The Art of Candle Making in Nashville

Imagine yourself strolling through the charming streets of Nashville, surrounded by the soulful rhythm of country music and the enchanting scent of handmade candles. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of candle making in Nashville, where local artisans pour their creativity and passion into creating one-of-a-kind aromatic treasures. From artisanal studios to cozy workshops, prepare to be captivated by the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into every candle, as we uncover the secrets behind Nashville’s thriving candle making scene. Get ready to immerse yourself in a sensory journey that will leave you longing for the warm glow of a handcrafted candle.

Table of Contents

History of Candle Making in Nashville

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Origins of candle making in Nashville

The history of candle making in Nashville dates back to the early 1800s when settlers began to establish themselves in the area. At that time, candles were an essential source of light, and households relied heavily on them for illumination after sunset. In the early days, candle making in Nashville was a labor-intensive process, requiring the rendering of animal fat or the extraction of wax from tree bark. These early candle makers would often use tallow, a byproduct of animal fat, as the main ingredient for their candles.

Evolution of candle making techniques

As Nashville grew and industrialization took place, the candle making process became more efficient and accessible. The introduction of new techniques and materials allowed candle makers to produce candles on a larger scale. In the late 19th century, the discovery of paraffin wax revolutionized the candle making industry. Paraffin wax, obtained from petroleum, was a more affordable and versatile material than tallow or beeswax. This innovation made candles more accessible to a wider range of people in Nashville and beyond.

Significance of candles in Nashville’s history

Candles played a significant role in Nashville’s history, not only as a source of light but also as a symbol of tradition and craftsmanship. In the early days, candles were not just utilitarian objects but also a means of artistic expression. Candle making was considered a valuable skill and was often passed down through generations. The craft became closely associated with the cultural heritage of Nashville, and candle makers were highly esteemed members of the community. Today, candles continue to hold sentimental value for many Nashvillians, as they evoke a sense of nostalgia and a connection to the city’s past.

Types of Candles Made in Nashville

Soy candles

Soy candles have gained immense popularity in recent years, both in Nashville and worldwide. Made from soybean oil, these candles are known for their clean-burning properties and long-lasting fragrance. Soy candles are a popular choice among eco-conscious consumers, as soybean oil is a renewable resource and burns more cleanly than other types of waxes.

Beeswax candles

Beeswax candles have a long history and are considered one of the oldest types of candles. These candles are highly regarded for their natural aroma, slow and clean burn, and ability to purify the air when lit. Beeswax candles are made from the wax produced by bees in the hive, and their golden hue adds a touch of warmth and elegance to any room.

Paraffin candles

Paraffin candles are the most common type of candle found in households today. They are made from petroleum byproducts and are known for their affordability and wide availability. Paraffin candles come in various shapes, sizes, and scents, making them a versatile choice for any occasion. While some people prefer more natural alternatives, paraffin candles remain a popular choice for their affordability and ease of use.

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Gel candles

Gel candles offer a unique and modern twist to traditional wax candles. They are made from a translucent gel base that allows for creative possibilities in terms of color and style. Gel candles often feature embedments such as seashells, glass beads, or botanicals, making them visually appealing and great for decorating spaces. These candles also burn longer than traditional wax candles, adding to their appeal.

Palm wax candles

Palm wax candles are a sustainable and environmentally friendly option. Made from the oil of palm trees, these candles are valued for their natural, creamy appearance and long-lasting burn time. Palm wax is a renewable resource and an excellent alternative to non-renewable waxes. Choosing palm wax candles not only helps reduce the environmental impact but also supports sustainable practices in candle making.

Popular Candle Fragrances in Nashville


The comforting and familiar scent of vanilla is a timeless favorite among Nashvillians. Vanilla-scented candles create an inviting and cozy atmosphere, reminiscent of freshly baked treats and warm hugs. The sweet and creamy aroma of vanilla is both comforting and uplifting, making it a popular choice for relaxation and stress relief.


Lavender-scented candles are beloved for their soothing and calming properties. The gentle floral fragrance of lavender promotes relaxation and can help create a serene and peaceful environment. Many people in Nashville use lavender candles to unwind after a long day or to enhance their meditation or yoga practices.


Cedarwood-scented candles bring the rustic charm and earthy essence of the great outdoors into Nashville homes. The warm and woody fragrance of cedarwood creates a cozy and inviting ambiance, reminiscent of a log cabin nestled in the woods. It is a popular choice for those seeking a grounding and comforting scent.

Tobacco and leather

The intriguing combination of tobacco and leather scents evokes a sense of nostalgia and a dash of sophistication. Nashville, with its rich musical heritage and cowboy culture, appreciates the smoky, earthy aroma of tobacco and the rugged allure of leather. Candles with this fragrance combination add a touch of masculinity to any space.


Citrus-scented candles offer a burst of freshness and energizing aromas. The vibrant and zesty fragrances of citrus fruits, such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit, uplift the spirits and create an invigorating atmosphere. Nashville residents often turn to citrus candles to brighten their homes and infuse their spaces with a cheerful and sunny ambiance.

Tools and Equipment Needed for Candle Making

The Art of Candle Making in Nashville

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Double boiler

A double boiler is an essential tool for melting wax evenly and safely. It consists of two nested pots, with the outer pot containing water and the inner pot holding the wax. The double boiler method helps prevent the wax from overheating or catching fire, ensuring a smooth and controlled melting process.


A thermometer is necessary to monitor the temperature of the wax during the melting and pouring stages. Different waxes have specific melting points, and using a thermometer ensures that the wax is at the correct temperature for optimal results. This tool helps prevent overheating and ensures the fragrance oils and dyes are added at the right moment.

Wax melting pot

A dedicated melting pot designed to handle candle wax is essential for candle making. These pots are typically made of heat-resistant materials and come in various sizes to accommodate different batch sizes. Having a designated wax melting pot ensures cleanliness and avoids any potential contamination from previous use.

Molds and containers

Molds and containers are necessary for shaping the wax into desired forms. From traditional pillar molds to intricate shapes and sizes, there is a wide range of options available. Containers, such as glass jars or tins, are popular for container candles. It’s essential to choose molds and containers that are specifically designed for candle making to ensure safe and effective results.

Wicks and wick holders

Wicks are a vital component of any candle. They provide a pathway for the melted wax to fuel the flame and require careful selection based on the size and type of candle being made. Wick holders or sustainer tabs keep the wick centered in the mold or container during the pouring and cooling process, ensuring an even burn.

Fragrance oils and dyes

To add fragrance and color to candles, fragrance oils and dyes are necessary. Fragrance oils come in a wide variety of scents and allow candle makers to create unique and personalized aromas. Dyes, available in liquid or solid form, add vibrant colors to the wax. It’s important to use dyes and fragrance oils specifically formulated for candle making to achieve desired results.

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Step-by-Step Candle Making Process

Preparing the workspace

Before beginning the candle making process, it’s important to prepare the workspace. Clear any clutter, ensure a clean and level surface, and gather all the necessary tools and materials. Having a well-organized and clean workspace is essential for a safe and efficient candle making experience.

Melting the wax

Using a double boiler setup, melt the wax over low to medium heat. Keep a close eye on the temperature, ensuring it doesn’t exceed the recommended melting point for the specific wax being used. Stir the wax gently and occasionally to ensure even melting and to prevent any scorching.

Adding fragrance and color

Once the wax has melted and reached the desired temperature, it’s time to add fragrance oils and dyes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended amount of fragrance oil per pound of wax. For dyes, start with a small amount and gradually add more until the desired color is achieved. Stir the wax thoroughly to distribute the fragrance and dye evenly.

Setting up the wick

Prepare the wick by attaching it to a wick holder or sustainer tab. Place the tab at the center of the mold or container, ensuring the wick is straight and taut. Use a wick centering tool to ensure the wick stays in the desired position during the pouring and cooling process.

Pouring the wax

Carefully pour the melted wax into the prepared molds or containers. Take care not to overfill or spill the wax. Pouring the wax slowly and steadily helps prevent air bubbles from forming and ensures a smooth finish. Leave some space at the top of the container to accommodate any shrinkage during the cooling process.

Cooling and curing the candle

Allow the candles to cool and harden completely. This process may take several hours or overnight, depending on the size and type of candle. Avoid moving or disturbing the candles during this time to prevent any imperfections or uneven cooling. Once fully cured, the candles are ready to be trimmed and used.

Trimming the wick

Trim the wick to approximately a ΒΌ inch length before lighting the candle. This ensures a clean and controlled burn, prevents excessive smoking, and extends the overall life of the candle. Use a sharp wick trimmer or scissors to achieve a clean cut.

Candle Making Workshops in Nashville

The Art of Candle Making in Nashville

Overview of available workshops

Nashville offers a variety of candle making workshops for individuals seeking to learn the craft or further enhance their skills. These workshops are typically conducted by experienced candle makers and provide hands-on experiences in a supportive and creative environment. From introductory classes to specialty workshops focused on advanced techniques or specific candle types, there are options to suit everyone’s interests and skill levels.

Benefits of attending a candle making workshop

Attending a candle making workshop in Nashville can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Here are some of the benefits of participating in these workshops:

Learning different techniques and tips

Workshops provide an opportunity to learn various candle making techniques from experienced instructors. Whether it’s mastering the art of layering different colored waxes, creating unique patterns, or incorporating special effects, workshops offer valuable insights and guidance on achieving desired results.

Creating personalized candles

Workshops allow participants to unleash their creativity and create personalized candles tailored to their preferences. From selecting fragrance oils and dyes to designing unique candle molds or containers, workshops offer the chance to experiment and express individual style through candle making.

Safety Precautions for Candle Making

Working with hot wax

Candle making involves working with hot wax, which poses the risk of burns or fire if not handled properly. It’s important to take precautions such as wearing protective gloves and using long-handled tools when working with hot wax. Avoid rushing or being distracted during the melting and pouring stages to minimize the risk of accidents.

Proper ventilation

Proper ventilation is vital when working with candle making materials, as some fragrances and dyes can release fumes. Ensure that the work area is well-ventilated or use a fume hood if available. If working indoors, consider opening windows or using fans to keep fresh air circulating.

Avoiding flammable materials

Keep flammable materials, such as paper towels or fabric, away from the candle making area. These materials can easily catch fire if exposed to the heat of the melting wax or an open flame. Clear the workspace of any potential fire hazards to ensure a safe environment.

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Using caution around open flames

Candles generate an open flame, which can be a fire hazard if not managed carefully. Never leave a burning candle unattended, especially if there are flammable materials nearby. Keep candles away from curtains, furniture, or any other objects that may catch fire. Use candle holders or containers specifically designed for burning candles to reduce the risk of accidents.

Storing and disposing of materials safely

After completing a candle making project, it’s important to store leftover materials properly. Ensure that any unused wax, fragrance oils, or dyes are stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. When disposing of wax residues, follow local waste disposal guidelines to ensure proper disposal.

Decorative Candle Making Ideas

Adding dried flowers or herbs

Enhance the visual appeal of candles by incorporating dried flowers or herbs. This decorative technique adds a touch of nature and elegance to candles, creating a visually stunning centerpiece. Choose flowers or herbs that complement the fragrance of the candle, such as lavender buds for a lavender-scented candle or rose petals for a soft floral aroma.

Embedding small objects

Embedding small objects, such as seashells, gemstones, or beads, into the wax creates unique and eye-catching candles. This technique allows for endless creativity and personalization. From creating beach-themed candles to adding playful elements, embedding small objects adds a delightful surprise when the candle burns.

Using decorative molds

Choosing decorative molds can transform candles into works of art. Intricate patterns, shapes, and designs elevate the aesthetic appeal of candles and can make them beautiful decorative pieces even when not lit. From ornate pillar molds to whimsical shapes like animals or flowers, decorative molds offer endless possibilities for creativity.

Creating unique shapes

Explore unconventional shapes to create candles that stand out. Instead of traditional cylindrical or square molds, consider casting candles in geometric shapes, stars, hearts, or any other shape that sparks your creativity. Unique shapes add a touch of whimsy and can be great conversation starters when displayed in a home or given as gifts.

Reusing and Recycling Candle Containers

Cleaning and repurposing glass jars

Glass jars from burned-out candles can be easily cleaned and repurposed for various purposes. Once the candle has burned down, remove the remaining wax by placing the jar in the freezer. Once the wax hardens, use a knife or spoon to scrape it out. Clean the jar with warm soapy water and remove any residue. Repurpose the clean jar for storage, as a decorative container, or even as a small flower vase.

Transforming tin or metal containers

Tin or metal containers from candle packaging can also be repurposed creatively. Remove any remaining wax by placing the container in the freezer and follow the same cleaning process as with glass jars. Once cleaned, tin or metal containers can be reused as storage for small items, as a planter for small plants, or even as a unique pen holder on a desk.

Using vintage or unique containers

For an extra special touch, consider using vintage or unique containers for candles. Hunt for antique teacups, mason jars, or decorative pottery that can be repurposed as candle containers. These containers add an element of charm and nostalgia to candles, creating one-of-a-kind pieces that are both functional and visually appealing.

Eco-friendly alternatives to traditional containers

For those looking for environmentally friendly options, there are alternative containers available that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Bamboo, recycled glass, or even plant-based containers made from materials like cork or bamboo fiber provide eco-conscious candle making options. Choosing these alternatives reduces the carbon footprint and supports sustainable practices.

Benefits of Candle Making as a Hobby

Relaxation and stress relief

Candle making offers a therapeutic and relaxing experience. The process of melting wax, choosing fragrances, and creating beautiful candles can be a form of mindfulness and stress relief. Engaging in candle making as a hobby allows you to unwind, focus on the present moment, and find tranquility in the creative process.

Enhancing creativity

Candle making allows for artistic expression and creativity. From selecting fragrance combinations to experimenting with colors and decorative elements, candle making is a canvas for personal expression. The possibilities and combinations are endless, making it a perfect outlet for exploring and expanding creative horizons.

Sustainable and eco-friendly

Making your own candles allows you to control the ingredients used, promoting sustainability and reducing reliance on mass-produced candles. By choosing environmentally friendly waxes and materials and reusing or repurposing containers, candle making becomes a sustainable hobby. It also reduces the carbon footprint associated with commercial candle production.

Personalized gifts and home decor

Candle making provides the opportunity to create unique and personalized gifts for family and friends. Handmade candles are thoughtful and meaningful presents that can be tailored to suit individual preferences. Additionally, the candles you make can be used to decorate your own home, adding a personal touch and creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

In conclusion, candle making in Nashville has a rich historical significance and continues to be a beloved craft. The variety of candles made in Nashville, from soy and beeswax to paraffin and gel, provides options for every preference. Popular candle fragrances in Nashville, such as vanilla, lavender, cedarwood, tobacco and leather, and citrus, offer scents that evoke a sense of comfort and character. The process of candle making involves using tools and equipment like double boilers, thermometers, and molds, with step-by-step instructions to ensure safe and effective results. Candle making workshops in Nashville provide opportunities to learn and explore the craft while enjoying the benefits of relaxation, creativity, and personalized candles. Safety precautions should always be taken when working with hot wax and open flames, and recycling and repurposing candle containers contribute to sustainability. Candle making as a hobby offers a range of benefits, including relaxation, creativity, and the ability to create sustainable and personalized gifts and home decor. So, why not delve into the world of candle making in Nashville and discover the joy of creating your own aromatic masterpieces!

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