Early candles were made of vegetable waxes produced from plants such as bayberries, candelilla leaves, candletree bark, esparto grass, and various varieties of palm leaves such as carnuba and ouricury. They were also made of animal tissue and secretions, such as spermaceti(whale oil), ambergris, and beeswax (insect secretions). Sometimes entire animals such as the stormy petrel and the candlefish of the Pacific Northwest were threaded with a wick and burned as candles. Tallow candles were made of sheep, cow, or pig fat. All these candles were rather crude, time-consuming to make and smoky.

Of the two kinds of candle fuel, beeswax was considered the better since it burned cleaner than tallow and had a lovely odor compared to tallow's rancid, smoky smell. Being scarce, beeswax was expensive. Only churches and the wealthy could afford beeswax candles.

By the 17th century, European state edicts controlled the weight, size and cost of candles. In 1709, an act of the English Parliament banned the making of candles at home unless a license was purchased and a tax paid.

Matches were invented in 1827, using poisonous phosphorus but were improved by the end of the century, eliminating the need for sparking with flint, steel, and tinder, or for keeping a fire burning 24 hours a day.

Probably most important of all, Paraffin was refined from oil around 1850, making petroleum based candles possible. The combination of paraffin, which burns clean and without odor, and stearins, which harden soft paraffin, with new wick technologies developed in the nineteenth century, revolutionized the candle industry, giving us the tools and materials we still use for candle manufacturing.

Candle Shapes

Container: Any candle that is poured into a container and intended to be burned in the container is a container candle. These candles are often made of soft wax and would not be able to stand on their own outside their enclosures.
The container also prevents soft wax from dripping. Since these candles are safely contained in a vessel, they are often used in restaurants and in religious rituals that require long-burning candles.

Pillar: A thick candle with a geometrical cross section such as a circle, oval, or hexagon is called a pillar. It is usually referred to by its diameter followed by its height. For example, a 3-by 6-inch pillar would be 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches high. Some pillars come in standard sized for commercial and religious use but you can make many variations of pillars by using molds.

Novelty: These are irregularly shaped candles made by molding, sculpting and/or pouring.

Taper: These are the long cylindrical candles that kindle memories of historic candle-dipping. Tapers can be made by dipping wicks into melted wax, by pouring wax into a mold, and by rolling wax around a wick. No matter the method, the result is always candles made to fit into a holder.
Tapers are generally made 1/2 inch or 7/8 inch in diameter at the base because most holders are designed to fit these two sizes. There are, of course, exceptions, such as birthday candles (3/16 inch) and Danish tapers (1/4 inch). Some specialty candleholders are designed to hold a taper larger than 7/8 inch.

Votive and Tea Lights: Although these candles originated in the church, the term now refers to small plug-type candles that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter by 2 to 3 inches high. This shape has become popular for scented candles because their small size allows them to fit easily into small rooms, such as bathrooms.
As votives melt and become liquid in their containers, the wick uses up all the liquid fuel. If you burn a votive on a plate, the burn time will be shorter because the wax will drip and the wick will be unable to use it.
Tea lights are small votives used to warm pots of potpourri and to heat foods. They fit in smaller-than-standard votive cups.

Back to top

WHITE: --Self; Protection; Purification; Full Moon Magic; Purity; Innocence; Centering; Truth; Sincerity; Meditation; Peace; Power of a Higher Nature; Greater Attainments in Life; Spirituality.

RED: -- South; Protection; Strength; Blood; Passion; Courage; Health; Power; Fire Elemental; Sexuality; Vigor; Energy; Enthusiasm; Will Power; To conquer fear or laziness.

LT. BLUE: --Healing; Patience; Happiness; Psychic Awareness; Quests; Intuition; Opportunity; Tranquillity; Understanding. Ward Depression; Safe Journey; Harmony in the Home; Peace.

DARK BLUE: --The Goddess; West; Water Elemental; Inspiration; Truth; Dreams; Protection; Change; Impulse; Fidelity; Deep Emotion; Peace; Meditation; Changeability; Psychism.

GREEN: --North; Money; Fertility; Growth; Employment; Earth Elemental; Herb Magic; Luck; Healing; Balance; Prosperity; Courage; Nature type Faerie-magic; Garden blessing; Abundance; Generosity; Renewal; Marriage.

YELLOW: --East; Air Elemental; Intellect; Creative Work; Learning; Changes; Confidence; Attraction; Harmony; Clairvoyance; Charm; Imagination; Power of the Mind; Gentle persuasion; Action.

BROWN: --Earth Elemental; Animal Health; Endurance; Steadiness; Houses & Homes; Physical Objects; Overcoming uncertainty and hesitancy; Attract Money and Financial Success; Concentration; ESP; Intuition; Study.

PINK: --Love; Peace; Femininity; Friendship; Honor; Morality; Emotional Love; Affection; Romance; Spiritual Awakening; Healing of the Spirit; Togetherness.

ORANGE: --The God; Attraction; Stimulation; Energy; Healing; Vitality; Encouragement; Adaptability; Luck; Pulling things to you; Clearing the Mind; Dominance, Sudden Changes; Change Luck.

PURPLE: --Power; Dignity; Spiritual Development; Meditation, Spirituality; Intuition; Ambition; Spirit Communication; Tension; Business Progress; Healing Severe Diseases; Occult Wisdom; Success; Idealism; Higher Psychic Ability; Break Bad Luck; Drive Away Evil; Honors.

GOLD: --The God; Solar Energy; Physical Strength; Power; Success; Mental Growth; Skill Sought; Healing Energy; Fortune; Divination; Creative Work; Intuition; Money; Fast Luck; Attracts Higher Influences.

SILVER: --The Goddess; Lunar magic; Removes negative forces; Opens astral gates; Conducts Energy; Meditation; Creative Work; Protection; Money; Psychic Development; Success; Balance; Ward Negativity; Remove Negative Energy; Stability; Victory.

VIOLET: --Self Improvement; Intuition; Success in searches; Creative Work.

BLACK: --Endings; Closing of Doors; Psychic Work; Death; Ward Negativity; Remove Hexes; Protection; Spirit Contact; Truth; Remove Discord or Confusion; Reversing; Releasing; Repel Dark Magic and Negative Thought Forms.

GREENISH-YELLOW: --To Negate; Discord, Sickness, Anger, Jealousy, Cowardice, Anger.

INDIGO:--Meditation; Spirit Communication; Karma Working; Balance; Learn the Ancient Wisdom; Neutralize Another's Magic; Ward Slander, Lies or Undesirable Competition

GRAY: --Non-Nature Faerie Magic; Travel to Otherworld; Vision Quests; Veiling; Cancellation; Hesitation; Competition.

LAVENDER--Spiritual Development; Psychic Growth; Divination; Sensitivity to the Otherworld; Blessings.

MAGENTA: --Very High Vibrational Frequency that tends to work fast so usually burned with other candles; Quick Change; Spiritual Healing, Exorcism.

Back to top


Cast and Molded: These candles are made by pouring wax into a preformed mold or shape. Molds can be made of disposable materials such as milk cartons and sand, purchased in metal or plastic, found at garage sales and on the beach, or created by you out of rubber, latex, or silicone rubber. You can make any of the candle types mentioned in the previous section with the molding and casting method.

Dipped: These candles are made by repeatedly dipping a piece of wick into melted wax in a container, or dipping can. The results are called tapers because this is the natural shape that occurs as a result of dipping.

Drawn: This is an old method made new by modern technology. It involves pulling long lengths of wick (thousands of yards) through melted wax. This method works well for making small diameter candles such as birthday candles, or the long waxed wicks used to light multiple candles called wax matches. In earlier times, some lamps were designed to hold wound lengths of waxed wick, which were unwound as they burned down. This method allowed a long burning candle without a thick wax product.

Extruded: This is a machine method that pushes wax out through a shaped template, much like making cookies with a cookie gun. Once they're extruded, these very long candles are then sliced into their proper lengths. This method requires accurate heating and cooling of the wax in order to ensure that the intended shape holds as the wax comes through the die.

Poured: This term refers to an old-fashioned method of pouring wax repeatedly over a wick to build it up to candle size.

Pressed: This is a newer method of making commercial candles in which wax is atomized onto a cooling drum, forming wax beads or granules. These beads are then compressed into molds, where they bind to form a candle. The commercial advantage of pressed candles is that they can be removed from molds much more quickly than molten-poured molded candles.

Rolled: These candles are made by rolling sheets of wax around a wick. Tapers, pillars, and novelty candles can be made with this method.

Back to top


Candles are simple to make, require few special tools or materials, and are powerful focal points for visualization and personal power.
You can certainly run to the store to purchase candles for rituals, but those you've made yourself will personalize your magic to an even greater extent

  • Step #1: Decide what kind of candle you'll be making.
  • Step #2: Purchase either paraffin or candle wax from a crafts store.
  • Step #3: Assemble all your materials before you start melting the wax, i.e:wax, containers, wicking, wax coloring, herbs, oils, wooden spoon, saucepot(to be used only for melting wax!), coffee can or a can large enough to fit in saucepot and leave space enough for water, molds,etc.,...
  • Step #4: Fill the pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Break the wax into smaller pieces and when water boils place can in water and wax inside can. Turn heat down to medium. Watch closely to make sure wax doesn't get too hot. Turn heat down if necessary. Once wax melts turn heat down to low.
  • Step #5: Depending on what type of candle you are going to make; Add color to wax, add oils or herbs and blend well.(If you used herbs you should decide if you're going to strain the wax or leave the herbs to burn(Warning-burning herbs don't smell the way you think they should!).
  • Step #6: Prime your wicking by saturating it with melted wax and letting the wax harden before using. Cut wick to the size you want plus 1-2 inches.
  • Step #7: If you are using a container to pour the wax into be sure the mold is warm before you pour. If you are going to make taper candles pour wax into a dipping can (one that's as long as you want your candles to be). Begin dipping. Hold a length of wicking between your thumb and forefinger. Dunk it into the wax. After dipping, hold it in the air for a moment or two until the wax has set. Dip again, and again until the candle has reached the width you want. When done, hang the candle in a spot where it won't be touched for several minutes. A cabinet is a good spot, stick the top of the wick under the bottom of the cabinet door allowing the candle to hang freely. Test the candle after 20 minutes or so. The wax should have set but still be warm. Lay a piece of waxed paper on the counter and roll the candle back and forth GENTLY!. This straightens the taper and reduces irregularities on its surface. When the candle is fairly straight, cut off the inverted cone at the bottom of the candle with a sharp knife. Dip the taper two more times and hang to dry until hard.
  • Step #8: If you poured the wax into a container; attach a base to the wick, wait until the wax has formed a thin skin on the top then drop wick down the center and hold in place until skin forms around it enough to hold it itself.(I've been know to use a couple chop-sticks to keep the wick from moving, that way you can get on with things). After about 20 minutes or so, you'll notice a dent in the top of the wax. If the top is firm to the touch pour wax into the depression to make a flat surface. Let wax set completely(8-24 hours) and trim the wick to 1/3 inch.

It was recently brought to my attention that I left out a few necessary instruction in this candlemaking guide. I was going to just change the info I had presented here but then thought that it might be better if I simply post the information as it was sent to me. Warm thanks to Mia for these additions!

1. when melting wax, it is important to bring it to the appropriate temperature; for basic gulf-wax paraffin like you get at the hardware store that's about 130-150. but if you make it too cool, tapers come out lumpy and cast candles are very difficult to remove from the mold because they don't contract enough. if it's too hot, tapers take forever to build up, and cast candles shrink too much and exhibit white marks on the outside and sometimes tiny crackle effects and/or cracking. so, right wax, right temperature. you know it's too cool if it isn't perfectly clear and it's too hot when you start seeing heat swirls in it - like it's behaving like cooking oil when that starts to get HOT. but a candy thermometer for 5 bucks is probably the best insurance you can get for producing consistent candles

2. for a container candle the container works better if its warm. but if you will be unmolding the candle, it better to get the wax temp right and have the mold cold. it gives a smoother finish and helps the wax set up quicker. it also causes the outside layer of wax to shrink quickly even before the mold is completely filled, so it makes to easier to remove.

3. when you make a molded candle, tie a tight knot in the wick. thread the wick UP through from the bottom to the inside and pull it up taut so the knot is pressed against the bottom of the mold. put the wick-rod across the top of the mold and tie a half-hitch keeping the wick taut. now, on the bottom of the mold if its metal, find a small screw and tighten it into the hole around the wick (professional molds actually comer with a wick screw and it's easier to just wrap the wick around it instead of knotting it). then no matter what type of mold, put some sticky putty (candle putty {Joelles'note: this is also known as mold-sealing clay} is best, but others work, {it should be available in the candle making section of your favorite hobby store or online source} or even krazy glue if this is a disposable mold like a milk carton, anything to make it water tight. test the seal with water, and be sure to dry the mold completely afterwards. if the mold is metal, put it into a bath of water to get a really smooth finish (this also helps keep the bottom from leaking 'cos it sets the wax real quick)

4. this is REALLY important. the wick type and size MUST be matched to the diameter of the candle and the type of wax. and braided wicks should always be used in pillar candles. an under sized wick will give a really weird burn... it'll drift through the center of the candle and never give a complete burn but it's more annoying than dangerous, and the candle may become self-extinguishing. but if done properly and undersized wick can create a wax shell that can be refilled with tea-lights or votives. this is what i do on my carved unity candles so they can be everlasting. but an over-rated wick IS dangerous. it burns too hot and causes the shell of the candle to fail too soon, thus the melted fuel is not contained within the shell until it is consumed and it will spill out. also the wick will not properly bend over on itself and consume itself, so it will need to be frequently trimmed or it will become a real smoker. if you've ever used a Yankee candle. you've seen this. but as best i can tell, that's done on purpose. the wick is properly sized to the container, to give a complete burn, but the wax is very soft because of the amount of scent oil so, in effect the wick is slightly over-rated. it seems people would rather have it smoke a bit and trim the wick than have a bunch of really expensive wax that didn't melt. metal core wick should be used in votives, tea-lights and other container candles so that when there is a lot of liquid fuel, the wick doesn't tip over or collapse. also, if you use a metal core wick with a wick holder at the bottom when pouring cast candles the way you described, it's much easier because it'll pretty much stand on its own with just a bit of support and it won't float out of center the way a wax primed wick will. since you have to get wicking somewhere and most places that have normal braided wick also have metal core and wick holders.

Back to top

For an easy recipe for scented candles using a mold and paraffin wax click here


Candle magic can be quite a complicated procedure, but these steps should help make it a little easier.

  1. Choose an appropriate color: The color of the candle you use is your first concern. You must correlate color with the goal you have in mind. (See my list of candle colors for reference.

  2. Cleanse the candle: Now that you've chosen the appropriate color of candle, your next task is to remove energies infused into the candle during the manufacturing process(Unless you made the candle yourself with a particular goal in mind).
    Saturate a tissue with rubbing alcohol and, holding the candle in your hand, cleanse its surface, moving from bottom to top. This expels energy from the candle(If you are working with a glass encased candle, clean the exposed wax and the glass with the alcohols.

  3. Consecrate the candle: Next, dedicate the candle to your purpose. There three methods in which to do this, any or all may be used
    Carve symbols into the candle:  Take a sharp object (Such as your athame or a toothpick) and carve appropriate symbols into the side of the candle(or the top if glass-encased). If you are working for prosperity and dollar sign may be appropriate, if the goal is romance a heart would work. Astrological signs, runes, element signs, or personal signs may also be used. Think intensely of your goal while you carve. Even better is to repeat a verbal formula, such as an incantation or affirmation.
    Oil the candle: Most metaphysical stores carry a wide range of oils for sale, some pre-mixed for particular goals, choose one of these or mix your own.
     Dip your fingers into the oil and anoint the entire surface of the candle with it. If you want to attract good, oil the candle from the top to bottom. If you want to expel something from your life (such as a bad habit, illness, or an unwanted situation) oil the candle from bottom to top.
     If you can't decide which direction to oil from, try an alternative method; begin at the center of the candle and apply the oil upward toward the top, then from the center down.
      If working with a glass-encased candle, oil the exposed wax: clockwise (deosil) to draw good, counter-clockwise (widdershins) to expel negativity.
      It's important to use a verbal formula while you oil the candle, for this focuses your mind on the work at hand.
    Spray, sprinkle, or anoint the candle with water Purchase a water (such as Prosperity, Love, Success or Healing Water) from a metaphysical store, and pour some into an atomizer or plant mister. Spray the entire surface of the candle as you repeat your affirmation or incantation. If you don't have an atomizer or plant mister, simply sprinkle the candle, or dip your fingers in the water and anoint the candle as you would with an oil.

A cleansed and consecrated candle should be used for one purpose only. If you prepare a candle for prosperity purposes, don't use it for anything else. You should decide how often and for how long a time your are going to burn your candle. Choose your candle size according to your purpose. If your goal is very important, you may wish to burn your candle every day for several days, which means you must use a very large candle. An alternative is to use several smaller candles and burn one each day. If you choose to use smaller candles remember to cleanse and consecrate each one before use.
When you light your candle, do so consciously. Be aware that fire has an affinity with the spiritual plane.

Remember the Rule of Three and the Wiccan's Rede: "An it harm none, do what ye will".

Back to top

Graphics on this page courtesy of Wax and Weeds.
(Unfortunately their site no longer appears to be in existence)

[Celtic Art] [Celtic History] [Celtic Deities] [Celtic Tree Calendar] [Celtic Traditions] [Wiccan Beliefs] [Wiccan Tools] [Wiccan Texts] [Wiccan Traditions] [Solitary/Coven] [Sabbats] [Esbats] [Pagan Traditions] [Candle Magick] [Clip Art] [Desktop Themes] [Circle of Fairies] [Herb Garden] [WWotW] [Celtic Links] [Wiccan/Pagan Links] [Favorite Links] [Home] [Webrings] [Site Map] [Reading List] [Guestbook]