Wondering how to melt candle wax safely and without making a mess? Whether you're making candles from scratch or trying to fix a tunneling candle, here are 5 common ways to melt candle wax.
As a reminder, melting wax can sometimes be dangerous if you're not careful. Take precautions to avoid injuring yourself, damaging items and furniture around you, or accidentally starting a fire.
- Never let the temperature of wax exceed 250° F.
- Never melt wax in direct heat (e.g. don't place it directly in a pot over the stove).
- Never leave melting wax unattended.
- Keep melted wax away from pets and children.
- Use potholders or oven mitts when handling hot pans or glassware.
- Wear safety goggles or glasses to prevent wax from splashing into your eyes.
- Have a fire extinguisher available in case of a fire. Don't use water to extinguish a wax fire.
How to Melt Wax for Candle Making
1. Double Boiler
The double boiler method is a useful and convenient way to melt brand new wax when making candles at home. All you need is a large pot or saucepan, a water-resistant pouring container, and a thermometer.
- Fill the large pot or saucepan with about an inch or two of water and place it over low to medium heat.
- Put your wax into a pouring container that's heat- and water-resistant. This could be a glass pitcher, a metal can, or a smaller pot or saucepan.
- Once the water is boiling, place the pouring container directly inside of the large pot or saucepan.
- Lower the heat and bring the water in the large saucepan to a gentle simmer. As it evaporates, periodically add more water to keep the water level consistent.
- When the wax is melting, monitor the temperature with your thermometer.
- Once the wax has completely melted, remove it from the heat before stirring in fragrance oils (optional).
The microwave can be a quick and convenient way to melt wax if done safely. The benefit of using a microwave is that it requires less setup and doesn't involve handling fire, which is a plus when you have kids or pets around.
- First make sure that you're using "microwave-safe" containers, such as ceramic, heatproof glass, and certain plastics that are labelled for use in microwaves.
- Place the wax in the container and heat it in 1-2 minute intervals (depending on the type and amount of wax). If you're not sure, err on the side of shorter intervals.
- Between each interval, stir the wax and use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
- Once the wax is completely melted, remove it from the microwave and set it aside to cool.
3. Wax Melter
A wax melter is a special type of appliance specially designed for melting wax. It resembles a pot with a spigot at the bottom where the melted wax comes out. Most models are electric and also come with temperature control features to adjust the heat for different types of waxes.
Most people won't have this handy at home, but we decided to include it in this list as an option for anyone wanting to become a serious candle-making enthusiast.
- Place the wax melter on a table or counter with the spigot over the edge so you can easily pour out the melted wax later.
- Plug in the wax melter and set the temperature depending on the type of wax you're working with.
- Place the solid wax directly into the wax melter pot. The wax should melt pretty quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on it.
- Once the welt has melted, open the spigot at the bottom to let it flow into a container for mixing, measuring, and pouring.
How to Melt Wax to Fix a Candle
4. Heat Gun or Hair Dryer
This method is useful for melting just a small layer of candle wax to fix certain issues like tunneling or buried wicks. Using a heat gun is best, since this tool give you the most control over temperature and airflow, but in most situations a hair dryer will work just fine.
- Wipe away any dust or debris on the top of the wax with a paper towel.
- Turn on the heat gun or blow dryer and set it to high heat.
- Hold it about 6 inches above the surface of the wax.
- Use a wick dipper or a toothpick to gently prod any unmelted wax stuck on the sides.
- Continue until the wax has liquified evenly across the top surface of the candle.
5. ALuminum Foil
A neat alternative to using a heat gun or blow dryer is using aluminum foil to melt candle wax. This is useful for smoothing out the top layer (in case of a tunneling candle) or for removing extra wax (in case of a buried wick).
In this method, the foil is used to trap heat in the candle, which speeds up the rate at which the top layer of wax melts.
- Wipe any dust or debris on the top of the wax with a paper towel.
- Prepare a piece of aluminum foil just big enough to cover the top of the candle.
- Cut out a small, 1-inch hole in the center of the aluminum foil.
- Light the wick and wrap the foil over the top of the candle. The hole you cut out in the previous step should go directly over the flame so that it's not covered.
- Allow the candle to burn for a few hours until the top layer of wax has melted evenly.