The materials required for candle making vary depending on the type of candle, but there are some basic supplies necessary for any project. All candles require some type of wax, a place to melt the wax, a wick, and a mold or container to cool the wax in. Fragrances and dyes are desirable supplies for creating varied and customized homemade candles. A thermometer is also useful to have for determining when the melted wax is at an appropriate pouring temperature.
The wax used to make wax candles is the most basic candle supply, and perhaps because it is so basic, a wide array of products have been made available for candle makers. The most popular and least expensive type is paraffin wax which is made from a petroleum base and comes in a variety of colors and forms. Natural wax products such as soy and beeswax vary in their ease of use as well as their price. Hybrid waxes are a combination of paraffin and natural waxes that tend to retain scents well and offer less shrinkage during the cooling process. Gel wax, made of a combination of mineral oil and polymer resin, is becoming increasing popular for creating candles that have a transparent look.
Specific candle supplies are required during the melting process to ensure a high quality product. Candle wax should be melted in a double boiler or a specially designed wax melter. It is wise to wear a sturdy pair of gloves when melting wax to protect against burns. Thermometers are also important tools because the best results are attained when the wax is poured at precisely the temperature recommended by the manufacturer.
Candle wicks are essential candle supplies and will affect how long a candle burns, how the wax will melt, and the size of the flame. They come in different sizes, shapes, and materials. When selecting the wick, it's important to select one that is compatible with the wax, container, and fragrance being used. Wick tabs are also useful candle supplies. These metal discs are designed to attach to the base of the wick, and candle, to both provide stability and prevent a fire by stopping the flame from burning beyond the tab.
When purchasing candle supplies, it is important to have the finished product in mind. Some candles are made in a mold while others are poured directly into a container such as a glass or ceramic jar. Candle molds are usually available in aluminum, polyurethane, and polycarbonate and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A self-contained candle can be poured into almost any non-flammable container.