Can I Make Candle Molds With A 3D Printer?

A 3D printer is a machine that creates three-dimensional objects by depositing materials, usually plastic or metal, in layers based on a digital model. 3D printers work by taking a 3D model file, slicing it into thin layers, and then heating and extruding plastic or other materials to build up the object layer by layer.

Candle molds are containers used to hold melted wax that will become a candle. Candle molds allow the melted wax to cool and harden into a specific shape. People may want to make their own candle molds so they can customize the shape, size, and design of their candles. Some reasons people create homemade candle molds include:

  • To make candles in unique shapes not available commercially
  • To create candles that perfectly fit specific containers or spaces
  • To personalize candles as gifts with custom shapes and designs
  • To save money over buying commercial candle molds
  • For the creative satisfaction of designing and making their own molds

With a 3D printer, it is possible to design and produce customized candle molds at home tailored exactly to your needs.

Materials Needed

The key materials needed to 3D print candle molds are:

  • 3D Printer – You’ll need access to a 3D printer to produce the physical mold. Consumer desktop 3D printers like those from Makerbot or Ultimaker work well for small to medium sized molds. [1] For larger molds, an industrial grade printer may be required.
  • 3D Printing Filament – PLA and ABS plastics are the most common filament materials used in 3D printing candle molds. PLA is plant-based while ABS is petroleum-based. Both produce durable prints. PLA has a lower melting point so care must be taken not to expose finished candle molds to high temps. [2]
  • 3D Design File – You’ll need a 3D model file (STL, OBJ, etc) to 3D print your mold. This can either be designed from scratch or customized using pre-made designs.

With a 3D printer, suitable filament, and a 3D design, you’ll have the core ingredients to 3D print customizable candle molds at home.

Design Considerations

When designing a 3D printed candle mold, there are several key factors to consider:

The shape of the mold will determine the final candle design. Simple shapes like cylinders, cubes, or spheres are easiest to print and remove the finished candle from. More complex shapes may require additional draft angles or release mechanisms. According to, rounded edges help the candle release easier from the mold [1].

The mold will need a hole for the wick. This should extend through the bottom of the mold so the wick can be anchored before pouring in wax. The hole diameter should match the wick thickness [2].

Sufficient draft or taper should be designed into vertical surfaces of the mold to aid removal of the finished candle. Draft angles of 1-3 degrees are recommended. The mold can also be designed to split apart into pieces for easier candle release [1].

The surface finish of the 3D printed mold will affect the surface texture of the candle. Smoother prints can be achieved with finer layer heights, but this increases print time. Sanding and coating the mold interior can also give a smoother finish.

Creating the 3D Model

The first step in creating a 3D printed candle mold is to model the mold design digitally in 3D modeling software. There are many options for free or paid 3D modeling software, such as Tinkercad, Fusion 360, Blender, SketchUp, ZBrush, and more. The software you choose will depend on your skill level and specific design needs.

Here is a basic tutorial for modeling a simple straight-sided candle mold in Tinkercad:

  1. Open Tinkercad and start a new design.
  2. Select the Box shape and drag it onto the workplane to create the outer walls of the mold.
  3. Resize and stretch the box to your desired candle mold dimensions. Taller, skinnier molds work best.
  4. Select the Cylinder shape and place it inside the box to create a circular cavity for the candle wax.
  5. Resize the cylinder’s diameter and height as needed.
  6. Align the cylinder precisely centered inside the box.
  7. Group the two shapes into one object.
  8. Add a hole at the top for pouring in wax later.
  9. Export the finished mold design as an STL file for 3D printing.

The key is to model a hollow mold cavity slightly larger than your desired candle size. Simple shapes like boxes and cylinders make this easy in basic 3D software.

3D Printing the Mold

Once you have the 3D model completed, it’s time to prepare it for 3D printing. There are a few key settings and steps to ensure your candle mold prints properly:

Printer Settings – For candle molds, you’ll want high print resolution for clean, smooth surfaces. Adjust your slicer software settings to 0.1mm layer height or lower. Infill can be around 20% to balance strength and print time. Go for a slower print speed for accuracy. Materials like PLA, PETG, or ABS work well for candle molds.

Support Material – Overhangs and bridges in your candle mold model will need support material during printing. Enable this in your slicer and adjust settings like support density and pattern as needed. Carefully remove all support material after printing.

Print Time – The print time will vary considerably depending on the size and complexity of your mold design. Plan for a minimum of 4-6 hours for a basic single candle mold. Larger multi-cavity molds could take 12 hours or longer. Watch the initial layers to ensure good first layer adhesion and smooth printing.

Proper printer settings, optimal use of support material, and patience during long print jobs will result in the best quality mold possible. Refer to in-depth guides like “3D Printing Tips: How to Improve 3D Print Quality” from All3DP for more advice on dialing in high resolution prints. With some trial and error, your DIY candle molds will be ready for pouring wax in no time!

Preparing the Mold

Before casting candles, the 3D printed mold must be properly prepared.

First, sand the mold thoroughly with fine grit sandpaper. This will smooth out any layer lines and imperfections (source). Be sure to sand all surfaces that will contact the wax or candle material. Pay close attention to hard-to-reach spots.

Next, apply a release agent to the mold. This will prevent the candle wax from sticking to the mold. Common release agents include silicone sprays, petroleum jelly, and vegetable oils. Apply a thin, even layer over all interior mold surfaces (source). Too much release agent can lead to bubbles in the finished candle.

After sanding and applying release agent, the 3D printed mold is ready for pouring wax or candle material. Proper preparation is key to cleanly removing the finished candle from the mold.

Making Candles

Making candles with 3D printed molds is a simple process once you have the mold prepared. The basic steps are:

Melting Wax

Pour wax flakes or wax pellets into a heat-safe pouring pot or pitcher. Melt the wax slowly on low heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches the manufacturer’s recommended pouring temperature. Avoid overheating the wax as this can cause discoloration or loss of scent.1

Preparing Wicks

Cut wick to about 1/2 inch longer than the height of the candle mold. Attach wick to bottom of mold using hot glue or masking tape. Center and straighten wick.2


Carefully pour the melted wax into the mold, being careful not to disturb or displace the wick. Fill to top of mold. Allow air bubbles to surface then top off with more wax to fill mold completely.

Cooling and Unmolding

Allow candle to cool completely undisturbed, typically overnight. Once fully set and hardened, gently flex the mold to release the finished candle. Trim wick if needed.


Even with the best 3D printed molds, you may run into some issues when making candles. Here are some common troubleshooting tips for candle making with 3D printed molds:

Issues with Mold Detail

If your 3D printed mold is not holding the fine details, try adjusting the print settings for a higher resolution print. You may need to use a smaller nozzle size and slower print speed to get crisp details on your candle molds. Sanding the mold lightly before casting can also help smooth out any rough edges.1

Candles Sticking in Mold

To prevent candles from sticking, make sure the mold is thoroughly cleaned and coated in a mold release spray before each use. Avoid overfilling the mold which can cause wax to spill over and act as an adhesive. Let candles cool completely before attempting to remove them. Gently flexing the mold can help break the seal.

Wick Centering

Precise wick placement is key for even burning. Make sure your 3D model has a centered wick hole or channel. When pouring wax, hold the wick taut and allow the wax to set up partially before releasing. This helps secure the wick in place. Check wick centering and adjust as needed before the wax fully hardens.

Finishing Touches

The last step is to add any final touches to complete your 3D printed candle molds. First, trim the wicks to 1⁄4 inch above the top of the candle using scissors or nail clippers. This helps ensure a proper burn once the candle is lit.

You can also decorate the candles in various ways if desired. For example, you can adhere wax embellishments, glitter, dried flowers, seashells, or other small items using a hot glue gun. Just make sure any additions are securely attached and won’t fall off once the candle burns down. You can also customize the look by painting the outside of plain candles with acrylic paints.

Finally, make sure to clean up any drips or spills on the finished candles using rubbing alcohol applied with a paper towel or cotton pad. This will give them a neat, professional look. Then allow candles to cure undisturbed for at least 48 hours before burning so they are ready to use and gift.


In summary, 3D printing candle molds is feasible but requires some trial and error to perfect the process. The key steps are designing the 3D model with the right dimensions, choosing suitable print settings, preparing the mold properly, and testing different waxes, wicks, and pouring temperatures.

With some experimentation, creative candle designs can be 3D printed like geometric shapes, holiday themes, and detailed textures. The finished candles make great gifts or decoration.

While 3D printing does have limitations compared to commercial metal molds, it enables customized candle designs without high equipment costs. Adjustments to the model and print process allow improvements over time. Overall, 3D printing opens up candle making to makers of all skill levels.

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