If you’re here, chances are you have been learning about making candles by hand. Perhaps you’re watching a YouTube video about how people made things before everything was mass-produced. Maybe you went to a state fair or some other community event where handcrafted goods were on display. Whatever the case, you’re interested and the idea of making your own candles so you don’t have to buy them seems like a good money-saving strategy. Unfortunately, as far as saving money goes, hand-making candles isn’t a viable plan unless you’re making many candles. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other rewards for making candles.
The pros and cons of seeing if candle making is cheaper than buying is:
- 1: Pro: It Can Be Fun and Rewarding
- 2: Pro: It Can Be a Fun Family Project
- 3: Pro: You Can Make Scents that You Can’t Find Anywhere Else
- 4: Con: You Probably Don’t Use Candles Often Enough
- 5: Con: Materials and Labor are More Expensive than Simply Buying a Candle
- 6: Con: It Will Take Up a Lot of Space
Pro: It Can Be Fun and Rewarding
I don’t mean to come off as negative. Candle making has other benefits besides money. It’s easy to go to the store and get something; but things are often better if you make them yourself. You get that sense of accomplishment that you get when you create something that you don’t when you simply go to the store. This is the same sense of accomplishment you get when you perfect a new recipe in the kitchen or build something in the garage.
Plus, if you’re into it. It can be fun. Not every hobby needs to have a monetary motive. If making candles makes you happy, then make yourself some candles. Everyone needs to have some hobbies and projects where you create something. No matter how small, it has value, even if that value can’t be measured in dollars and cents.
Pro: It Can Be a Fun Family Project
Making candles can be a good way to bond with your children. When kids get older, it can be hard to find arts and crafts projects to do with them. At a certain point, kids give up coloring books and paintings to put on the fridge. This can be disheartening since art is something that both parents and kids understand, even if it is just simple sketches and paintings.
Often, kids take up hobbies that, while not harmful, can be inscrutable to parents. If you’ve ever seen a kid get into something like Dungeons & Dragons, you know what trying to decipher random hobby jargon is like.
Bringing in a new artistic hobby that might pique their interest could be a way to get closer to them. Don’t think it will just work for girls, either. Some boys might like it if you choose the right scents.
It can also be a good science project. If you homeschool your kids, finding good projects is a constant challenge. For older kids, candle making can be a good chemistry lesson. If your kid goes to a regular school, this can be a good science fair entry. I cannot promise it will bring home a ribbon, but it will fulfill the assignment. It will also teach your kids emergency preparedness and fire safety.
Candle making can even be good for a family gathering. Have everyone go home with a candle they made. Though I must stress that since you’re working with hot wax and chemicals, this isn’t a project for younger children.
Pro: You Can Make Scents that You Can’t Find Anywhere Else
One of the drawbacks of store-bought candles is that there’s a lot of focus on flora; scents. Sure, lavender is fine, but what if you want something different? For good or ill, markets stock the most popular scents. If you want to get into candle making, why make candles that you can already buy at Wal-Mart? Once you’ve done a few practice candles with the conventional scents, you can try something a bit more daring
Con: You Probably Don’t Use Candles Often Enough
A reason you might think it’s cheaper to make your own candles than it is to go buy them is that it’s cheaper to make your own food than it is to order out. However, eating is something you do every day, multiple times a day. There’s always a need for food, so the increased costs of going to restaurants do add up. This thought process can easily make sense in other do-it-yourself projects if you’re making/repairing items you use daily.
In contrast, think about when you use candles. Average people use them when the power goes out, on special family occasions, or when there’s been a disaster in the kitchen or bathroom and the smell needs to be purged. Under average circumstances, a single candle can last for months at a time. In order to justify making candles to save money, you would have to be going through numerous candles in a short timeframe.
Con: Materials and Labor are More Expensive than Simply Buying A Candle
Part of the reason candle making isn’t a good money-saving project comes down to the cost. The candles you see at places like Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart are made with materials purchased in bulk. Not like, “A big box from Costco or Sam’s Club” bulk. More like “an entire truckload” bulk. Since you’re an average hobbyist who doesn’t have room for an entire truck full of candle making materials, you’re going to be paying more for your materials than grocery stores and candle factories do. Let’s look at some materials. A five-pound bag of wax can run about $20. Depending on the kind you’re getting, wicks can run between $4-$11. This is, admittedly, easier to get because they sell the wicks in large packages. Depending on where you get it, fragrances can cost about $3-per-ounce. A case of candle jars can run between $9-$20.
Meanwhile, a candle from a store or a candle company can cost between $9-$20. You’re easily spending twice as much trying to make one candle. While this might be a money-saving strategy if you’re making numerous candles, if you just make a few, there are better ways to save money.
Candle factories are automated. In factories, candles are made rapidly in minutes. Making candles at home is less efficient. It can take a few hours to make a candle, and then you have to let it “cure” (let it sit for 24-48 hours). In all this time, you could go to the store.
Plus, you need to factor in mistakes. Your first few candles will probably have a few. You may end up with some candles that don’t work. It will take practice to get this right and, like all practice that requires supplies, it will cost time and money.
Con: It Will Take Up a Lot of Space
Craft projects have a major drawback in that they take up a significant amount of space. You have to find a way to store all your candle making supplies when you aren’t using them. If you have children or pets, you’ll have to store your supplies on high shelves (this can be a problem if you’re short, like I am). It can also be a tough thing to negotiate if you have roommates or a spouse, since everyone has their own hobbies, they need storage space for.
When making a candle, you’ll need a table. This can either be a dining room table or if and when the dining room table is taken up, you’ll need a table that you can fold out. Either way, you’ll have to negotiate with anyone you live with, unless your house has a dedicated craft room.
Are there ways I can sell my candles for money?
Yes. There are sites like Etsy where people put up their craft projects. You can find any arts and crafts creation you can think of on these types of sites. However, the market is crowded. There are a lot of people making candles. Since they are making candles by hand, they’ll be more expensive. Customers will often choose the cheaper option. You’ll be in the same boat if you try to make money. In short, don’t expect it to be a profit center. Just be happy to have a hobby you enjoy.
Should I get kits for my first few candles?
It can’t hurt. Kits come with things pre-measured, and they have precise instructions. So there’s less room for error. Kits are great teaching tools, but they are slightly more expensive.
Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here
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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.