How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials

Written by annmarie keller
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How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials
Candlight memorials are a common and important way of saying goodbye to a loved one. (blowing the candle fire image by Cherry-Merry from

Candlelight memorials are an elegant and thoughtful way to honour a missed loved one. It is particularly touching for people brought together by the same loss to light a candle from a main one, representing the spirit of the person who has passed. Candles and supplies for a candlelight memorial service are available at craft or candle stores, but you can also make them at home with very little effort, leaving room in the memorial budget for other important touches. Tapers with paper bobeche collars to protect hands from wax are appropriate, as are votive candles with votive cups.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Beeswax sheets
  • Wicks, un-tabbed
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Scissors
  • Parchment paper
  • Single hole piercer
  • Piercing pad
  • Double boiler
  • Candle wax
  • Candle dye, optional
  • Scent oil, optional
  • Votive moulds, optional
  • Mold release spray, optional
  • Thermometer
  • Pre-tabbed wicks
  • Votive cups specifically made for candle use

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  1. 1

    Lay out a sheet of beeswax. Place a wick that is at least 2 inches longer than you want the candle to be along the very edge of the beeswax and roll as tightly as possible into a taper candle. This is the easiest way to create a taper candle. Trim the wick prior to use.

    How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials
    Beeswax sheets make an easy and affordable taper candle. (Abeja comiendo 10609 image by pablo from
  2. 2

    Cut parchment paper sheets into 3 inch circles. Place each parchment paper bobeche on the piercing pad and pierce directly in the middle of the paper. It is also possible to purchase 3-inch paper lace doilies and pierce those for a more esthetically pleasing looking bobeche or posy collar.

    How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials
    Small paper dessert doilies make excellent paper bobeche candle protectors. (chocolate cookies image by from
  3. 3

    Give each attendee of the memorial a taper candle and a paper bobeche to be slid down the shaft of the candle resting just over her hand, protecting it from melted wax.

  1. 1

    Fill the bottom half of the double boiler with water and put it on a stove on high heat to boil.

    How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials
    Boiling water is used to melt the votive candle wax. (boiling water 2 image by Christopher Hall from
  2. 2

    Place the votive wax into the top part of the double boiler. Dye and scent oils are optional things you can use to further personalise your candles. Add them to the wax if you are using them. Place the top half of the double boiler over the bottom half once the water is at a rolling boil.

  3. 3

    Coat the inside of the metal votive candle mould with mould release spray. You can avoid this step altogether and save time and money by simply using the glass votive cups you will put the candles into when they are done as the mould, hence eliminating the need for moulds and mould release spray.

    How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials
    Votive cups make perfect moulds for your memorial candles, eliminating steps in the candle making process. (candle lamps image by Furan from
  4. 4

    Straighten out your pre-tabbed wicks and set them aside.

  5. 5

    Pour the melted wax into the votive candle moulds or into the glass votive cups. Once melted you can check the temperature with a thermometer; 79.4 degrees C will be the approximate temperature you want. This will be your first pour. Save the leftover wax for the second pour. Turn off the boiling water and remove it from the burner.

    How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials
    Heat the wax to approximately 79.4 degrees Cor the first pour and 87.8 degrees Cor the second pour. (thermometer image by Alison Bowden from
  6. 6

    Cool the votives until the wax starts to gel. One by one place the pre-tabbed wicks into the votive candles metal end first and push the metal to the bottom. The wax will be cool enough now not to melt the wick itself, making it hard to keep it straight.

  7. 7

    Cool the votives completely; this may take a couple of hours. As the wax cools it will cave in toward the middle around the wick. Reheat the leftover wax to approximately 87.8 degrees C. The higher heat for the second pour facilitates the first and second wax pours adhering to each other. Once the wax is at the proper temperature, pour it into the voids around the wicks and then let the votives again cool completely.

  8. 8

    Remove the votives from the moulds if you are using a mould and then place the candle in a glass votive cup. If you have used a glass votive cup as a mould there is no need to remove the candle.

    How to Make Candles for Candlelight Memorials
    Each person at the candlelight memorial receives a candle. (Candle image by Pablo Gonzales from

Tips and warnings

  • Beeswax tapers are bulkier than dipped tapers and not as aesthetically pleasing. You can buy regular tapers and still make your own bobeches if you like. Rolling them between your hands similar to how you would roll dough also tightens the beeswax tapers and smooths the edges more. Unless the deceased had a favourite colour or scent you want to include in your ceremony, there is no need to dye or scent the wax.
  • Votive candles must be made to put into a votive cup to be carried, they are not meant to be free melting candles as they will liquefy completely, possibly causing serious injury to the holder if no cup is in place. Any use of candles must be done with care to prevent fire or injury. Votive cups used as moulds must be specifically made for candles to prevent the glass cracking from heat.

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