Make Your Own
Candle Making Fragrance
While it is certainly easy enough to buy essential oils or scents made specifically for candle
making, many candle makers enjoy producing their own candle making fragrance. There are a few ways
to go about it, but here's a simple method that I use most frequently.
The basic principle is that if you soak herbs, spices, flower petals or other fragrant
substances in a neutral oil, the fragrant oils will gradually leach into the neutral oil, thereby creating a
For the base oil, you can use essentially any vegetable oil. I typically use olive oil or almond
oil (I have almond oil around the house because it makes a nice, light massage oil). Scent professionals recommend
jojoba oil because it is stable for long periods of time when stored at room temperature, but I don't think that is
as much of a concern for the home hobbyist.
I recommend making relatively small amounts at a time. I usually use a half pint or at most
pint-size canning jar to soak the essential base in the oil.
Your choices of scent are limited basically by your garden and your imagination. Flowers such as
lavender, honeysuckle, lilac, jasmine, roses and more are all good choices.
Herbs also work well. I'm particularly fond of rosemary as a scent, but I've also used oregano,
bay, mint and marjoram with good results.
On the spicy side, you can try cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or cloves. I'd suggest using vanilla
beans, but they've gotten so expensive that I prefer to soak them in alcohol to make my own vanilla extract rather
than using them to set the candle.
If you're collecting your own flowers or herbs, do so in the early morning. Put the scent base
in the canning jar, pour in enough oil to cover and then lightly crush and bruise the petals or herbs using
something like a wooden spoon.
Now you can either cover the jar and put it away to sit in a dark place for a few days, or you
can gently warm the oil slightly before you do that. You can warm it using hot water bath. Warming the oil will
speed the extraction process slightly, but if you do choose to warm the oil don't overdo it. If you get the oil too
hot for too long, you actually vaporize the essential oils you're trying to collect.
After a few days, strain the oil through a sieve lined with muslin or cheesecloth, pressing the
solids with the back of a spoon to extract all the oil possible.
Now repeat the process using the same oil with a new batch of flower petals or herbs.
Do this three or four times and you'll have a nicely scented oil that you can use to add
fragrance to your candles.
While you will never reach the scent concentration that professional manufacturers can
using a more sophisticated processes, there's something very satisfying about scenting your candles with fragrance
you've produced from your garden (or spice shop). Try it at least once just to see what it's like.