As you start a new hobby or new business idea, you have to know the amount of investment you need to make into whatever you do—whether it’s for fun or for profit, you can’t start without making a budget. So how much money does it take to make a single candle?
How much money does it take to make a single candle?
For a 20-ounce container candle with both fragrance and dye, it can cost between $10 and $60, depending on type of wax and fragrance. Most homemade candles will cost an average of $15 to make. This does not include the cost of equipment.
Before you start making your candles, it’s important to know what supplies you need to start. The following information will be based on a 20-ounce candle.
Wax: $4 to $40 per candle depending on wax type
Without candle wax, you don’t have a candle to even create, so finding your wax is the most important item as you set out on your candle making journey. There are several options to choose from in the industry, so make sure you make your choice based on what you want out of your candles or based on the price.
Beeswax is a popular choice for most homemade candles. Because it is the oldest type of candle wax, it has taken many forms in our modern age—you can get it in slabs, pre-rolled sheets, and meltable chips. Beeswax does come with a natural scent to it, which is important to know as you create your own candles. It is also a firmer wax, so if you want to add it to softer waxes to create a hybrid wax, you can. Although it is popular, beeswax can be the most expensive option on the market. Amazon has wax that varies from about $13 to $40 per 20 ounces; while Candlewic sells it for $11 and Michael’s sells it for about $26.
Paraffin wax is the other most popular choice for homemade candles, but it is on the opposite side of the spectrum from beeswax. Made from by-products of the crude oil refinement process, it is not environmentally friendly like beeswax candle wax. This wax, though, is significantly cheaper than beeswax. Amazon sells paraffin wax for around $12. Candlewic sells it for $4, while Michael’s sells it for about $7 per 20 ounces.
There are other types of wax on the market, including gel wax, which is transparent and made of mineral oil and resin; palm wax, which is made from palm oil and is very firm; and soy wax, which is made from soybean oil. All of these are also options to make your candle from, but tend to be less popular than beeswax or paraffin wax.
Wicks: 6 cents to 66 cents each, including clip
Without a wick, your candle can’t burn. Because there are different types of wicks that work with different types of waxes, it’s important to pick the right type of wick for your candle wax. You should also be sure to pick a wick that is the right size for your type of candle.
The most common type of wick is a zinc core wick. This type works the best with most types of wax, so using this type is your best bet regardless of wax type. When purchasing wicks, you can either get a roll and add your own clip at the bottom, or purchase them with the clip attached and precut. Wicks considered in this article will be precut and with the metal base.
You could use wood wicks with natural waxes, while paper core wicks are best in large container candles. For the purposes of this article, zinc core will be the wick considered.
With a 20-ounce container candle, you should need about five to eight inches of wick per candle. Candlewic sells these wicks with metal bases for about 10 cents each. Michael’s has pre-waxed 9-inch candle wicks for 66 cents each. Amazon has six-inch wicks for 6 cents each.
Containers: Free to $8 each
Since the candle in this example will be a container candle, it’s important to have your own container prepped. Since it is possible to reuse old candle containers once they have been cleaned, you could be getting this piece of your candle making puzzle for free!
If you can’t get your containers from an old candle, you’re going to need your own container. It does not matter whether it is a metal container or glass container in this case.
Candlewic sells 20-ounce metal containers for $2 each, while Amazon sells them for about a $1 each. Michael’s does not have 20-ounce container, but they have a 32-ounce jar for $6 each and 12-ounce jars for $8 each.
Fragrances: $2 to $8 for fragrance oil, $16 to $46 for essential oils
This part of your candle making journey can be the most expensive one. While you have options, many fragrances come as part of a set, so you will be purchasing the entire set of fragrances to make a single candle.
Most candle makers go with the number of 0.5 ounces of fragrance per pound of wax. That means for a 20-ounce candle, you will need about 0.625 ounces of fragrance.
Michael’s has Vanilla liquid scent, along with other liquid options, for $8 per fluid ounce. Candlewic sells their French vanilla scent for $2.75 per ounce. Amazon’s options vary, but average at around $2 to $5 per ounce.
Note that you can use essential oils for your fragrances. These tend to come in sets, though, and can be expensive. DoTERRA sells their Madagascar Vanilla essential oil for $46 per 5 mL, while Eden’s Garden has their Vanilla for $16 per 10 mL.
Dyes: varies based on set, usually around $3 to $5 per color
While not necessary in your candles, dyes can be fun and add interest to your candles. Many of these colors come in kits, so if you want several choices for your candles or want to mix your own candle dye, you can!
There are two types of dyes that you can work with when you create your candles. You can either use liquid dye or solid dye. For the purposes of this article, liquid dye will be considered. For a medium shade to your candle, you will need about 8 drops for a pound of wax. That means you can get a decent color in your 20-ounce candle for about 10 to 15 drops. To put things into perspective, 1 fluid ounce contains around 500 drops.
Michael’s has a liquid dye kit for $10 with three colors. Amazon has hundreds of options which vary in price depending on what kind of colors you want and how many you would like to use. Candlewic has 1-ounce of their colors—in this case, Arctic blue—for $4.50.
Candle Making Equipment
This is the hardest part of determining how much money goes into a single candle, as you can use this equipment for the entire length of your hobby or business. When it comes to equipment, though, you can keep things simple. Using your stove or a hot plate and a glass bowl or pan to heat up the candlewax is preferable. A wooden spoon is best to stir your dyes and fragrances, but know that once you use that equipment for candle making, you can’t use it for food or other crafts without significant cleaning. Also having a way to keep your wicks straight when you pour your candle wax is helpful.
It can be something as simple as a clothespin. You should also have newspaper or wax paper to cover your workspace for easy cleanup. If you need these items for purchase, find something that is versatile, so you can use them throughout your crafting experience.
The breakdown of costs for a candle can greatly vary depending on the choices you make, but making a standard paraffin wax container candle should only cost about $15 per candle. This is comparable to the big box stores like Yankee Candle, who sells their medium jars for $24 and their large jars for $31. Regardless of whether you are starting your own business or making candles for you and your friends, it can be a very affordable investment for gifts or for that extra income.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I sell my candles, do I have to follow any standards?
Yes, there are standards to candles being sold. According to ASTM International all containers should meet the standards for transparent and non-transparent soda-lime-silicate glass, and all labels should include warning information on them with fire safety guidelines.
Do I have to label my candles?
Labels aren’t necessary if you’re making your own candles for a hobby, but they’re imperative if you’re selling your candles. You can either make your own or purchase already printed warning labels, like these burning instructions from Candlewic.
Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here
Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.
Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.