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!

50 Comments to Homemade Holidays: Crock Pot Candles



December 8, 2009

ohmygoodness, these are perfect for gifts!
i’ve been overwhelmed knotting bracelets lately – i think i’ll have to go out and find me some soy wax. :)
i’m excited! although i personally don’t need any more candles, haha. i’ve way too many in my room… it’s set off the fire alarm. oy vey.



December 8, 2009

I’m with you on the superiority of soy candles. I think they’re less sooty, and the last time I had a pleasantly scented soy candle, I would sometimes use the (relatively cool) wax of a recently extinguished candle to seal and moisturize my chapped knuckles.



December 8, 2009

What a cute idea! I love how simple these are to make- I need to do this!


Amanda Mae

December 8, 2009

I love it! Thanks for sharing… Just came across you blog, I’m loving it!



December 8, 2009

OOOH I like this method. Last year, using all of those same supplies, I made them using the double-boiler method. It was messy and difficult to pour the wax from the pot into the candle holders. This seems much cleaner and easier. Do you know if this would work with wax from old candles as well?



December 8, 2009

This is so clever! My friend loves vintage/funky glasses, and I’ve been scouring antique shops for her Christmas gift. Now I think I might make her a vintage glass candle collection. Thanks for the idea! I’m also new to your blog, and love it :)



December 8, 2009

I loveloveLOVE this idea. I have a collection of shot glasses that never see the light of day and some essential oils I’ve been wanting to use, so all I need is the wax and wicks! Brilliant!

Thank you for inspiring me. I truly want to be more crafty (I threaded popcorn and cranberries and plan to try the applesauce/cinnamon ornaments this week…that’s a start) and this is just easy enough to continue a trend. :o )



December 8, 2009

I love it! About all we can afford to do is bake for Christmas gifts this year, but this might actually be cheaper – ha!



December 8, 2009

I may have to do that for next year’s presents. This year between the wedding and the upcoming Honeymoon, we don’t have a lot of time. But, I did get Feed 100 bags from Whole Foods to serve as gift bags for my family members. I feel a bit better putting new and probably Disney World things in them. :)



December 8, 2009

Ooooo Candlemaking is fun to do! When I read the title I thought, “Wax in the crockpot!? My mother would kill me if she saw me doing something like that!” and than I finished the entry. Thanks for the fun idea Sayward. I may just make my own candles as part of my favors for my wedding now! :-)



December 8, 2009

Wait, I just realized you said “this years gift projects.” Projects… as in plural. You have more?!!?? Yay!!



December 8, 2009

Speaking of gifts I see you have an amazon.com wish list…which includes a book I’m reading. Don’t get the kingsolver book ;-)



December 9, 2009

@ Kathryn – Yes, take a break from knotting! =D Or, get these set up and going and you can bracelet-make while they’re going. Multitask, ha!

@ akeeyu – Totally less sooty. And that’s a great idea to use them on chappies – I never would have thought of that.

@ Crystal – Yeah, so cute and SO simple!

@ Amanda Mae – Yay, and welcome to the site!

@ Jackie – All the pouring would totally freak out the OCD inside of me. What if I spilled?!! This is much easier, and so much gentler on the nerves, haha.

@ Stella – Hey, I’m glad to share. Welcome to the blog!

@ Kelly – I know, I always want to craft so much more than I actually get to. Hooray for stringing popcorn and cranberries though, that’s just about the most adorable thing ever. =)

@ sarah – Nothing wrong with baking – who doesn’t love delicious winter treats?!

@ Courtney – Oh CONGRATULATIONS! So exciting!

@ Salekdarling – What a great idea! These would make such special, customized wedding favors. =) (and CONGRATS!)

@ sarah – Oh yes, stay tuned . . .

@ Kate – Really? Why not? Do share!



December 9, 2009

Because I will gift it to you for chrismahaunakwanzaka, that’s why!


canvas art

December 12, 2009

Hi there, this will be great to try out for the Christmas period, I love canbdles, thank you for shaaring this info, jo



December 14, 2009

@ Kate – Ack! *blushing fiercely*

I totally read that wrong – I read it as “Don’t get that book, it’s not worth the read.” Sorry! I am tacky and embarrassed now!

@ canvas art – You’re welcome. =)


Sleepy bird

December 14, 2009

it is gross what are in candles. many have petroleum bases. soy is the way to go. as a suffer of headaches soy candles are all I can burn. I swear there is a link between candle burning buy product and triggering of headaches. I will try you method to make my own soothing lavender non-headache inducing candles thank you!



December 15, 2009

@ Sleepy Bird – Lavender would be so lovely. Good luck with the candle-making. I hope they’re easier on your allergies!


Laura O

December 16, 2009

I made four candles last night, but with beeswax from a local beekeeper. The wax cracked as it cooled, so they don’t look as spectacular as I imagined, but sometimes that’s how homemade goes, right? Also, I used long wicks which wouldn’t stand up straight, so I had to prop them up between a couple of knives balanced across the tops of the jars. I have several other jars that are too tall for the crockpot so tonight I think I’ll try using a hot water bath!


Shelly R

December 16, 2009

For coloring the candles-do you use regular food coloring??



December 16, 2009

I never would have thought to use a crock pot to heat the wax. I just purchased a kit on amazon that had a pouring pot and palm wax etc. fantastic! I used it with soy wax, fragrance, and color I got for free off freecycle and I used empty cleaned gravy jars and covered the lids with fabric circles (Like for gifts from a jar)

for Salekdarling: for your wedding shot glass candles get some glass etching stuff and you can put the bride and grooms names and the wedding date on them for your favors.



December 16, 2009

Oh my hunny just said baby food jars would work great for this and you could do fabric on the lids too. Also if you use an old chopstick to poke the wick into the wax to put the flame out you will have no smoke from “blowing” it out just be sure to pull it back up before the wax hardens



December 16, 2009

Thanks for such a great idea. I think I will be doing this for gifts. Also, thanks on the tip about pushing the wick into the wax to put it out, the main reason I didn’t burn before was the after effects.



December 17, 2009

Just saw this on tipnut.com. This is really clever, inexpensive, and I might be able to do this with out making a big mess. Good idea. I liked Nadine’s idea of using baby food jars. I used to have a lot of those, but my youngest is 21 and my grandsons are 11, 10, and 7. Good idea about the smoke. Thanks alot



December 17, 2009

This is a wonderful idea! Now I’m going to have to get a crock pot. Thanks for all your great posts.



December 17, 2009

I just came upon your blog, and I’m so glad that I did! Such amazing ideas–thank you! After bookmarking 5 of your posts, I decided it was better to just become a regular follower… :)



December 17, 2009

This is awesome! Unfortunately I gave away most of my candle making materials on craigslist due my disdain of the conventional way of candle making. Craft store here I come again. I have a crockpot thats been unopened for 2 years. Now I have a great reason to break it open!



December 20, 2009

No water in the crockpot?



December 20, 2009

I notice you’re using microwavable wax. Why is the crock pot an improvement over using the microwave? Not being snarky… I’m honestly curious.



December 20, 2009

Looks like the kids and I have something to do over the holiday break.I went to the local craft store this evening and bought all the stuff we need to do this.



December 21, 2009

Thanks so much for all the input and feedback guys! Just to answer a few questions:

@ Shelly R – You cannot use food coloring because it won’t distribute evenly. You have to buy candle coloring, but it’s really cheap at the craft store.

@ Heather – Nope, no water necessary. =)

@ Jooky – Haha, it’s a great question. I guess mostly because the majority of people wouldn’t be using microwavable wax, and this technique should work with all waxes.

But for me, I just hate the microwave and avoid using it at all costs. I much prefer the slow heat of this method and would worry about things getting to hot and splattering in the microwave. But I freely admit my prejudice. =)

Thanks again everyone! I’m so glad so many of you will be trying it out!



December 21, 2009

I’m a manly man but sometimes I like to smell like a different man..I’m joking. But I want to buy all this stuff for My lady friend and make it with her as a gift , May I ask for someone more savvy than myself to suggest a shopping list for this project? Thanks.


Victor Westmann

December 21, 2009

That’s exactly what I wanted to do! Too bad here in Brazil things are so complicated or expensive… when not both. Very nice and simple article and I loved your assistant!



December 21, 2009

My husband found your site over the weekend (especially this blog about the candles) and we went straight out and bought the very same items. I have to say I LOVE how easy & FUN (cannot state enough the amount of fun, making things are) this is to do! We have made candles for our class instructors and classmates and now family for Xmas later this week. This is something I will continue to do throughout the year as everyone loves candles that are specially created for them. :) Thank you so much for your ideas, and I am a newly devoted follower.



December 21, 2009

Just found your blog via Lifehacker. I love this idea and will subscribe to see what other great ideas you have!


Dallas Wiebelhaus

December 21, 2009

lol , This is a really popular article , You’ve inspired allot of women and men. gratz and thanks.



December 22, 2009

I found this little piece of awesome via Lifehacker and had to try it! Michael’s (Where I got my supplies) didn’t have a great variety of containers, but it worked.

Just a note of warning: If you happen to get any containers with a spout (a miniature watering, lets say), then put a small piece of aluminum foil over the mouth of the spout to prevent the wax from leaking out.

Anyway, I found some cool miniature coke-cola bottles at a thrift store. They make awesome candles.

Thanks for the tip, my family is sure to love them!


Jim Cosby

December 22, 2009

Question: I have a ton of old his cologne and her perfume laying around, could I use drops of old cologne/perfume to scent the candles? Idea: I also inherited a ton of shot glasses from different states that would be perfect for this!



December 22, 2009

By the way, a question and comment. First, cool photo of your dog. Is that Harley the Happy Dragon or Crash Bang Boom?

Question: Why use the oil scents? Why not use the wax scent bricks? I can see the multipurpose use for the oils (Baths, candle making, lots of stuff) and I can see why it would be cleaner; But is the oil more potent than the wax scents?



December 22, 2009

@ Dallas – This would be such a fun gift! You will need: Candle wax (I like soy wax), wicks of the correct length (depends on your container of choice), wick bases (will come with the wicks if you buy pre-cut, which I did), scent, and color. All of these are available in the same corner of any craft store, which makes it pretty easy. Then you need to get the containers of course. I used shot glasses, which you can get cheap at a thrift store. You can also find old wine goblets, tea cups, all sorts of stuff! Or you can just buy new candle containers, also available at the craft store. Luck!

@ Victor Westmann – Thanks! He is such a good helper. =)

@ Quinn – Yay, I’m so glad you’re getting so much use out of it! Have fun with all the holiday crafting and gifting!

@ boliyou & Dallas Wiebelhaus – Thanks!

@ Michael – Thanks for the tip, that’s good to know. And the coke bottles sound awesome!

That particular hound is Crash Bang Boom (Crash for short). As for scents, I use the oils because I already own them and it just means I have to buy less. There’s no difference that I know of, and I’m sure the candle-specific scents would be just as good.

@ Jim Cosby – I don’t have any experience, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. I say give it a try! How fun to have a Drakkar or CK1 scented candle, haha. If it doesn’t work, you can always just turn the crock pot back on and add more essential oil once they’re soft again. =)



December 23, 2009

Awesome! This looks so easy (and no mess – yay!). Thanks!



December 25, 2009

So I did this today with two old teacups I found at a thrift store. I got them all done and left them to set while we went to celebrate Christmas with my hubby’s family. When we got home, the candles have a little crater in them near the middle next to the wicks (off to one side, not around the wicks). Any ideas as to what might have caused this? The teacups aren’t very big but are obviously bigger than shot glasses. Is it because they’re wider?



December 25, 2009

If someone is concerned about making a mess of the crock pot, you can buy food grade liners. I happen to use EZPans, and I’ve seen some by Reynolds in the store. Works for food, or wax :)



December 25, 2009

As I thought about my trouble with this more last night, I realized that maybe heat got trapped in the airspace beneath the bottom lip of the teacups causing them to stay warmer in the middle and melt off wax as the rest was cooling?



December 28, 2009

@ Amy – You’re welcome!

@ Emily – Yes, craters are a problem with the wider candles. It just has to do with the way wax dries. Easy to fix though, you just need to heat up a bit more wax and then add it to the crater. It’ll cool seamlessly with the candle and cover up the hole. Luck!

@ Timothy – Thanks for the tip!



January 3, 2010

I just came across your blog because I was searching for an easy way to make candles. I want to make a personalized housewarming present for a friend of mine. I can’t wait to do this!! Thank you for posting this! And I love your blog :-)



January 4, 2010

@ Liz – Thanks, I’m so glad you like the blog. =)

Good luck with the candle making!


Silver Harvest Candles

January 10, 2010

Awesome ideas. Love the candles they all look great



May 4, 2010

@Nadine, I’m a bit behind on your comment for me but that is a great idea! Thank you!



May 27, 2010

Great HINT for coloring. We use broken crayons. Just grate them and melt them in the wax.