Learn the Art of Candle Making in Chicago

Have you ever been intrigued by the soft glow of a candle and wondered how they are made? If so, then a candle making class in Chicago is just the thing for you! Immerse yourself in the art of candle making as you learn the techniques and secrets behind creating beautiful, personalized candles. Whether you’re a beginner looking to try something new or a seasoned candle lover wanting to enhance your skills, this hands-on class will guide you through the process, from selecting the perfect wax and fragrance to pouring and decorating your very own unique candles. With expert instruction and a friendly atmosphere, this candle making class in Chicago is a must-try for anyone with a passion for creativity and a love for all things fragrant.

Learn the Art of Candle Making in Chicago

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History of Candle Making

Candle making dates back thousands of years, with evidence indicating its earliest practice during the Ancient Egyptian times. The discovery of clay candle holders and traces of beeswax in tombs shed light on the early use of candles for both practical and ritualistic purposes. As civilization progressed, so did the techniques of candle making, leading to the introduction of various materials and methods.

Earliest evidence of candle making

The earliest evidence of candle making can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. These early candles were made from animal fats, such as tallow, and were molded by hand. The wick, usually made of reeds or linen, was immersed in the melted animal fat, allowing it to absorb the fuel and provide a steady flame. These candles were primarily used for religious ceremonies and illumination in the dark.

Development of candle making techniques

As civilization developed, candle making techniques evolved. In Ancient Rome, candles made from tallow became popular, and later, beeswax candles gained prominence due to their cleaner burn and pleasant aroma. The introduction of molds enabled the production of more uniform candles, while the discovery of stearin, a byproduct of animal fats, improved their burning quality.

Candle making in ancient civilizations

Candles held great significance in various ancient civilizations. In Ancient Greece, candles were used during religious ceremonies to honor deities. The Romans used candles for lighting homes and streets and also during festivities. The Chinese and Japanese developed their unique candle making techniques, using paper as a wick and constructing intricate lantern-like structures.

Materials Used in Candle Making

Creating the perfect candle involves selecting the right materials for each component. From the type of wax to the wick and even the color and scent, each element contributes to the final product’s appearance and performance.

Types of wax

Wax is the primary ingredient in candle making and comes in various types, each with its own set of characteristics. Beeswax, known for its natural golden hue and sweet fragrance, produces a clean burn with minimal soot. Soy wax, derived from soybean oil, offers an eco-friendly alternative with excellent scent throw and long burning times. Paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum refining, is a commonly used option due to its affordability and versatility.

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Different wicks and their purposes

The selection of the right wick is essential for achieving an optimal burn and ensuring the candle’s longevity. Cotton wicks, often braided, are the most commonly used and suitable for a wide range of candles. However, some specialty candles require different wicks, such as those made of wood or paper, which offer unique burning characteristics or provide a crackling sound for ambiance.

Colorants and scents

Colorants and scents add a personal touch to candles, making them visually appealing and fragrant. Various types of colorants, including liquid dyes, powders, and wax chips, can be used to achieve different hues and effects, allowing for endless creativity. Similarly, fragrance oils or essential oils can be added to enhance the ambiance and create a desired scent.

Additional decorative materials

Candle making also allows for the incorporation of decorative materials, further enhancing the visual appeal. These can include dried flowers, herbs, glitter, or even small embeds like seashells or beads. These embellishments create unique and personalized candles that make perfect gifts or decorative pieces.

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Safety Precautions

While candle making is a rewarding and enjoyable craft, it is crucial to prioritize safety to prevent accidents and ensure a pleasant experience.

Importance of proper ventilation

Working in a well-ventilated area is essential to prevent the buildup of fumes and avoid respiratory issues. Adequate airflow helps dissipate any fumes produced by the melting wax, especially if using paraffin wax, which can release harmful chemicals when heated for an extended period.

Fire safety measures

As with any activity involving heat and open flames, fire safety is of utmost importance. It is crucial to have a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket readily available in case of emergencies. Never leave a burning candle unattended, and make sure to keep flammable materials away from the workspace.

Protective equipment and clothing

To protect yourself from potential burns or spills, it is advisable to wear heat-resistant gloves and an apron. Additionally, safety goggles can protect your eyes from any splashes or fumes. These protective measures ensure a safe and enjoyable candle making experience.

Types of Candles

Candles come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, serving different purposes and aesthetics. Knowing the different types of candles allows you to choose the perfect option for any occasion or setting.

Container candles

Container candles are poured into a container, typically made of glass or tin, and have the advantage of being self-contained. The container provides stability and catches any dripping wax, making them an ideal choice for both indoor and outdoor use.

Pillar candles

Pillar candles are freestanding, cylindrical candles that do not require a container. They are often larger in size and can be used as standalone decor pieces or as centerpieces. Pillar candles are versatile and can be found in various heights and diameters, making them suitable for different settings and occasions.

Taper candles

Taper candles are long, slender candles that are wider at the base and taper towards the top. They are traditionally used in candlestick holders and are a popular choice for formal events and ceremonies. Taper candles add an elegant touch and create a warm ambiance.

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Votive candles

Votive candles are small, usually cylindrical, candles that fit into votive holders. They are known for their versatility, as they can be used as standalone decor or as part of a larger arrangement. Votive candles are commonly used in religious and spiritual ceremonies, and they come in a wide range of colors and scents.

Learn the Art of Candle Making in Chicago

Equipment and Tools

Having the right equipment and tools is essential for a smooth and successful candle making process. From melting and pouring to ensuring proper wick placement, having the necessary supplies will make your candle making journey much more enjoyable.

Double boiler or melting pot

A double boiler or a dedicated melting pot is crucial for liquefying the wax. These heat-resistant containers allow for even heating and prevent the wax from scorching. The methodical melting of the wax ensures a smooth and consistent pour.


A thermometer helps monitor the temperature of the wax, ensuring it reaches the optimal pouring temperature. Different types of wax have specific melting and pouring temperatures, so using a thermometer eliminates any guesswork and helps achieve the desired results.


Molds give candles their distinct shapes and sizes. They can be made of various materials, including silicone, metal, or plastic. Molds can be simple, like cylindrical or rectangular shapes, or they can be intricate and designed to create specialty-shaped candles.

Pouring containers

Pouring containers are used to transfer the melted wax from the double boiler or melting pot to the molds. Heat-resistant pouring pitchers or containers with spouts make it easier to control the flow of the melted wax and minimize spills or drips.

Wick holders and centering devices

Wick holders and centering devices ensure that the wick remains centered in the candle as it cools and solidifies. These tools prevent the wick from drifting or leaning to one side, resulting in an uneven burn.

Mixing utensils

Stainless steel or heat-resistant utensils, such as spoons or spatulas, are essential for stirring the wax and incorporating colorants and scents. It is important to use dedicated utensils for candle making to avoid any residue or cross-contamination.

Basic Candle Making Techniques

Mastering the basic candle making techniques is the foundation for creating beautiful and functional candles. By following these steps, you can ensure consistent results and enjoy the process of making handmade candles.

Preparing the workspace

Before starting, it is important to prepare your workspace. Clear any clutter and ensure you have enough space to work comfortably. Lay down protective material, such as wax paper or a plastic cover, to catch any spills or drips.

Melting the wax

Using a double boiler or melting pot, melt the wax over a gentle heat. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer and ensure the wax reaches the recommended pouring temperature according to the type of wax being used.

Adding color and scent

Once the wax is melted, add your desired colorants and mix thoroughly until evenly distributed. If using fragrance oils or essential oils, carefully measure and add them to the melted wax, stirring gently to avoid air bubbles.

Pouring the wax

Slowly and steadily pour the melted wax into the prepared molds, ensuring an even distribution. Take care to leave a small gap at the top to accommodate the wick and prevent overflow.

Adding the wick

Before the wax solidifies completely, insert the wick into the center of the candle. Use wick holders or other centering devices to keep the wick in place. Allow the candle to cool and solidify completely.

Curing and trimming

After the candle has cooled and solidified, allow it to cure for at least 24 hours. Once cured, trim the wick to the appropriate length, usually around 1/4 inch, using sharp scissors or a wick trimmer. Your candle is now ready to be enjoyed.

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Advanced Candle Making Techniques

Once you have mastered the basic candle making techniques, you can venture into more advanced methods to create unique and visually stunning candles. These techniques require some additional skills and creativity.

Marbling effect

The marbling effect involves blending different colored waxes to create a beautiful swirl pattern. By gently pouring or dipping colored wax into the base color, you can achieve unique and eye-catching designs. With practice, you can experiment with different colors and techniques to create intricate patterns.

Layering and embedding

Layering and embedding allow you to incorporate different materials within the candle, adding texture and visual interest. By pouring wax in layers and adding decorative materials such as dried flowers or gems between each layer, you can create stunning candles with a multi-dimensional look.

Creating scented candles

Experimenting with different fragrance combinations and intensities allows you to create custom scented candles. By blending various fragrance oils or essential oils, you can create unique and enticing scents that suit your personal preferences or cater to specific occasions.

Making specialty-shaped candles

With the use of advanced molds and techniques, you can create specialty-shaped candles. These can range from intricate designs, such as animals or flowers, to novelty shapes like cupcakes or seashells. Specialty-shaped candles make excellent decorative pieces or gifts that leave a lasting impression.

Finding a Candle Making Class in Chicago

If you’re interested in learning candle making in Chicago, there are several options available to enhance your skills and creativity.

Local craft stores

Many local craft stores in Chicago offer candle making classes for enthusiasts of all levels. These classes provide hands-on experience and expert guidance, giving you the opportunity to learn new techniques and ask questions in a supportive environment.

Community centers and adult education programs

Community centers and adult education programs often offer candle making classes as part of their craft or hobby programs. These classes are typically affordable and provide access to experienced instructors who can help you develop your skills.

Online resources

For those who prefer to learn at their own pace or are unable to attend in-person classes, online resources can be a valuable tool. Online tutorials, videos, and forums offer a wealth of information on various candle making techniques and tips.

Benefits of Candle Making

Candle making offers a plethora of benefits beyond the joy of creating your own candles. Whether you’re a hobbyist or aspiring entrepreneur, candle making can bring numerous advantages into your life.

Personalized gifts

Handmade candles make thoughtful and personalized gifts for family and friends. By customizing the color, scent, and design, you can create candles that reflect the recipient’s personality or match the occasion. The time and effort put into crafting a candle adds a special touch that is sure to be appreciated.

Relaxation and stress relief

Engaging in a creative activity like candle making can be highly therapeutic. The process of melting wax, adding color and scent, and pouring it into molds can be calming and help alleviate stress. Lighting and enjoying the final product can further enhance a sense of relaxation and tranquility.

Opportunity for creativity

Candle making allows for endless creativity and self-expression. From experimenting with different colors and scents to exploring unique candle shapes and designs, you have the freedom to create candles that reflect your personal style and imagination. The possibilities are endless, encouraging you to push your creative boundaries.

Economic benefits

Besides the personal enjoyment, candle making can also provide economic benefits. You can sell your handmade candles at local craft fairs, online marketplaces, or directly to friends and family. This hobby can turn into a small business that allows you to generate income while doing something you love.


Candle making is not only a centuries-old craft but also a rewarding and enjoyable hobby. From the history and evolution of candle making techniques to the selection of materials and tools, this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge to embark on your candle making journey. Whether you are a beginner or seeking to expand your skills, candle making offers endless opportunities for creativity, relaxation, and the joy of sharing handmade candles with others. So gather your materials, prepare your workspace, and let your imagination ignite as you explore the art of candle making.

Learn more about the Learn the Art of Candle Making in Chicago here.