How to Make Colored Candles With Food Coloring

Making your own candles is a simple way to coordinate your home decor and your need to craft. Starting with plain wax and add your own style with fragrance and color. Usually, you use solid or liquid candle dyes, but you can substitute a crayon for solid colors. Liquid food color isn't effective for coloring candles; because it is water-based, it doesn't mix well with the wax. However, gel food coloring, often used for cake decorating, blends with the wax for beautifully hued candles.

Things You'll Need

  • Candle wax

  • Double-boiler

  • Putty knife or paring knife

  • Essential or fragrance oil (optional)

  • Gel food coloring

  • Glass containers

  • Candle wicks or cotton cord

  • Paper clips (optional)

  • Pencil, dowel, chopstick or craft stick

Step 1

Wash and dry the containers thoroughly. Place them in the oven, which is set on warm, or about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This warms the containers so they don't shatter when you pour hot wax into them. Leave them until you are ready to pour the wax.

Step 2

Shave the wax with the knife. These flakes melt faster than chunks.

Step 3

Put the wax into the top of the double-boiler. If you don't have a double-boiler, improvise with a metal coffee can in a larger saucepan or set a glass or metal mixing bowl over the saucepan.

Step 4

Melt the wax and heat it to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the fragrance and the food coloring. Stir it well to mix everything thoroughly. Remember that the color will be lighter than it appears in the bottle.


Do not leave the wax unattended while it is heating to avoid the risk of fire.

Step 5

While the wax is melting, set the wick in place at the bottom of the glass container and secure it with a glue dot. If you are using cord, tie the wick to the paper clip and attach that to the bottom of the container with the glue dots or hot-glue gun.

Step 6

Wrap the other end of the wick around the pencil until your wick holder rests flat on the top of the container.

Step 7

Test the color by dropping a small bit on a paper plate or folded sheet of paper. Add a few more drops if you want the wax darker, and stir it thoroughly.

Step 8

Slowly pour the hot wax to fill the container about three-fourths full. Allow the wax to cool completely, usually about 6 to 8 hours.

Step 9

Fill any shrinkage around the wick with a second pour of wax after the first pour has cooled thoroughly.


The process for making molded pillar candles is the same, except you need to spray the inside of your mold with a mold-release spray or nonstick cooking spray. In addition to commercial molds, you can use old soup or vegetable cans, cardboard milk cartons or similar containers.

References & Resources