Home


Growing up in my house, we always made our own holiday gifts. We were pretty poor, and I suppose it was our only option. But it was never presented to me like that (I didn’t even know what ‘poor’ was, really, and I had a stupendously fabulous childhood full of ‘thing finding’ and ‘government cheese’. But that’s another story.) It was all about crafting our caring into something unique, something personal. My mom and I made play-doh ornaments, or baskets of baked goods, or clay coffee mugs. And, I guess, the tradition has just continued.

The first holiday season that Damian and I spent together, I was a starving college student. So I thrifted the softest cashmere sweater I could find (this was pre-vegan), disassembled it, and sewed it into a pillowcase. I needlepointed ‘Damian’s Head Here —->’ into the corner. Damian, who is sort of obsessed with really soft things, loved it. It’s still on our bed.

Last year we made all our gifts together – our attempt at canning. All our friends and family got our truly terrible plum syrup, sugar-free strawberry jam, and tomato starter sauce. Hey, it was our first time! And it’s the thought that counts, right?

Anyway, there I go reminiscing. Pregnancy and the holidays have got me all nostalgic! But all of this story-telling serves a purpose: to introduce this years gift projects. First up – candle making!

How To Make Candles In A Crock Pot

All you need is some wax, some wicks + wick bases, and some candle-holders. I used soy wax because it’s vegan and I think it makes superior quality candles (just my preference, I love soy candles!). It’s available at any craft store along with a selection of other options. I used precut wicks that came in their bases, because they were really cheap. But you can also buy wick string and cut it yourself. Both are available at the craft store. For candle holders, I just used a bunch of shot glasses I’d purchased years ago for a party, and never even opened. You could also upcycle your old candle holders, or hit the thrift stores for anything from shot glasses to tea cups, whatever you can imagine can become a funky candle holder.

Optional additions include color (candle dye is available at the craft store) and smell. I used eucalyptus essential oil, but you can also buy scents specifically designed for candles (though you certainly don’t need to and can use any essential oil you’ve got). You’ll also probably want a wooden skewer for stirring hot wax (a chopstick or a length of wire, like from a hanger, would probably work just as well)

Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, set aside some time when you’ll be around the house for a couple of hours. I made these candles on Sunday afternoon, whilst cleaning the kitchen and then suggling with the husband for movie time. Just make sure you’ll be nearby and available for frequent checks. You don’t want to deal with a waxy mess (or worse!).

1) Spoon the pieces of wax into your candle holders and arrange them in the bottom of the crock pot. Don’t overcrowd and definitely don’t stack! Turn the crock to high, cover, and go do something else.


2) 20-30 minutes later you can check back. Your wax will probably be melted and you’ll probably notice your candles aren’t as full as you’d like. So carefully add more wax to each container. You may have to do this for a few rounds.


3) When the candles are as full as you like and you’ve let them get good and hot and melty, it’s time to add the essential oils. You’ll need to call for an assistant. “Assistant!”


3.5) He was very helpful. So, using a dropper add 5-15 drops of your odor-of-choice to each candle. I wanted a more mild, mellow vibe so I only used 5 drops. If you were to use color, this is where you would add the dye as well.


4) Stir it up! (note bulging belly creeping into the pic)


5) Add your wicks. Carefully insert them and make sure they’re centered. They should stay straight up on their own, so don’t worry about that.



6) Turn the crock pot off. Leave it uncovered. Go do something else.


Over the next few hours the wax will cool and harden. They’ll be hard enough to handle if you’d like to remove them after a few hours, but give them at least 6+ hours before you really toss ‘em around. They need plenty of time to get good and set.

And that’s it, just a few hours of monitoring and six easy steps gets you these adorable, customized gifts that anyone would be delighted to receive. They’re so cute, no?


Happy Holidays!

  • TeanyTinyStar

    So I finally tried making these candles! They came out awesome :) I made a couple for birthdays and I added sprinkles at the end for a birthday cake candle. I’m so excited to make more!

  • Alley

    I’m late to the party, but I actually just used this method this morning. I’m a stay at home mom on a budget and this was GREAT because I didn’t have to hover over it constantly. I used smaller mason jars so I had to adjust the timing, but they turned out great! I actually had EVERYTHING I needed on hand and didn’t need to buy a single thing. Thank you SO MUCH for making one round of my holiday presents stress free :)

  • Leslie

    These little gems look fabulous to make and give as homemade gifts to my extended family members . One question though, I do not have a crock pot or microwave, any alternative suggestions on how to melt the soy wax, thinking maybe in a baking pan on a very low oven heat…????

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Leslie – A double broiler on the stove top would definitely be your best bet. Luck! =)

  • Bonnie Crouch

    Your Great! You should put a magazine out girl! Yes your that good…..I love reading all the replies,Your amazing!
    Hugs momoffour@verizon.net

  • Raevyn

    While this is a seemingly nice idea there are some serious safety issues with this. Using glass that is not intended for candles means you have candles in containers that can break from the heat of the candle flame. When that happens, hot wax flows everywhere. When using scenting oils, it’s critical to know the flashpoint of each oil and add it only when you know the temperature of the wax is below the flashpoint. If the wax is too hot, best case scenario is that the scent immediately burns off, worst case scenario is that the fragrance oil ignites. There are many sites out there with specific, safe instructions on making candles. Candles in shot glasses are just an accident waiting to happen.

  • http://tantalizingstitches.com El at Tantalizing Stitches

    I didn’t know candle making could be so “easy”. Your tutorial is very well written and easy to follow. Love the pics and the commentary. Thanks for sharing!

  • Candace

    I didn’t have any wooden skewers but I ended up using a straw to mix it all up with. I really enjoyed this article :)

  • http://knitpickinsweetaimee.blogspot.com aimee powers

    brilliant thanks for sharing

  • Ashley Irene

    I made these last night, haven’t burned one yet, but they came out great! I had so much fun doing it. Thank you so much for the how to! I’m gonna make them for Christmas gifts for sure. I used sweet orange, peppermint and sweet orange/peppermint and they smell great.

  • Echo Mayernik

    I think these are great! I think I might do them for Christmas gifts, doing all the guys candles in coffee mugs, and the ladies candles in tea cups!

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  • Amynsengi

    this is awesome! i will definitely be doing this for christmas this yr! :) thanks for sharing

  • Cella

    have you ever thought to use crayola to give color? cheaper than dye colors.

  • http://www.naturallittlemother.com ~Natural Little Mother~

    What a great idea. I will have to try this for Christmas this year. What a fun project and a great way to make gifts.

  • http://twitter.com/pippichick Jennifer Pippin

    I’m totally doing this with my kids this year! Thank you!!

  • Kaykaynet

    Flashpoints? Now I’m scared to try this. I was so excited:(

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Crayons work great, yes!

  • http://profiles.google.com/prescottjess Jessica Prescott

    About how many shotglass sized candles can you make from that 4 lbs of soy candle wax? I just wonder how many wicks/glasses you ‘d need. It’s a really cool idea and super simple!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh man, so many! A few dozen at least. That wax goes a long way!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ICMKDEZKXXVPCDRMQ2AGIP377M Max Gregory

    Is your dog vegan too?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I’ve experimented with it but no, right now they’re not veg*n.

  • Nancl1961

    what a great idea. i’ll have to see if my assistant will help me.


    Just take a Lighter to the Candle and Wave it back and Fourth Untill you see no cracks.You have to turn the candle upside down and try not to hit the glass or it makes black marks on the glass and have to wait untill completly cooled before you wipe it off,One of them Gril starter Lighters would work the best,Good Luck.I am sure it will work on the top,Try to smooth with finger then redo it again,It should get rid og the Cracks.


    I forgot ot say don’t get it so hot that the candle is going to drip out,Just hit it a little on all sides where it’s cracked,Hope this helps you

  • Ileneasher

    I ran across this and am a tad intimidated because I don’t have 1 artful bone in my body. lol But I’m going to try it. Can I use perfume/cologne for the scents. Also, as far as using crayons for the coloring, how exactly do I do that? I’m guessing melt them and put the crayon wax in the candle wax, but how much? Thank you.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I would worry about using perfume for fear of it being flammable.

    As for crayons, I have no idea! I know it can be done but I haven’t tried it myself – sorry!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lesley-Johnson/654885211 Lesley Johnson

    Christmas presents done! Thanks to you!

  • EDuncan

    They have very cheap glasses at IKEA if anyone lives around one that would be great for this idea! They had 8 ounce drinking glasses for ONLY 59 cents a few days ago when I was there!!!!

  • EDuncan

    It is safe to an extent. My sister and I used to get candle making kits as children. We used everything in the house to make candles. We always burned them and NEVER set fire to anything from them no matter what we put the candle materials in.

  • http://amycollette.com/ Amy

    I’ve been wanting to make these and finally did yesterday. They turned out great! Thanks for one of the easiest, most satisfying craft projects ever. I’m burning one of my new candles now…

  • Flutterby9322

    You have to worry about flashpoints with a higher heat source like a stove top method. Your crockpot isnt going to get the wax hot enough to worry aboutan oil flashing. I wouldnt use perfume because of alcohol content unless you are making them wickless, and even then some of the alcohol will evaporate and change the scent.
    Also, unless its pyrex which wont tolerate the flame once it gets low or really thin glass, like a wine goblet, the glass should be fine. You really should never burn a candle down to the wick holder because it exposes the glass to higher heat (and because its usually aluminum and shouldnt be burned itself).

  • http://twitter.com/condoblues Lisa

    I like soy candles because they burn cleaner and longer than petroleum based candles.

    My mom makes soy wax candles all the time. She buys juice glasses and other containers at thrift stores for her candles. She gives them to me as gifts, I burn them and have NEVER had a flash point issue. I return the empty juice glass (one of my fav containers from her), she remakes the candle, I burn it without issue. Rinse repeat.

    My mom melts her soy wax in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. I want to try your method. Do you put water in your crockpot before adding the shot glasses with the soy wax?

  • sylvia

    thank you for your pattern to make candles this is a nice and clean way to enjoy my time

  • Hollyjcaj

    I think I’ll use small canning jars for this. I know that they can take candles burning in them and love the over all look. Great easy idea. Thanks.

  • Kat T Brat

    I use crayons all the time to color my candles. Works great if you only want a light color. For something dark I would use actual candle dye though.

  • Shogarth

    The crock pot idea is awesome, I usually make SUCH a mess! To cool mine faster I usually have a container with lots of ice and cold water to set them in. It works fast and is helpful for layering colors and scents!

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  • TJ

    What a ridiculous comment! Glass is much hardier than you obviously believe and it would take much more than a candle’s flame to make it crack. Seriously, you’re taking health and safety to the point of stupidity.

  • Paco

    Actually, it’s not ridiculous. You need to do more research and reading about things. GLASS WILL BREAK if it’s not meant to withstand heat like for example, candles (like stated above but you have neglected to read). There are certain kinds of GLASS used for these kinds of scenarios and not all GLASS can be put under the heat of an open flame. Don’t tell people that their stupid when you are actually being STUPID YOURSELF. Think before speaking. And what in the world is the word HARDIER??

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  • Deborah

    Definitely not a ridiculous comment. I had a candle that exploded because some guy started a home candle business and just used whatever glass he could find. The good news is that your local craft store likely has plenty of options – and ball jars are designed for heat as well. It’s not like there aren’t any options out there.

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  • Felicia

    I love this and just ignore the ugly comments down below people are always out to complain about something:) lol

  • Debbie

    Does the soy wax have to be the microwavable kind? or will reg soy wax flakes work?

  • AP

    Raevyn is correct about the safety issues, you have to use ASTM approved candle glass for candles because not all glassware can withstand the heat of a flame, and according to the fire department exploding candles are a major cause of house fires. Also, this blogger doesn’t even give a proper wick size, so if the wick is too big you get a big smokey hot dangerous flame.

  • canadiankollector

    What an awesome idea ! I have loved crafting since I was a young child and made lots of gifts over the years as well. Thanks for you great idea ! :)

  • julie

    just a quick scroll thru some comments leads me add a few thots:

    ref glass: shot glasses will be fine and should not be a safety concern. thin walled beverage glasses should probably not be used. coffee mugs would do great. ANY container burned down to the very bottom WILL crack.

    ref soy: if you share your home with a bird, soy is a MUST. and since birds are the proverbial “canary in a coal mine”, my rule of thumb is “if it can’t be used around my bird, it probably doesn’t need to be around me or my grandkids!”.

    ref wicks and bases: lots of commercial candles and candle making suppkies have trace lead, especially a fine lead wire to give stiffness to the wick. yep, burn that in your house! i make sure my wick cord is lead free, and don’t use metal bases. instead i fasten a leftover large glass bead to the cord and suspend the wick in the wax from a dowel laid over the mouth of the container.


  • Anonymous

    This article is frightening. Making candles is not something to take lightly. You should not slap them together & hand out as gifts. Candlemakers spend many months, sometimes a year, researching & testing before ever selling.

    Flashpoints come into play when there is a source of ignition. That would not be a crockpot. That would be an open flame.
    Wicks must be attached BEFORE wax is poured into the container.
    Wax must be weighed. Scent must be weighed. We do not work in “drops”.
    Crayons are for children, not chandlers. Do not use crayons.
    Soy is not as eco-friendly as most think. Without getting into it here, look up the method by which soy oil is extracted- not exactly “green”. Paraffin wax is simply a leftover by-product that would otherwise be discarded. So that in itself makes it “green”.
    You should not make candles in random containers. Not all glass is created equal. Containers should be ASTM certified candle glass & they should be new. You do not know if a used container has been dropped a dozen times & may have a crack you cannot yet see until it explodes….

    If you want to make candles, don’t get your instructions off of a random blog. Seek out the directions given by the manufacturers & suppliers & message boards of real chandlers.

  • Anonymous

    Then you simply got lucky.