Starting a new hobby or a new business—or both—can sometimes be daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing. Regardless of what you intend out of making your new homemade candles, there are mistakes that you can avoid before you even begin.
Mistakes to Avoid When Making Candles
- Not changing your wick size depending on your fragrance oil.
- Not measuring your fragrance oil.
- Starting with too many supplies for your business.
- Pouring your hot wax too early.
- Starting too big with your candles.
- Not waiting for the candle to completely cure on its own.
- Moving your candle too early after pouring your wax.
- Not using the proper candle making supplies.
- Not test burning your candles.
Now that you know the possible mistakes, it’s important to know how to circumvent them. What can you do to make sure you don’t make these mistakes when making your candles? Read on to find out how you can mitigate any issues that you may face before you even start on your first batch.
Not changing your wick size depending on your fragrance oil
There has always been a bit of trial and error when creating candles, and that doesn’t end with your wick size. To make sure your candle burns safely and well, you need to discover which wick size works best for your candles—not just your wax, but your fragrance.
Don’t be afraid to test your candles and find out which works best for what you’re creating. You may need to experiment—don’t be afraid to do so! Every fragrance oil functions in wax differently, and every wax burns differently. You may find that you can’t just follow the standard list of how to make your candles—you may have to alter your process as you go.
Not measuring your fragrance oil
Regardless of what kind of wax you are using, you should always measure out the amount of fragrance oil you want to include in your candle. Not putting enough fragrance oil means your candle will not smell as fragrant, and putting too much oil doesn’t just overwhelm the scent throw—it can actually cause the candle to burn wrong and cause potential issues.
For most waxes, one ounce per pound of wax is the norm. This can sometimes change, though, depending on the type of wax you use. In most cases, wax manufacturers will list that information on their wax products so you know exactly how much wax you should include in your candle.
Starting with too many supplies for your business
While this is specifically for those looking to start a candle making business, personal hobbyists may also quickly find themselves overwhelmed when purchasing too many supplies at the start. When starting your business, it’s important to get a handle on your inventory and make sure you’re making a few things at a very high quality. For hobbyists, it’s easy to get bogged down by the sheer number of choices, so make sure you’re not wasting your money and your time and be discerning about your supplies. Learn how to make one candle very well, and then you can branch out.
Pouring your hot wax too early
Pouring hot wax is already dangerous enough, but you should be waiting for it to cool somewhat before placing it into your mold or container. If it is too hot, especially with soy wax, it can shrink too much and cause holes in your wax. If this happens, you should reheat the candle wax with a hair dryer or heat gun to remove the holes in your candle.
Starting too big with your candles
If you’re just starting out, you may have huge ideas about what kind of candles you can make. Don’t get too large with your first candle—if you are just starting to make candles, making smaller ones first will help you get the hang of placing wicks, mixing fragrances, and knowing how long it takes for your wax to start to cure. Once you get the hang of smaller candles, you can move on to larger ones.
Not waiting for the candle to completely cure on its own
When you create a candle, to fill the mold or container, you have to melt down the wax. As soon as that is completed, though, so many candle makers do not let the candle harden, or cure, long enough. You have to have patience when creating your candles—if you burn your candles too early, they do not respond as well to the wick burning and it is impossible to judge the scent throw, as it may not be the true way that the candle should burn.
While it depends on the wax how long you should wait, beeswax takes about ten days to cure, while soy takes about fourteen. Paraffin wax is usually cured within three to five days. Do not freeze your candles to try to get them to cure—this will only crack your wax from trying to harden faster. Take the time to let them cure themselves.
Moving your candle too early after pouring your wax
While this may seem like an obvious answer, you should keep your candles still after pouring your wax. If you move it too quickly, your candle could crack, just like it would if you froze it. Create your candles in a place where you can leave them to let them cure properly. Make sure you don’t try to move the wick after you pour your wax, either—it will result in curing improperly. Instead, tie your wick off or clip it, so it does not move while you pour your wax.
Not using the proper candle making supplies
You may find those YouTube videos that convince you that crayons can be used for candle making, but that’s furthest from the truth. Crayons are not created to melt or color, and should be avoided, as they will even clog wicks. Thin glass jars can explode when they get too hot, so make sure your containers are thicker than a wine glass to stay safe. Plastic containers will melt when the wax is placed in them. Food coloring will not mix in with wax, as food coloring is water soluble, and wax is oil based. Flammable material placed in and around candles can cause fires, while glitter within your wax can clog your wick. Metal tins without a sealer will cause wax leaks as they burn. Make sure you take the proper precautions and don’t simply follow those YouTube or Pinterest tutorials!
Not test burning your candles
Whether you’re deciding to sell your candles or simply want to make some at home, you should always test burn your candles. Don’t just burn your candle for a short period of time—make sure you burn the whole thing. If it burns completely with no issues, you know your customers or gift receivers will have a great functioning candle. If it does not, you can address any issues that it could create.
While there may be several mistakes to avoid when making your candles, all of them are easily avoidable by taking your time, purchasing the right supplies, and experimenting with your candle wax. The longer you spend on creating your candles before you try your hand at selling them just adds to their quality—from both you as a business and you as a person. That quality and care will translate to whoever you’re providing the candle to, whether it’s as a gift or as a profitable business.
Frequently Asked Questions
What legal requirements do I have to follow when selling candles I made at home?
There are several legal requirements to selling your homemade candles, including making sure your candles are labeled properly. Labels should include all your business information, information about the candle such as fragrance and wax type, and a fire safety warning. You should also consider looking into your local government to see if there are any business licenses required before you sell your candles.
Do I need insurance before I sell my candles?
While insurance is not required for most businesses, if you intend on making this a profitable business, you should consider protecting yourself with insurance. Not only will it protect you if you have a fire or destructive situation in your home, but you should get liability insurance in order to protect your business from any issues shared by customers.
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.