Did you really think I’d get through this first candle making challenge without burning myself?  If you did, then you were wrong.

This was by far the most terrifying of the crafts to date.  It scared me on both the craft-difficulty level and on the personal safety level.  Candle making, it turns out, is a fairly complicated process.  And it’s also highly dangerous, if you believe the instructions I got with my candle molds.  Here are the SAFETY RULES:

I’d like to point out a few key moments that had me seriously questioning the Martha Craft Challenge.

First, this:

OK, severe illness?  I was not planning on doing a craft that could cause me severe illness.  At this point, I was thinking of trying to do it outside by getting a hot plate I could plug in, but RD Husband said, “DO NOT BUY ANY OTHER EQUIPMENT!”

Then, this:

I’m sorry, “set the curtains on fire”?  Am I going to be setting things on fire??  ”Some other major accident“?  You’re telling me I could have an unspecified yet “major” accident?  What on earth have I gotten myself into?

Finally, the big, bold, all caps section at the end of the “rules”:

That’s when I drove to OSH Hardware and bought myself a dry chemical fire extinguisher.

I made sure to unpack it, snip off the plastic piece that prevents it from working, and have it on the counter before I even started.

So, candle making requires lots of bravery, and it also requires tons of equipment.  Here’s my stash:

not pictured: candle making thermometer

It’s a lot of junk.  Don’t tell RD Husband I had to buy all this crap.

The little pink thing in the front is my silicone mold of a pear.  Turns out it’s a lot smaller than I expected.  And that thing cost me twelve bucks.  I also bought pear-scented oil and dyes so I could tint the wax the proper color.

So, first thing you do is spray the inside of the mold with the mold release spray.  Then you have to feed the wick through using a tapestry needle, which I happened to already have for my crochet.

Then, you secure the wick over the open end of the mold.  Martha recommends using a wooden skewer, but I didn’t have any of those.  As you can see, I tried using a few twist ties, but later I switched to a pencil.

Then, you melt the wax.  This is the scary part.  You need a double boiler.  I went out and bought some cheap pots at Ross Dress for Less, and then I realized that they were probably nicer than the nearly-twenty-year-old pots we had.  Anyhoo, you make a double boiler, get your thermometer in there and melt your wax to between 160° and 180° F.  Don’t overheat it, people, or you could end up with a serious illness.

This is where I burned myself.  At one point, the top pot fell into the bottom pot, and some wax splashed up and landed on my hand.  OW!  Thank goodness I had those safety instructions and knew to run it under cold water and then peel off the wax.  It left a mark, though.

Once you’ve got it melted, you add the color and, at the end, the fragrance.  I was trying to get pear color, so I added some green, some gold, and some sage.  Then the pear scent.

Now it’s time to pour it in the mold.  This step was a giant mess since I didn’t have a pot with a lip.  On my second try, I used a funnel, and that helped a lot.

So, there’s my mold, waiting to cool.  I put paper towels in a plastic fruit container (I think it had cherries in it, originally) to catch all the wax that didn’t go in the mold.  You can see how, without the spout or the funnel, it was a bit of a disaster.

When it came out, though, lo and behold, it was a candle!  And it looked like a pear!  And it smelled like a pear!  I made one more because I had prepared enough wax. And here they are, in all their glory.

AND, they actually lit.

Not too shabby, eh?  I had some leftover wax, so I filled some little votives that I had that had burned down significantly.  I had to add more wick, too.

I don’t know how well they will burn, but at least I didn’t have to dispose of the extra wax.


To make one candle, it took me about an hour.  But to make additional ones, since I only had one mold, it took an additional thirty minutes, since you had to reheat the wax.  For a small mold like this, the cooling time was about two hours.

One candle, 1 hour active time, 2 hours cooling = 3 hours total


Moderate to Difficult


Oy VEY.  This is a very expensive hobby.

  • soy wax, 1 lb = $8.99
  • candle mold release spray = $10.99
  • dye block, green, 3/4 oz = $2.99
  • dye block, 4 color = $4.99
  • pear scent oil, 1 oz = $3.52
  • small pear silicone mold = $11.99
  • wicking = $2.99
  • dry chemical fire extinguisher = $16.99

Total cost = $63.45

That doesn’t include buying new pots, if you need them.


Well, from a craft experience point of view, it was great.  I liked learning this new skill.  And I might use it again.  I bought a few more molds, since I was ordering stuff online anyway, so that at the holidays I can make candles for gifts.


Many of the supplies can be found at Michaels; that’s where I got all the basics.  But they don’t have any silicone molds, and they definitely don’t have any figural molds, just cylindrical ones.  For figural molds, try:

One Stop Candle


Scorpio Innovations on Ebay

There are quite a few more candle projects, so more candle adventures to come!



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  • January 22, 2011, 2:06 pm kathrynstrong

    Oooooh! I love your pears (and wow, didn’t that sound all inappropriate?)! They turned out beautifully, though I don’t like the thought of you having burned yourself in the process …

  • January 23, 2011, 4:16 pm Becky

    You know, those are really pretty! I can’t believe all the prep and equipment and safety bibbity bobbity bang. I think they would be great gifts, but do you think you’ll be willing to go through all the hassle again?

  • January 23, 2011, 8:36 pm bethpc

    Now that I’ve done it, it’s not as much hassle. It’s acquiring all the stuff that was a pain, and then that first time not knowing how to do it. Now, it seems like it’ll be a lot easier. We’ll see when the holidays start creeping up.

    I certainly will “NEVER let candlemaking get so routine that I get careless.”

    And Kathy, thanks for the compliment on my pears. :-)

  • January 24, 2011, 9:14 am Craftily Delicious

    Hi there! This is my first visit and I”ll definitely be back because I even thought of doing a Martha Craft Challenge, but so excited to see you tackling it! I think that’s so awesome. Just curious if ‘Julie & Julia’ inspired you? That movie was what pushed me to ultimately start my own blog myself. I look forward to seeing your progression of her craft projects, great job! =)

    • January 24, 2011, 10:22 am bethpc

      Thanks for stopping by! Julie & Julia didn’t directly inspire me; I’ve been inspired by lots of other “projects” I’ve seen on other blogs, like Not Eating Out in NY, & there’s a guy I saw on Martha’s show who’s cooking through her baking handbook. Glad to hear you enjoyed the post!

  • January 25, 2011, 6:53 pm Amy in Australia

    Wow–those turned out so nicely! Those directions are hilarious, though–the thing about the curtains!! I mean, the visual imagery that inspires is too much!