DIY Wedding - Wedding Candles

April 2012

Table decorations alone can soon add up to a larger portion of the wedding budget then first anticipated - vases, flowers, candles, decorative sand, mirrors, bottles, whatever look you're after, you'll soon realise you need a set for every table. The table decorations can also produce fantastic detail and artistic wedding photography shots.

Another issue is size - the table decorations need to feel substantial, and remain a centre piece even with bottles of wine and water scattered around. We settled on having a set of three objects of varying height and size, two different vases with decorative sand and candles, and a vintage water mineral bottle with a tall rose for height.

Already totaling around £200 for vases, bottles, and decorative sand for twelve settings - the cost of large candles soon started to take the table decoration budget beyond our initial penciled figure. Twelve 25cm tall candles at £15 each wouldn't leave anything in the budget for any table flowers or smaller candles.  This is where the idea to create our own candles began to grow... and it grew into hand making our own assortment of various sized - colour matched - candles.

You'll need the following to create your own candles at home:

  • Blended Paraffin Wax
  • Flatwick Cotton Core (different wicks work with different sized moulds and wax types)
  • Moulds
  • Mould Putty (This helps seal the wick into the mould while the wax is liquid)
  • Cocktail sticks or similar to centre and support the wick
  • Candle wax dye
  • Double Pan Set or Bain-Marie (never melt wax directly)
  • Thermometer

We simply googled "candle wax" and ended up using a company called ( - No reference to "Fork Handles" on the website. After making an online enquiry they were very friendly and helped me understand the supplies I needed to create my own candles.

We ordered three round pillar moulds of varying height, 90cm, 165cm and 240cm, 20kg of wax, and 15m of flatwick - the total cost of all the supplies was around £100, which made 12 of each size of mould. What pushed up the price for us, was the addition of having colour matched dye. We posted off a swatch sample and Pantone number which was used to try and create a wax colour to match the bridesmaid dresses. Unfortunately, they did struggle to match the colour of our seafoam dresses, but we were fortunate that the colour matched our hanging tissue paper pompoms.

You may be able to pick up from a local pound shop the tools needed to melt wax, I was lucky enough to borrow a Ban-Marie previously used for wax and bought a £1 cappuccino thermometer from my local pound shop. Whatever you choose to melt your wax, you need to consider safety, and never leave melting wax unattended - as the melting point for wax is around 80 degrees, there is a higher flash point where it could possibly ignite. But if you take the wax of the heat soon after it has all melted, and are cautious when pouring the hot wax into the moulds, you will be fine - you could even consider wearing leather gardening gloves from your local DIY store.

I've outlined the basic steps for candle making below, to give you an idea of the process involved, and whether you consider the time involved will give you the same financial savings.


Heat the wax and colour slowly, never melt wax directly, use a Double Pan Set or Ban-Marie. It is considered to be safer to melt wax on an electric element rather than gas, due to the naked flames and potential of the wax to reach it's flash point.


While watching the wax melt you can setup the mould with the wick and mould putty. You use the mould putty to hold the wick in place and fill the hole, without it the wax will simply pour through the mould. Position the moulds where you can leave them to cool, and a in a safe place.


Pour the wax safely into the moulds, do this slowly and try to pour down the wick as this will create fewer bubbles which can end up setting in the final candle. Any left over wax will be used to fill the voids that are created when the wax hardens - this is especially important when using coloured wax, as you ideally want to use the same degree of coloured wax when finishing the candle.


Depending on the size of the candle, a large void will be created, this is due to the wax setting.  You can poke this while it's setting to make sure all the bubbles come out.


You will need to prick the base of the void with a pin a few times, this will create something for the fresh wax to hold on to, and pour in more melted wax to fill the void. Do not pour the wax beyond the base of the candle already set, or this will be seen when the candle is removed from the mould. Repeat step 4 and 5 until no more wax can be poured in.


Once completely cooled, you can place the candle in the fridge for a few hours or over night, as this will help when you try to remove the candle from the mould. With a few taps on the side, it should eventually slide out.


If you need to, you can heat up a flat surface and try and level the base of the candle. This can be quite tricky, if you intend on setting the candles in decorative sand, you can skip this step... which is what I chose to do.

The process of candle making is extremely therapeutic and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to setup and melt the wax, and a good few hours to set and repeat filling the voids. If you target making one set of candles a day, you'll be done within two weeks - and at the end of it, you'll have candles which are the colour you want, at a fraction of the cost of the large candles alone.

The beauty of candle making is any old candles can be melted back down and made into new candles, again and again. You can even add fragrances and objects into the wax while it's setting. So after your wedding, you'll have a big box of candles, or depending on how you personalised them (colour, fragrances, shape) you can let guests take them away.

Jon Coupée

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