How To Make Seashell Candles

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From recycled candles to candles nestled inside natural containers like shells and hollowed out stones, candle making has never been so creative or fun. It's also easier to make a simple candle than it used to be. If you have a microwave, you can make a candle! To make a basic candle, you need wax (paraffin, soy, oil, beeswax, tallow) or a combination of waxy ingredients. You also need a:

  • Wick (available at craft stores)
  • Container or mold of some sort
  • Double boiler (or microwave safe bowl)
  • Heat source

It's also a good idea to have a high temperature thermometer. For general candle making, a candy thermometer is an inexpensive choice.

The idea here is to melt a block or other volume of wax on a burner or in your microwave. Once the wax melts, it's easy to pour it into a container or mold and place a prefabricated wick in the center. After the wax hardens, trim the wick to 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch long.

Candle Making Info

Craft outlets and online candle suppliers sell all the ingredients you'll need to make any type of candle you may have in mind. You can buy rigid, freestanding wicks that are easy to position in your container of choice, as well as wax flakes or beads that melt faster than large blocks of wax. There are also lots of accessory items like wax dyes, tinted waxes, essential oil fragrances and fancy, adorable and sometimes very funny, molds.

There are four basic types of wax for candles:

  • Paraffin - The least expensive option. It requires stovetop preparation.
  • Gel - This mineral oil product has a rubbery finish that creates long burning candles.
  • Soy wax - Derived from soybeans, this wax is so easy to use you can melt it in the microwave.
  • Beeswax - The best and most expensive wax used in candles. It requires stovetop preparation.

Make A Candle In A Seashell

You can see how easy it is to create a candle -- especially when you're utilizing a naturally sturdy container like a seashell. You just:

  • Clean the shell you have in mind.
  • Cover any areas on the shell you want to protect from drips with wax paper or foil.
  • Insert the wick.
  • Pour in the hot wax (carefully!)
  • Trim the wick after the wax has cooled and hardened.

Avoid using shells with unstable bases. If necessary, you can always glue glass beads or stones to the bottoms of shells to stabilize them. You can also make an arrangement of multiple small candles and position them in a dish filled with sand, which acts as a natural stabilizer.

Shell Embellishments

Another option for using seashells in candles is to add seashells to container candles:

  • One way is to affix shells to the interior sides of a jar using a dab of glue. Insert a wick and fill the jar with hot wax. The shells will be visible through the glass as a decorative element.
  • You can also fill a jar half full of small shells, add a wick and fill the jar with wax. Portions of the shell layer will be visible through the glass and create a textured look - a bit like buried treasure.
  • A quick and fun way to combine shells and candles is to fill a vase or other glass container with shells, add water and float candles on top. One nice thing about this approach is that you can reuse the shells and the container in other types of projects.
  • Here's one more: Place a pillar candle inside a hurricane lamp, and add a layer of small seashells around the base of the candle and partway up the sides.

Before you use a glass container for a candle, test it first. Place the container in your sink or another safe location, and fill it with boiling water. If it doesn't crack, it's probably sturdy enough to use in candle making. (The bottoms of container candles can get very hot as the wick burns down. Always place burning candles on protective, non-flammable coasters.)

Shell Candle Molds

We've talked about ways to add shells to candles, but when you use a mold, you can actually make a candle in the shape of a shell. Another dramatic option is to buy a pillar candle mold, pour the candle and press shells into sides as the candle sets. Molds are fun and less expensive than you might think. A 3" x 6.5" mold typically sells for under $10.

Last Updated: March 19, 2013
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About Sara Elliot Sara Elliott is a freelance copywriter and dedicated blogger. Her popular gardening, cooking and crafting blog, The Herb Gardener, was cited by The Wall Street Journal for its fun and frugal tips. Sara has a degree in English, and you can find her health, crafting, and lifestyle pieces on sites like DiscoveryHealth.com, HowStuffWorks.com, Savvi.com and TLC.com.

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