Making your own candles can be a rewarding pastime that can light up your life and allow your creativity to shine.

Beautiful scented candles are always popular as gifts, and your fragrant hobby might just earn you some extra cash as a bonus. According to www.cozyheartcandles, the following are the popular types of candles that enthusiasts are currently waxing lyrical about:

Pillar candles are solid and self-standing. They are typically round, but also come in square, rectangular, hexagonal and other shapes. Some may have more than one wick. Heat-resistant candle bases or stands must be used.

Floating candles have a low, stable profile, and are designed to float on water. They vary in form, from simple, smooth designs to elaborate, realistic shapes.

Votive candles are normally 6,35cm high, and are usually square or cylindrical in shape. They are burned safely in small, heat-resistant glass containers to control the liquefied wax as the candles burn.

Taper, or dinner candles as they are also called, are usually 1,9cm to 2,54cm in diameter, ranging from 15,24cm to 45,72cm tall. Tapers need to be securely set in an appropriately designed candle holder, which will keep them in an upright position for proper and safe burning.

Container or filled candles are non-flammable, heat-resistant containers filled with wax and wick. Containers such as heat-resistant glass, ceramic and pottery jars are commonly used.

Tealight candles are usually about 3,81cm in diameter and around 1,9cm high, and are wrapped in a cylindrical metal container. These small candles are used in food warmers or as candles in a tealight holder.

Gel candles are produced from gelled mineral oils or synthetic hydrocarbons. They are transparent and rubbery, and are usually poured into various shaped containers. Gels can also be made rigid enough to retain and support their own shape.

Specialty candles may be found in any three-dimensional shape imaginable. They can be moulded or sculpted by hand, and are mostly for decorative use.

Luminaria candles are for outdoor use. They are placed in a sand-filled container.

Experimenting with different formulas to create the perfect candle is part of the fun and makes this a truly rewarding hobby. Choose the type of wax you like working with and get creative! The main types of wax used for candle-making are:

  • Paraffin wax — the most commonly used type of wax, and available in most craft/hobby shops
  • Soy wax — a natural wax made from soybeans that is easily cleaned up
  • Beeswax — very easy to work with and organic, Beeswax does not need to be melted; simply wrap it tightly around a wick to make a lovely candle

 If you prefer working with paraffin or soy wax, begin the candle-making process by melting the wax in a double boiler over a low to medium heat. Simply cut the wax into small pieces and stir it with a wooden spoon until it liquefies.

The easiest way to add colour to your candles is by adding flakes of coloured wax crayons to your liquefied wax and stirring it in. Mix in aromatic therapy oils to provide the desired fragrance. Play around with quantities, but keep in mind that a small amount of these concentrated fragrances goes a long way.

Once you are happy that you have achieved the desired colour and scent for your candles, you can proceed to pour the wax into your prepared moulds. These can be ready-made candle moulds or suitable disposable containers. Choose smooth containers that are wider in the mouth than at the base, and oil the inside with vegetable oil to make it easier to extract your candles. Heat your wax to approximately 88°C for metal moulds and to approximately 55°C for glass, plastic or cardboard moulds.

Cut your wick so that it is at least 5cm longer than your candle and thread it through the bottom of your mould, sealing the outside with putty. Tie the top of the wick to a pencil and place the pencil over the top of the mould, making sure that the wick is positioned in the centre of the mould. You are now ready to pour your heated wax into your moulds.

While you are slowly pouring the wax into the mould, lightly tap the mould to get rid of any trapped air bubbles. You are now 24 hours away from the finished product, as the candles should be left to cool for 12 hours and then refrigerated for another 12 hours before being extracted from the moulds.