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Candlemaking the Natural Way (+ Giveaway!!!)

When I first met Hubs, he already owned the house we now live in. It was definitely a bachelor’s pad at that point, which was actually kind of great, since it enabled us to set up the space together. As he was giving me a tour of the place, and he showed me the bathroom, I immediately noticed two things: he’d had a large, soaking, “garden” tub installed, and he had lots and lots of candles in there. For himself. A nice tub, and nice candles. “This,” I thought to myself, “this right here is my kind of man.”

Hubs shares my love of hot baths and candle light. We have an entire cabinet packed with tapers, columns, pillars, votives, tea lights, and every manner of candle-holding vessel imaginable. Every room in our house, aside from Huxley’s room, has candles, too. When the power goes out, we’re set. When evening rolls around and we’re dining on the porch, candles are burning. During dinner parties and cookouts and all sorts of other get-togethers, candles are ‘a blazing.

My Small Measures post tomorrow on Design Sponge will offer a tutorial on making all-natural beeswax bug-repelling candles at home. I used Rebecca Ittner’s Candlemaking the Natural Way when creating the candles and can’t recommend the book enough. It’s packed with essential information on handcrafting beeswax, soy, and palm candles, including 31 projects to whip up, whether you’re hoping to light up your own space or gift to your nearest and dearest.

Lark has graciously offered one small measure reader a copy of Candlemaking the Natural Way! You’re going to love it, I promise. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below detailing your favorite way to use candles, or candlelight memory. For me, it happened two winters ago.

We lost power for 5 days and relied on our candle stash to light up the night. Though it was rough going (the forecast had called for 3-10 inches of snow, not the 17 we ended up with, so we were seriously caught off guard), huddling around the wood stove, listening to NPR play Charlie Brown’s Christmas on a battery-powered radio while eating cookies from my recent cookie exchange and sipping on rum-spiked eggnog (we buried coolers in the snow outside and filled them with the contents of the refrigerator and freezer) made the whole ordeal slow, and sweet, and precious in a way I’d never have thought possible.

I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Wednesday, July 4th at midnight EST. Per Lark’s request, the giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Sorry, international buddies! PLEASE leave a means of contacting you in your reply, either by linking back to your blog/website (which will need somewhere on there telling me how to contact you), or by leaving your email address with your comment (if you’d like to keep your email private, just make a comment with your name and then send me your email at: ashleyadamsenglish(at)gmail(dot)com).

Either way, win or no win, do check out Ittner’s book. Candle-making is a serious blast, feeling something like alchemy as you stir the pot, watch the wax melt, and shape-shift it into the candle holder.

68 Responses to Candlemaking the Natural Way (+ Giveaway!!!)

  • melanie says:

    I have never made my own candles, but I love using them just around the house. We have 4 cats, so a nice fresh candle smell from room to room really helps!


  • We love to extend early evening's glow on the front porch with candles as the sun sets. You're post tomorrow will be a great help in warding off the mosquitoes. Thank you for the opportunity to enter the giveaway–I would SO make every candle in that book!

  • Yasmin says:

    I love candlelight. I love the warm glow it casts and light them at every opportunity. I got married 12 days ago and, on our wedding night, my husband surprised me with a room filled with candles. It was beautiful.

  • Sarah says:

    I have never made candles, but I'd really love to try! It's nice to have a few candles just sitting around the house to light when the mood strikes, especially nicely scented ones.

  • Oh I LOVE to use candles about an hour before we have guests. It 'cleans up the place' and makes it really cozy and nice smelling.

    Sarah M

  • Jessica says:

    Can't wait to try your candle recipe Ashley! Cause boy do we have mosquites here!!

    I'm from Canada so I can't enter the giveaway, but wanted to wish all the US peeps good luck :)

  • Emily B says:

    I think homemade candles would be a great gift and this book might just get me started.

    – Emily B

  • I'm hoping to have some wax from my bees this year or next and to make some candles with that. This book would be a great start to keep the itch alive until then!

  • Anonymous says:

    Handmade anything is wonderful! Thanks for hosting another giveaway.

    – Jen jalley22 at

  • Anonymous says:

    My favorite use for candlelight is at the dinner table, to unwind and enjoy a meal as a family.
    Liene @ LLucane at yahoo dot com

  • Anonymous says:

    We haven't used too many candles because we have three little children running around, but I'd like to start again.

  • Kathleen says:

    I've made candles, but they were soy…I'd love to learn how to make beeswax and have them naturally repel insects!

  • jord. says:

    We always made candles at girl scout camp. Would love to make some “grown-up” ones!
    jordypants at yahoo dot com

  • I love to use candles to mimic the smell of the season — apple sin fall, pine in winter, flowers in the spring…plus, doesn't everybody look better by candlelight?

  • Jake n Kait says:

    I love candles of all shapes, sizes and varities. We prefer to dine by candle light on later evenings, and I usually keep one burning for the cozy feeling they give off.

  • I have been wanting to start making candles, but just need a push. And a side note, everytime I read your blog, I just want to move in… thank you for sharing all of your wonderfulness!

  • Anonymous says:

    I LOVE candles inside and outside the house- it's so primitive- fire and light and yet so peaceful and calming. Would love to make my own.

  • rebecca says:

    this sounds awesome! would love to learn how to make candles. My brothers and I used to play Monopoly by candlelight (thunderstorms and tornado warnings were common where we lived). Thanks for the giveaway; I'm new to reading your blog and I was tickled pink when I saw the references to Asheville; I hope to live there some time in my future.

  • Denise says:

    I love to light candles and have the fire going on Christmas with the tree lit it just feels more Christmasy somehow.

  • Cynthia says:

    love scented candles-the way they make my house smell-especially around the holidays-when I burn pine scented ones

  • Marietta says:

    I love beeswax candles – for Christmas, my husband gives me a large beeswax pillar – we light it every evening for months – cozy, air purifying, calming…

  • Mindy says:

    My favorite candle ever was one I received as a birthday gift from my next door neighbors when I was an early teen. It was in a soda cup which set in a wire holder with a candle and it smelled like orange blossoms. The fragrance was wonderful, so wonderful I never could bring myself to burn it. I moved it with me when I got married and again several years later to a new home, after that I lost track of it. My teen memories are tied up in that scent, and while there may be other orange blossom scented candles out there, I've never found one that had such a true to life orange blossom scent.

  • Dixie says:

    I make my own soy candles, but would love to expand. Like you, we have candles everywhere, but my favorite is in the bathroom during a nice soak in the tub with great music playing. Another great give away. Thanks Ashley.

  • redhott says:

    I like to burn candles with dinner in the winter. Not all the time just when I want itto feel intimate and warm. I love bees wax candles.

  • I miss burning candles my kids are not good with anything burning we learned that the hard way. I have lots of good candle burning memories hopefully we will be able to get them out of storage someday (you know when the kids go to college) :)

  • How exciting, candle making is on my learn to do list this year. We've started using them as a part of our bedtime routine with our girls.

  • Catherine says:

    One of my mom's friends makes candles, so I always associate them with childhood. It's sad to get away from it, to use up so much electricity at times, that sometimes I leave the lights off all day and night, and use candles instead. It's not often, but when it happens, it does change you and remind you to slow down.

    lostsurfboard AT

  • Thanks for the opportunity for such a wonderful giveaway!
    My favorite way to use candles would have to be in the bathtub. (Though since our son Bracken was born, having a relaxing bath to myself is rare.) We also rely on them when the power goes out, which tends to happen around these parts.
    I would love this book because we are wanting to get into candlemaking. We have a bunch of tallow we rendered from a local farm and wanted to mix it with beeswax leftovers from previous candles and some citronella to use for outdoor candles.

  • Tracey says:

    I love candles and would love to leard how to make my own.

  • petoskystone says:

    I love using floating candles…the flames dance on the water.

  • I love lighting candles in the evening as a way to relax! I'd love to learn how to make my own!

  • Jessica says:

    Ooo! When I was nine, my class took a trip to a nearby California Mission and we made dip candles like they would have in the 18th century.

    penrynsdreams(at)gmail dot com

  • KC Pagano says:

    You just made being in a snow storm with out power sound romantic! Rock on. I would would to win this book. I want natural beeswax candles for all our birthday celebrations from now on.

  • Leigh says:

    I love Day of the Dead alters lit with tons of candles. Such a beautiful way to remember loved ones and quite an amazing scene.

  • Michelle says:

    I love candles most in the winter, when it is dark early and the fire is roaring. Candles just add some peace even with 4 kids!


  • HikerGurl says:

    I use to make jar candles in the mid-90's. It was fun! I would love to learn some new ideas with more healthful tips.

    hippycas at yahoo dot com

  • HikerGurl says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • I have tried candles twice with limited success. Would like to try again.

  • Amy says:

    One of the first craft projects I ever did with my then boyfriend, now husband, was pour candles. We had a blast making flexible casts out of odd things that we then poured the wax into. For a long time we kept the “quarts crystal” candles intact, but we finally melted it down this year.

  • Carissa says:

    I made candles once years ago, for Christmas gifts. It was fun, but I was just using regular wax and purchased materials from Michael's. I'd love to learn about more natural materials and methods, and this book sounds like it would be a great resource once I have beeswax from my own bees!

  • I made candles from kits when I was in junior high many years ago…I would love to make candles again with high quality materials~love it! Great giveaway!~

  • I would love to win this book! Making candles can be so fun! : )

  • Lauren says:

    My boyfriend and I made candles a little while ago as a way to use the lights less at night. I love the idea for anti-bug candles, as mosquitoes absolutely love me. I've now realized that I need to live at a high elevation, otherwise I will lead a very itchy life.

  • I've always wanted to dabble in candle making! They set the perfect mood for pretty much any occasion :) Thanks for hosting a great giveaway!

  • Hollie says:

    This book looks like it is right up my alley. I used to make candles all the time, sounds like a great time to get back in the practice.

  • Jessica says:

    I actually look forward to power outages (fortunately they've always been short-lived in my case) because sitting in the quiet with the candles flickering is so peaceful.

  • Erin says:

    I would LOVE this book! (I have a bit of an obsession with beeswax :)

  • I love candles. One of the ways I enjoy them is burning them on my desk late at night so as not to disturb others in the house as they sleep. I find myself purchasing little votives of scents I like when I can't afford the larger ones. I recently bought a votive holder that was designed to hold three so that as they burn together their wax mingles together creating a wonderful scent blend

  • Beth says:

    I have made your beeswax lip balm – would LOVE to tinker with candles!

  • Geraldine says:

    Making candles is always on my list of things to try, but somehow I never seem to get that far. We're thinking of implementing “no light” evenings in the future, so knowing how to make our own candles would definitely be a plus!

  • TooeleTwins says:

    We burn candles every day since we have two stinky dogs! I would love to try making my own. I have a feeling that I will enjoy the scents more and save money in the process!
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  • sarah says:

    I love using candles to make an everyday family dinner feel super special. I'd love to try making my own!

  • Stef says:

    Whenever it's time for the Florida State Fair, one of my requirements before going home for the day is to make a candle, a small, skinny, plain, tapered candle, in Cracker Country. It's kind of a tradition now. I've made a candle at the fair almost every year since I was a kid. They've come in handy during hurricane season :)


  • BJ Gingles says:

    My husband and I love to sit on our patio with candle lanterns to gently light the area, sip on wine and talk. It is one of our favorite ways to wind down in the evenings. Living in LA though, the mosquitos and heat tend to run us inside during the summer. I would love to try your recipe for insect repellent candles. Sounds like a perfect solution.

  • Anonymous says:

    We love going to the outdoor festival and walking around and around the big boiling pot of beeswax with the kids just dipping and walking making their own candles and having fun. Thanks!

  • Laura says:

    How exciting! I've never tried this before, but I would love to start!


  • pendragon says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    My favorite candle memory is rolling up beeswax to make a candle when I was about 8. I convinced my mother she had to light it that night. I wasn't as careful a crafter as I am now, and the middle collapsed. My mother's table still bears a small scar.

    Now, my favorite use for candles is as a bathroom accent / fragrance – lit during dinner parties.


  • Rachel says:

    I'd love to make my own candles! I light them at the start of my home yoga practice.


  • Jeremy says:

    Every Christmas as a kid we would light candels and sing carols with my mom. Just us boys and her, made the hoildays that more special..

  • My daughter and I love to roll beeswax candles from wax sheets. Now that she's older it would be fun to advance into making candles with melted wax.

    racheletayse at gmail(dot) com

  • Anonymous says:

    I just started bee hives this year and am thinking about making candles after the honey harvest…this book would be great!

  • Allison says:

    I so want this book! I love a good candle, some night in winter, we'll just eat by candlelight, and it just makes dinner special…

  • Nothing is as successful at setting any kind of mood than candles. Now that I have bees, I'll have wax, and knowing how to make candles will be great!

  • I own a creative summer camp for girls and I would love to teach them how to make candles. We use candles at our closing campfire ceremony – the girls line the path through the field with candles in jars – and it would be amazing to have them make them on their own!

  • Lauren says:

    I would love to make my own candles! I love them, there's usually one burning in the house somewhere. :)

  • Kathryn Z. says:

    I would love to learn to make my own candles at home – it's something that I've always wanted to do, especially to control the additives and scents that go into them.

  • Sarah says:

    I love to have fragrant candles when I take a bath or to set a mood for a romantic dinner with my husband. When I travel, I tuck a candle into the travel bag with my clothes to make them smell pleasant – it's like a sachet.

  • I've only experimented with beeswax tea lights up to this point, but I'd love to learn more about making candles and this looks like a fantastic book!