Candles can be colored using pigment or dyes, but to naturally color candles you want to choose natural items like turmeric, which has been used traditionally for golden colors. To make using natural dyes easy, place the plant or dying material in cheese cloth or coffee filter sachets to form something like a tea bag for the dye. By doing this, you do not have to fish out any dye material from the hot wax once your wax has achieved the desired color.
Adding spices to the hot wax will not only produce different colors but will also create aromatherapy candles. In this instance, the spice will act more like a pigment than a dye, specifically if you use ground spices in the form of powders. Turmeric and sassafras create orange colors, saffron produces blue and purple colors and saffron will produce yellow colors.
While many dyes are produced synthetically, they were originally made using herbs. The herbs are heated in oil to extract the color or can be added to the hot wax, though you will need to strain the plant parts out before dipping the candles. Herbs that can be used as dyes include wild celery for a light yellow color, sunflower seeds for deep purple, ground lichen for orange, elder for blue colors, and dandelions and St. Johns Wort for red colors.
Many flower petals contain natural dyes. These items can be added to wax to produce different textures as well as functioning as a dye. Coneflower and goldenrod produce brown colors, roses and lavender pink colors, dried hibiscus flowers produce a red color, cornflower and hyacinth blue colors, safflowers and day lilies produce reddish purple colors, Virginia creepers produce peach colors, and foxglove and snapdragons create green colors.
Fruits and Vegetables
Mashed fruit can also be used to create color in candles. Think of how blackberries stain your fingers when eating; these berries contain natural dyes. Artichokes can be used for green color and huckleberries produce reddish purple colors. Blackberries, blueberries and elderberries produce blue and purple shades. Cherries, raspberries and strawberries are used for pink colors, while onion skins create orange colors and beetroot makes dark brown colors.