I bloody love a candle. But not a shit candle. A nice one, that doesn’t smell synthetic and lasts for longer than an episode of Nurse Jackie.

The problem is that they pretty much cost the earth. I stand open mouthed in disbelief every time I turn a beautiful smelling candle upside down and see the £20+ price tag on its bottom. They’re even extortionate in TK Maxx for Pete’s sake.

Surely they’re just a few drops of perfume, a bit of string and some wax. Why the mark up? (Jo Malone – I love you but you’re THE worst offender.)

So I decided: sod you, candle retailers. I’ll bloomin’ try and make one on the cheap. And make one on the (relatively) cheap I did. Here’s how.

What you’ll need

  • A jar

Find something glass for your candle to go in (I wouldn’t want to pour hot wax into a metal candle votive – ouch). Pick up a Kilner jar, save an old candle container you like or just use an empty jam jar – they’ll all look lush.

  • Wicks

Hobbycraft do a good selection of fairly cheap wicks in different lengths. Measure your candle container and make sure you have a few inches spare. 

  • Wick glue

Instead of messing around with glue guns and the like I just picked up some tacky wick adhesive for £2.99 from Hobbycraft. It’s mouldable paste that you fix onto the bottom of the wick and stick in place. And the pot will last for ages. 

Candle wicks and tacky wax

  • Wax

All the posh candles are soy wax aren’t they? Well it turns out soy, in comparison to cheap-as-chips paraffin wax, is better for the environment, it burns for longer and is cleaner (it doesn’t leave a sooty residue). The cheapest I found is on Amazon

  • Fragrance oil

This is the fun bit. If you’re a closet hippy (and a bit of a snob) like me, you’ll probably only want to go natural with your fragrance and get essential oils. I got a Christmassy smelling essential oils mix at a local craft shop but Holland & Barrett do a brilliant range and with buy one, get one half price, you can mix and match depending on what your sniffer likes. If you don’t care about aromatherapy and want choco orange latte milkshake scented candles (I made that up btw), a website like justasoap.co.uk has great ranges.


Setting candle


  1. If you’re using an old candle container, you need to get rid of the waxy remains the night before you plan on making your new candle. Now this is genius – just pour boiling water from the kettle right up to the top and leave it to cool overnight. The wax will melt, travel to the top and harden again – making it easy to remove from the container. I know. #lifehack
  2. Now it’s time to measure how much wax you’ll need. Fill your container with water to the level you want the candle to go to. Tip the water into a measuring jug and deduct 20%. That’s the number of grams of wax to use. E.g. If your container takes 500ml of water, you need 400g of wax.
  3. Secure your wicks with the putty in your clean and dry glass container. Rest pencils across the top of the container and bend the wicks around them to keep the wicks in place (this is why you need a few spare inches).
  4. Put the correct weight of wax into a pan over a low heat. Continue stirring until melted.
  5. Take off the heat and add drops of your fragrance oil. This will either be to the desired smell/strength or whatever is directed on the bottle. Top tip – don’t spend too long doing this or leave the pan on the hob. You don’t want the fragrance to evaporate!
  6. Pour the melted wax into the prepared jars slowly and readjust wicks as necessary.
  7. Leave to set overnight. Pour boiling water into the pan and repeat step 1 to remove leftover wax.

Three wick candle

I made a giant, three wick candle, which has lasted for AGES and smells delicious – for approximately £8.50 all in. Not too bad eh? In your face consumer capitalism (kind of).


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