Articles Comments

Shepherds Hill Homestead » Candle Making, Heritage Skills, Plain Lifestyle, Sarah LeAnn » Candle Making

Candle Making


She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:

her candle goeth not out by night.

Proverbs 31:18

 Here on Shepherd’s Hill, I (Sarah) make our candles by the hand-dipping method, in a large cast iron pot over a fire. I will use this page to give information and instructions on how to dip candles and also give some links to good suppliers. I hope you find this page helpful.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!


 Hand-dipped candles are made by dipping a wick into melted wax and cooling, building wax layers until you achieve a good-sized taper candle.

  •  It takes 30 to 40 dips from start to finish
  • The best weather conditions for dipping is cool, overcast and  a slight breeze – No hard wind!!
  • The temperature of the wax in important. Never let it start to bubble or boil! The hotter it is, the more dips it will require.
  • In warm weather, be sure to keep your cooling bucket iced down, to help keep the candles cool and firm.
  • Never attempt candle dipping if you are in a hurry! It takes time!!


Before you start, gather these items:

Wax and color/scent (if wanted)

Wicks and dowels( if you are dipping single candles)

Cast iron pot, matches, firewood and kindling,

Large pot or bucket of ice water (to cool candles between dips)

    A rack to hang either looped candles over or to rest dowels on. *Two chairs and two broomsticks will suffice. Set the chairs almost the broom’s length apart with backs facing each other. Rest the ends of the broom on either chair’s back, making a 2-pole rack, open in the center. See picture below:



Chair- broom rack


Step-By-Step Instructions for
 Hand- Dipping


Start . . . by melting your wax, in the pot over an open fire.  Break your blocks of wax, or old candles (remove old wicks) into small chunks and place those in your pot. *** You do not have to have the pot full of wax. Once the wax is almost melted, add warm or hot water to the pot to finish filling it.
 Just melt 10 or 15 lbs at a time depending on the size of your pot and then raise the level to the top by adding the water. The wax will melt and float on top of the water.  Once your wax is almost melted, you can add any scent or dye/crayons you want to use.
Getting your wick ready. . . .
You can either make ‘looped’ tapers or single tapers.
For looped tapers- (2 candles made together with one piece of wick), you will need to cut the wick double the length you want the candles to be, plus about 5 or 6 inches for the loop sections.
*For instance- if you wanted 8″ candles you would need to cut it at 16″ plus 5″ for the connected area, so about 21″ .
For single candles, you need to cut the length you want each candle to be, plus about 4 inches for tying it onto a dowel. Depending in the size of your pot, you can tie 4 to 7 wicks on a sturdy stick or dowel so that you can dip several candles at once. If you are dipping loop candles, you can simply dip them by hand, or use a flat, wide stick of wood to dip several. I find it easier to do them each by hand.



Looped candles
Singles on a dowel

Start Dipping….
Once your wicks are cut and ready and your wax is melted you may begin dipping your wicks! * If you are doing a large amount of wax, you can put out the fire, or keep only a small fire to one side of the pot. The wax will stay melted for several hours before it begins to skim. Once this happens you can rebuild or stoke the fire to re-melt it.
DO NOT OVERHEAT THE WAX – if you start to see little bubbles or it starts even gently to boil, douse the fire! If your wax is to hot, the candles will not make. This is why it is better to just put out the fire, once it is all melted. If this should happen, add some cold water if you still have room in your pot, or give it about an 30 minutes to cool down.




The process of hand-dipping could not be easier! Once your wax is melted, just start dipping! 🙂


The first time you really just have to coat both sides of the wick on the top layer of the wax.


After each dip in the wax, plunge the wick into your ice water to cool that layer, keeping it pulled straight as you go. The first few times it will want to curl up when it hits the water, so just use your fingers to straighten it out. Once it gets a little bigger, it will hold its shape.


*Once you pull it out of the water, you may want to wipe it dry with a rag, to avoid bubbles. If you have many wicks to do, you will not have to wipe them as the water will dry before you dip it again.




The most important thing to remember when dipping candles-






Then, hold it in the ice water for a few seconds, so the middle will stay cool!


Did everyone hear me on that?? 😉


This is key to making good candles that will make quickly and hold their shape. Why? Wax holds it’s heat every well, so the longer you hold it down in the melted wax, the more heat it is collecting in the candle. Once the middle gets soft, your candle will start to bend, and it will require more dips.


If your candles start to get soft and start bending, then you need to either submerse them into the ice water for a good 30 seconds, or hang them and let them cool in a shady place for about 10-15 minutes.




Finishing your Candles


Your candles will need anywhere from 30 to 40 dips before they will reach the size that fits a regular candle holder. You may wish to make them bigger or smaller, as per your taste. I keep a candle holder handy when I am finishing them up, so I can measure them.


Once you are pleased with their size, you can trim the ends  with a knife, so that they have nice, flat bottoms. With hand-dipping, each and every candle will vary and have a unique look. If you are making looped candles, you may want to trim them a bit to make them even in size.




Storing your candles:


Candles need a cool, dark place to stay, to avoid softening the wax which leads to bending. DO NOT store them in the freezer or refrigerator, as very cold temperatures can make the wax brittle and crack easy.


Layering them in a sturdy box, with cloth or plastic bags to separate the layers is a good way to store them.









Written by

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Filed under: Candle Making, Heritage Skills, Plain Lifestyle, Sarah LeAnn

Leave a Reply




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.