What Does Handcrafted Candles Mean?

Handcrafted candles are candles that are made by hand, rather than by machines and mass production. The term “handcrafted” refers to items that are made individually by artisans, with care, skill and attention to detail. Handcrafted candles involve a high degree of human creativity, artistry and craftsmanship.

This article will provide an overview of what makes candles handcrafted, including the ingredients, processes, designs, popular brands, costs and more. We’ll cover tips for buying quality handcrafted candles, as well as proper care and burning. By the end, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what “handcrafted candles” really means.

Handmade Process

Handcrafted candles are made by hand from start to finish rather than being mass-produced by machines (Why Handmade Candles Are Worth the Investment). This handmaking process allows for more customization, creativity, and attention to detail than machine-made candles.

person hand pouring a candle

There are several benefits to handcrafting candles versus making them by machine:

  • More control over ingredients – Handmakers can carefully select high quality waxes, oils, and fragrances.
  • Unique designs – Each candle can be one-of-a-kind with hand-poured designs, colors, and shapes.
  • High quality – There is greater oversight in the handmaking process to ensure excellent craftsmanship.
  • Custom options – Handmade allows for personalized options like custom scents and labeling.
  • Artisanal appeal – Handcrafted candles have an artisanal, small-batch feel that people appreciate.
  • Ethical production – Handmaking often uses fair trade and ethically sourced ingredients.

Overall, hand poured candles provide a personalized, high quality product with attention to detail from start to finish.


The main ingredients that go into making handcrafted candles include wax, fragrance oils, wicks, and dye. The type of wax used can vary, with common options being soy wax, beeswax, and paraffin wax. Soy wax is popular for its natural source and biodegradability. Beeswax provides a natural honey aroma. Paraffin wax is a petroleum-based product that is affordable and easy to use. According to LoveToKnow, the wax makes up the main structure and burning element of the candle.

candle making ingredients - wax, fragrance, wicks

Fragrance oils are essential for creating scented candles. These are added to the melted wax prior to pouring into the vessel. Popular scents include floral, food-inspired, woodsy, and fruity aromas. The fragrance oils can be natural or synthetic. Essential oils derived from plants are a natural option. The wick is the cord that runs through the wax and aids in burning. Wicks come in various materials like cotton, wood, and paper. The wick must be wide enough to allow melted wax to travel up through capillary action and large enough to hold a flame. Adding dye introduces color into the wax for decorative candles. Liquid or oil-based dyes specifically for candlemaking should be used.


Candles come in a variety of vessels, the most common being glass, tin, ceramic, and wood. Glass jars are a popular choice as they allow the candle flame to be seen and come in many shapes and sizes. According to Roetell, “Glass candle jars are one of the commonly used jar types in candle making. They come in distinctive, smooth round edged, and designed to detail shapes.”

Tin vessels are another classic option, providing a vintage look and coming in round, square, or decorative shapes. As noted by Village Craft and Candle, tins are a good option as they “won’t shatter from the heat of a candle.”

Ceramic vessels bring an artisanal feel and provide decorative options not found with glass. As Candle Science states, they offer “Classic and Unique Jars, Ceramics” for candle making. Ceramic holds heat well but can crack if temperatures fluctuate too rapidly.

Wooden vessels give a natural, rustic look and work well for container candles. Wood absorbs the scent of the candle nicely but can become dried out over time from the heat.


One of the key benefits of handcrafted candles is the unique and creative designs that can be achieved. Since each candle is made by hand, artisans have the freedom to explore diverse shapes, colors, textures, and patterns not possible with mass-produced candles.

unique handcrafted candle designs

Handmade candle makers can create intricate shapes like seashells, pinecones, and flowers that capture beautiful details. They also have the flexibility to produce more abstract or avant-garde designs incorporating multiple layers, embeds, and carvings for visual interest.

The range of colors available in handcrafted candles is also far greater than manufactured candles. Everything from soft pastels to dramatic dark hues to tie-dye rainbow effects can be hand-mixed into the wax. Metallic waxes in gold, silver, copper, and more add special shimmering effects.

Textures are equally diverse in handcrafted candles, achieved through techniques like rolling the wax in spices, coffee beans, or dried flowers. Layering wax in different opacities creates depth. Intricate surface carvings allow for patterns like waves, vines, and geometric shapes.

The mark of a handcrafted candle is that no two look exactly alike. The artisanal touches and handmade variations give each candle a one-of-a-kind quality not found in factory production.

Popular Handcrafted Candle Brands

Handcrafted candles are often associated with small artisanal brands rather than large commercial manufacturers. Some of the most popular handmade candle brands known for their high-quality ingredients and unique designs include:

Diptyque (https://www.diptyqueparis.com/) – This luxury French brand is renowned for its stylish and sophisticated candles with unique scents like fig tree and Tubéreuse. Diptyque only uses carefully sourced waxes and fragrances.

Yankee Candle (https://www.yankeecandle.com/) – Though a large company today, Yankee Candle started as a small business making hand-dipped candles. They still produce handcrafted candles along with other products.

Jo Malone (https://www.jomalone.com/) – Jo Malone is popular for its hand-poured soy candles in elegant vessels with light, sophisticated scents like wild bluebell and wood sage. The brand has an upscale, luxe reputation.

Boy Smells (https://boysmells.com/) – This indie brand quickly gained a cult following for its hand-poured coconut-soy wax candles in distinctive scents like hinoki fantôme and rose load. The candles have playful, gender-neutral branding.

Homesick Candles (https://homesick.com/) – Each Handcrafted Homesick candle attempts to capture the essence of a memory or place, like Grandma’s Kitchen or Colorado Mountains. The soy-wax candles come in vintage-style jars.


Handcrafted candles are typically more expensive than mass-produced candles. This is because handcrafted candles use higher quality ingredients, unique vessels, and involve more labor. Whereas mass-produced candles are made efficiently by machines, handcrafted candles require careful craftsmanship by a person. Here are some typical pricing differences:

Mass-produced candles: $7 to $11

Handcrafted candles:
– Mid-market: $13 to $18

– High-end or “prestige”: $19 to $28+ (source)

Factors like ingredients, vessel type, branding, and demographics also impact pricing. Many handcrafters use a simple formula: Cost x 4. So if materials cost $5 per candle, they will price at $20 retail. (source)

While handcrafted candles cost more, customers are often willing to pay for the quality, uniqueness, and artisan appeal. The pricing should reflect the time, effort, and care put into each handmade candle.

Buying Tips

When shopping for handcrafted candles, there are several aspects you may want to pay attention to in order to find high-quality products:

Look for candles that specify the ingredients used. High-quality handcrafted candles will list details like the wax type (soy, beeswax, paraffin, etc.) and wick material. This shows transparency in the candle-making process. According to the Luxdeco Candle Buying Guide, soy and beeswax are common options for handmade candles (https://www.luxdeco.com/the-luxurist/luxury-candle-buying-guide).

person smelling a handcrafted candle

Consider the candle vessel style and design. Handcrafted candles often come in unique, decorative containers that add to the artisanal aesthetic. Vessels may be handmade from materials like ceramic, glass, tin, or wood. Pay attention to visual details that showcase handmade quality.

Look for information about the candle fragrance. High-quality candles use complex essential oil blends to create nuanced scents. The specific oil ingredients may be listed to highlight the care put into formulating the aromas.

Read product descriptions and reviews to learn about the brand and candle-making process. Many handcrafted candle makers are small businesses who put care into their creations. Their products and business practices reflect an artisanal approach.

Expect to pay more for handcrafted candles than mass-produced ones. The handmade process demands more time, effort, and higher-end materials. The price reflects the quality ingredients, unique designs, small batches, and handcrafting techniques.


Properly caring for your handcrafted candles is important to get the most enjoyment and burn time out of them. Here are some tips:

For maximum burn time, make sure to trim the wick to 1⁄4 inch before lighting to avoid soot buildup. Trim the wick before each use. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Keep burning candles away from flammable objects and out of drafts to avoid tunneling.

Allow the wax pool to form completely across the top before blowing out the flame. This will help the candle burn evenly. Don’t let candles burn for more than 4 hours at a time.

After blowing out the candle, allow the wax to harden before moving to avoid spills. Store candles with lids in a cool, dry place away from heat and light sources. Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations. Wipe any condensation that forms on stored candles.1

Never burn a candle all the way down. Stop burning when there is 1⁄2 inch of wax remaining. This prevents damage to the vessel and avoids safety hazards. Keep burning candles away from children and pets.


In summary, handcrafted candles are special because of the care, attention to detail, and personal touch involved in making them. While machine-made candles serve a purpose, handmade candles bring an artisanal, homemade feel to any space. The handcrafting process allows makers to choose high quality waxes, creative vessels, and unique scents. The designs and branding on handcrafted candles showcase the makers’ personalities and passions.

Although more expensive than mass-produced options, handcrafted candles are an affordable luxury that make meaningful gifts. When purchasing, look for makers who use natural ingredients and share details on their process. Take care to trim wicks before lighting and keep away from flammables. The glow, aroma, and charm of handmade candles make them a cherished part of self-care routines and home decor.

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