How to Make Dipped Candles at Home with Kids

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I always assumed that candle dipping (making dipped candles) was too complicated or messy.  But it is easy!  This year we decided to try making dipped candles together to use for our Thanksgiving table.

Homemade Dipped Candles hanging on a hook
Making candles at home made me feel like we had been transported back in time.

Candle Dipping with Kids

Add an extra special touch to your holiday table this year…dip your own candles!   This is a fun project to do with kids, and they will take great pride in contributing to the holiday table.

What age is best for candle dipping?  Since it involves heat/stove, adult supervision is required, but if you have a preschooler that can follow directions they can participate.  Older kids can get creative in how they dip their candles and what the finished homemade candle will look like!

Recycle Old Candles for Wax

You could purchase new wax at the craft store, but for this project I dug through my cabinets & pulled out old candles we don’t use any more. I happened to have green, red, & white candles that I chopped up for melting.     If you only have white and you want colored candles, just throw in some old crayon bits in whatever colors you want during melting!

Candle dipping supplies you will need:

  • Wax
  • Candle wicks (purchased at craft store, costs about $2.50 for 15 ft), cut into 10″ lengths
  • Empty clean large soup cans
  • Hanger & clothespins
  • {optional} Crayons for coloring wax

Steps to make dipped candles at home:

1.   Chop up your wax if you’re using old candles.  No need for precision here…just chopped enough so the pieces fit into the cans.

chopped up old candles - red white and green - to be used for candle dipping
This is what our chopped up candles looked like. The colors were festive!

2.   Place soup cans in a large sauce pot (use 1 can for each color).   Fill cans 1/3 full of cool water.   It seems like wax & water would not work in the cans, but the wax floats as it melts & having water in the can makes the wax melt better.

Fill sauce pan 1/2 full of water & turn heat on Low.   Add candle wax to cans, & add crayons to white wax if you are using it.   Keep heat on Low and allow wax to melt completely.

3.   Cover counter with plenty of newspapers.   Fill extra soup can or other disposable container with cold water (we kept a few ice cubes handy to keep the water cool).     Dipping candles is all about building layers, & you will alternate dipping your candle into the wax & cold water to set each layer.

4.   Once your wax has completely melted, set up your dipping station.

preschooler making candles at home by dipping wax into cans that sit in pan of water
This was my son’s favorite part of making candles.

5.   Fold your 10″ wick in half, so you will make two candles at one time.   Dip the wicks into wax, then into the can/cup of cold water.   Repeat this process many times, and continue to do so until your candles are as thick as you want them.

We found that the thinner candles burned very quickly, and the big, fat candles would last a whole meal.

Drape the finished candle pair over a hanger & clip with a clothes pin so they stay in place.   Allow to cool completely.   Snip the wick in half  so that you now have two candles.

homemade dipped candle in a glass on our table
This is one of our finished homemade dipped candles!

Since our candles were lumpy on the bottom & uneven in size, they wouldn’t fit into candle holders.   I took some votive holders & larger glass vases and  filled them with brown rice.   I stuck the candles into the rice & they stayed upright!

I loved this project because it’s fun for all ages, and no matter how long you dip, you will end up with functional candles!   My son liked making the smaller candles, while I thought it was fun to see how thick I could make mine.

More Fun Things to Do with Kids Inspired by Making Candles at Home

  • Explore candle making history in your town.  If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, check out all the candle dipping fun at Log Cabin Village.
  • We have a huge collection of fall activities for kids that pair nicely with homemade dipped candles!
  • Here are some super cute Thanksgiving craft ideas that the entire family can enjoy.
  • We explore how to make wax melts for a different kind of “candle” experience.
  • For jar candles, follow along to make a mod podge mason jar.
  • And if dipping is a little too complicated, try candle rolling — this is good candle making activity even for the youngest crafters.



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