Did you make tallow with me the week before last? Why not try making tallow candles with me? This is an easy project for anyone interested in making their own candles. Let’s learn how to make tallow candles together!

For this episode of the Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I am making candles for the first time. Can you believe I’ve never made them before? My “wax” of choice is going to be the tallow that I made 2 weeks ago.

If, like me, you’ve never made candles before, you should know that you can make candles out of lots of different materials. You can use animal fat like tallow or lard, you can use beeswax or soy wax, butter, or Crisco. Crayons, used either whole, or melted down into a more traditional candle work as well. You can also use liquid fats as candles, just know that they won’t set up into a hard candle.

There are a few other things that you can use for emergency candles, but I think it’s nice to have a lot of designated emergency candles on-hand at all times, in case of power outages.

Any of these types of candles can be perfect for emergency candles, you can use them for decorative purposes, or just for the ambiance. You can add essential oils for fragrance if you’d like, but it takes a lot to scent candles, and is really not necessary unless you’re wanting to use them for odor control.

The beautiful thing about using tallow to make candles is that they are toxin-free, and very sustainable. If you raise your own meat animals, you’re sure to have a steady source of tallow that you can use. Never made tallow? You can read all about how to do it, and see my video on it, in my post on rendering tallow.

Let’s get started with this easy project!

Supplies needed to make tallow candles

You’ll need some very basic supplies to make tallow candles, which you might already have laying around. You can change this up according to what you have on hand, or you can purchase most of these things pretty easily.

  • A sturdy can or jar
  • Tallow
  • Wick
  • Super glue or hot glue
  • Tape
  • String

For my first time, I decided to use small empty cans of peas. My wicks were pretty short, so I needed something that they would fit in, without being lost in the melted tallow. If I was making more than the 2 that I did, I would probably opt for using Mason jars. But right now, Mason jars are in short supply, and I’m going to need all I can get for gardening season!

I also used birthday candles for my wicks, since my little town doesn’t have any stores that sell wicks. I just worked with what I had!

It may be a good idea to cover the candles with a lid or something for storage, but if you don’t have a lid for it, no biggie! I just might cover my tin can candles with tin foil or something to keep dust and moisture out.

Steps to make tallow candles

  1. Melt the tallow in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler (I don’t, either!), you can simply scrape out some of the tallow and put it into a can or jar. Place this can or jar into a pot of water, then turn on the heat. Make sure you don’t get water into the can or jar, as this will alter your finished product. Keep the heat on the pot until the tallow is fully melted.
  2. While the tallow is melting, prepare the can or jar that you are going to make your candle in. If you’re going for more of a decorative candle, I would suggest a Mason jar. I just love using Mason jars as decoration! But if it’s just a utilitarian candle, a simple tin can will do. You will want to start with a clean can or jar. Secure your wick in the bottom of the jar with super glue or hot glue. Hold the wick upright in the jar with tape and string so it doesn’t fall down when you pour the melted tallow around it.
  3. Turn off the heat to the pot when the tallow is fully melted, and allow the tallow to cool enough to handle. Carefully pour the tallow into your prepared jar, then set aside to cool.
  4. Once the tallow is cooled down enough, it will solidify. You can then remove the tape and string, and your candle is finished!

Here is a video of my first time making tallow candles:

Are you going to try to make your own self reliant candles?

Did I motivate you to make your very own self reliant candles? They really are a great thing to have around, especially if you know that they are toxin-free and completely safe to use around your family and pets.

If you do decide to make your own, would you please share your experiences? Let’s learn together!


1 Comment

  1. Great info, Shawna! Thanks for sharing!

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