Warm Up The Holidays With Homemade Jar Candles 

Make this recipe for homemade candles (beeswax- or soy-based) to warm up your house with holiday scents. Plus, scented candles make great gifts!

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: ansyvan/AdobeStock

Every fall and winter, my daughter and I make a couple batches of lightly scented cinnamon soy candles, as well as plain beeswax candles. We love to burn them as the days become darker into winter.

They are not only convenient to have on hand, but they also make great gifts. It’s also much more cost effective to make them versus buying them.  

Soy is a clean burning option compared to the regular wax you’ll find used in the majority of candles at big box stores. Beeswax is the very cleanest burning option but also holds the highest price tag. 

Here is my easy method of making hand-poured jar candles.  

Yield: 2 – 16 ounce jar candles 


  • Medium saucepan to use as a double boiler to heat water 
  • Heat-safe container to melt wax in (preferably with handle) 
  • Candy thermometer 
  • Soy or beeswax pellets 
  • Candle wicks (I prefer 8-inch hemp pre-waxed and tabbed wicks) 
  • Wick stickers or high temperature hot glue to adhere the wicks to the bottom of your candle 
  • Organic essential oils (optional) 
  • Stirring utensil (I prefer a long wooden kebab skewer) 
  • Clothespins 
  • Pint sized clean canning jars or other heat-safe containers to use for candle making 
  • Water, as needed 

Note: Animals can have adverse effects to essential oils, especially once the oils are heated. Please consult an expert on essential oils for more info on safe and unsafe essential oils to scent candles with if you have pets.  

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Read more: Make homemade beeswax candles from your beehives’ wax!


Line your workspace with newspaper or paper towels to catch any spillover. 

Adhere your tabbed wicks to the center of clean, dry pint canning jars. You can use high-temperature hot glue (it must be high-heat glue or it well melt when burned) or use wick stickers for this step. Use the wooden skewer to push down the tabs firmly to the bottom of your container.

Thread a clothes pin over the adhered wick and center it over the jar. 

Create a double boiler by using a medium sized saucepan. Fill pan about half full with water. In the saucepan, add a 4-cup heat-safe glass measuring cup or other heat-safe container for melting wax. Fill container with wax and warm pot to a simmer to melt wax.

Once the wax has melted somewhat and made room for more wax, add more wax. You’ll need about 4 cups melted wax to fill two pint jars. 

Different brands of wax have different instructions regarding how high to heat the wax and how low to let it cool before pouring. Please check the directions for the specific brand of wax you purchase. The particular soy wax that I buy directs me to heat wax to 165 degrees F and cool to 135 degrees F before stirring in scent, and cool to 115 degrees F before pouring. 

Once your wax is fully heated, stir in organic essential oils of choice (optional), and remove from saucepan to allow it to cool. I use 2 tsp. of cinnamon essential oils for a light cinnamon scent.  

Once cooled to advised temperature, carefully pour the wax into the prepared jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Center the wick again and leave undisturbed until completely cooled. Once the wax is firm, you can trim the wick to about 3/4 inch. 


Once candles have been burned and only have about a quarter inch of wax left, they can be cleaned out and re-used. To clean out the remaining wax, dip the emptied candle jar into a pan of hot water until the wax loosens and melts.

Once the wax has melted, it can easily be dumped and wiped out from the jar. The jar can be reused to make a new candle. 

Though, just a gentle sprinkle is enough because you don’t want to catch the flowers on fire once burned. 

I do not use synthetic colors or scents when making candles. But you can incorporate them if you so choose.  

Beeswax doesn’t hold scent as well as soy wax, so I tend to keep the beeswax candles scent-free. 

You can sprinkle dried (pesticide free) flower petals over the hot wax after pouring to add a little beauty to the candle. 

This special sneak peak has been adapted from Small-Scale Homesteading (2/23 release) with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.  

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