If you enjoy lighting and having candles around your house, you probably end up purchasing them a lot, and it can become quite expensive. People trying to save a little money on their candles often look to make their own, but is it cheaper to make your own candles or buy them from the store?
I had this exact question, so I took some time to look into it and tally up the costs.
The tools and accessories needed to make your own candles can cost quite a bit, plus you need to buy materials for the candles themselves. Unless you already have candle making equipment or plan to make many candles, producing your own could cost up to triple the price of a store-bought candle.
Many different factors come into play when figuring out whether it is cheaper to make your own candles or continue buying them from the store. It all depends on what tools you already have or plan to get, what wax, wicks, dyes, fragrances you plan to use, and many other things.
There is a lot to think about when pricing out making candles at home. Below, I’ll take a deeper dive into the costs of making your own candles as well as a few other nuances that you should keep in mind and consider.
Is it Cheaper to Make Your Own Candles?
For many household items, making them at home will significantly cut down the cost and end up saving you money, but with candles, this simply isn’t the case.
According to The National Candle Association, store-bought candles can range from $1.99 to $35 and more.
Now, you might be thinking that you can easily make a candle at home for less than $35, and you’d be right. However, while the actual materials needed to make a candle at home might cost less than $35, once you begin to factor in the cost of labor and startup equipment into the price, the cost per candle quickly increases.
So, for most people who wouldn’t produce a TON of candles, making them at home would probably be done at a loss.
On the flip side of things, if you predict you will need/want a lot of candles, it could make sense for you to make them at home. Like any manufacturing process with startup costs, there is always a point where the price per unit becomes cheaper than if you bought them at the store after making so many units.
So it MIGHT be cheaper to make your own candles if you need large quantities of them, but for most people, making your own candles at home would be significantly more expensive than if you just went out and bought them at a store.
Breaking Down the Costs of Making Your Own Candles
As I’ve mentioned before, many variables can influence the price of homemade candles.
Below I’ll break down the price of making a standard candle so you can get a better idea of how much it will cost. Depending on how many candles you produce and what exact materials you get, making candles at home can be cheaper than store-bought candles or vastly more expensive.
Anyways, let’s just get right into it!
Estimated Price: $20.00
There are a lot of different waxes out there that you can get for making candles. Beeswax, paraffin wax, and soy wax are some of the more popular ones, but there are many varieties and even some wax blends.
Usually, though, soy wax flakes are the easiest to work with and get good results for beginners. They are also a lot cheaper than other waxes, so messing up on a candle or two won’t break the bank and will be a valuable learning experience.
Estimated Price: $12.00
Getting the right type of wick for your wax and overall candle takes a lot of expertise and experience, but a simple cotton wick will work just fine for most candles.
Wicks are pretty inexpensive, and you’ll probably end up with more than you’ll use, but buying too few could result in a higher price tag. Just keep in mind how many candles you plan to make when figuring out how many wicks you should purchase because having not enough wicks is VERY annoying.
Estimated Price: $25.00
The price of fragrance oils for candles can vary pretty dramatically depending on the type, quality, and how much you get. Usually, you should use somewhere around 1oz of fragrance for every pound of wax, so just keep that in mind.
If you want your candles to have multiple different scents or not all of them to have the same one, you should budget more for fragrances. The above estimation should get you one or two small bottles of fragrance oil.
Estimated Price: $22.00
Many people like to add dye to their candles to make them look nice. It is one of the more fun parts of making candles because you can play with colors and express your artistic side.
Usually, wax dyes come in packs with many different colors, so you shouldn’t have to choose what colors you want your candles before making them. High-quality dyes are more expensive, so you might have to have a color in mind if you decide to go this route because you might only get one or two colors for the same price.
Estimated Price: $25.00
Almost any container that can stand holding hot wax will work, but you will usually want something that is aesthetically pleasing on the outside because it is what you will mostly see when you look at your candle.
Glass mason jars are a super popular container to use for homemade candles. You can usually get a twelve-pack of them for relatively cheap. If you decide not to go with glass jars, other options are available such as coffee mugs, tins, or anything else you can think of that fit the criteria.
Tools and Accessories
Estimated Price: $32.00
There aren’t that many tools and accessories that you need to make candles. Most of them can be found in an average household, but if you have to purchase them new, it can substantially add to the total price of making your own candles.
While there is probably some more specialized equipment that you could use, some pretty basic kitchen items can get the job done just fine. Here is what you will need to get started:
- A large saucepan
- Double boiler for the inside of your saucepan
- A spatula
- Some string
- A kabob skewer or pencil
Be prepared for everything that you use to make candles, as well as the area that you’re working in, to become covered in wax. It’s inevitable, so make sure you have some newspaper covering any surfaces and some paper towels at the ready.
Labor and Time
Estimated Price: $29.00
Some people prefer not to calculate their time into the overall cost of the candles they’re making, but you must do so to get an accurate price.
Depending on how experienced you are at making candles, it might take you significantly more time or substantially less than I’ve budgeted. The cost for time and labor that I’ve calculated assumes it will take you a collective 4 hours of work at $7.25 (U.S. minimum wage) per hour.
Comparing Homemade and Store-Bought Candle Prices
In the above price estimates for making your own candles, it comes out to a total of:
- Wax – $20.00
- Wicks – $12.00
- Fragrances – $25.00
- Dyes – $22.00
- Containers – $25.00
- Tools and Accessories – $32.00
- Labor and Time – $29.00
- Total – $164.00
The above numbers are a pretty average and decent price estimate, but it could be significantly higher or lower, depending on many variables.
If you made eight candles using the materials listed above at the exact estimated price, each candle would be $20.50. While this isn’t too large of a price tag for a homemade candle, 8oz store-bought candles are usually worth $8-12.
Of course, this is very convoluted because the quality of candles can vary pretty drastically.
If you buy materials in larger amounts, the prices can become much lower per candle, but this just goes to show making your own candles is usually not cheaper.
If you are a beginner, you can also try to start with a candle making kit, which contains most of the materials and tools.
However, in the end, it all comes down to the exact number of candles you want/need and the actual price that you pay to get the necessary materials. It’s really up to you to decide whether it is cheaper to make your own candles or continue purchasing them from the store in your particular situation.