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How do you make layered scented candles?

Making your own layered scented candles is a fun DIY project that allows you to customize candles to your exact scent preferences. The layering process creates visual interest and allows you to combine multiple fragrances in one candle. With some basic supplies and a little practice, you can make professional looking layered candles at home.

Benefits of Making Layered Candles

There are many benefits to making your own layered scented candles:

  • Customization – You can pick your favorite scents and colors to make candles that suit your tastes.
  • Creativity – The layering process allows you to unleash your creativity and make beautiful, unique candles.
  • Gifting – Homemade layered candles make thoughtful, personalized gifts for friends and family.
  • Cost Savings – Making your own candles is cheaper than buying premade layered candles.
  • Quality Ingredients – You can use high quality waxes, dyes and scents to make candles with excellent fragrance throw.

Supplies Needed

Here are the basic supplies you will need to make layered scented candles:

Supply Details
Wax Use candle or pillar wax such as paraffin, soy, or beeswax. You need about 1 pound of wax per standard 12 oz candle.
Candle dye Liquid or block candle dyes in your preferred colors.
Fragrance oil Essential oils or candle fragrances designed for candle making. Use 1 oz of fragrance per 1 pound of wax.
Wicks Pre-tabbed or pre-wired wicks made for the type of wax you are using. Use proper wick sizing for the candle diameter.
Candle containers Glass, metal or other heat safe containers in the sizes and shapes you desire.
Double boiler A double boiler is needed to melt the wax for pouring. You can buy one or DIY your own.
Thermometer For monitoring wax temperatures. Use a thermometer designed for candle making.
Stir sticks Popsicle sticks, chopsticks or spoons for mixing wax.

Optional supplies that can create even better looking candles include silicone molds, heat guns, pouring pots, and more.

Selecting Your Wax

The first step in making layered candles is selecting the type of wax you want to use. Here are some common options:

  • Paraffin – An inexpensive option that makes candles with excellent fragrance throw. Can be layered well with other waxes.
  • Soy – Made from soybeans, this natural wax has a lower melt point and blends well with other waxes.
  • Beeswax – A natural wax that adds brightness and scent throw. It can be brittle so is often blended with other waxes.
  • Palm – Derived from palm plants, this hard wax helps retain fragrance but can also dull colors.
  • Gel – Makes crystal clear candles. Requires a different wicking method.

The most beginner friendly option is to use paraffin wax for your layers. You can experiment with layering different types of wax once you get more experience.

Choosing Your Scents

Next, pick 2-4 scents you would like to layer in your candle. Some popular pairings include:

  • Floral and fruit scents like jasmine, rose, lemon, and melon
  • Bakery scents like sugar cookie, vanilla, and honey
  • Spice combinations like cinnamon orange or mint eucalyptus
  • Masculine scents like tobacco, cedarwood, and coffee

Stick to 2-3 scent layers for your first candle. Too many layers can get muddy. Test out scent combinations ahead of time to ensure they blend well when burned.

Prepping Your Containers and Wicks

Before pouring, prep your candle containers and wicks:

  1. Choose containers free of moisture, dust or residue. Wash thoroughly.
  2. Place wicks centered in the bottom of each container using glue dots or a bit of wax to adhere them.
  3. Trim wick lengths to 1/4″ for containers less than 3 inches wide and 1/2″ for wider containers.

Proper wick adherence and trimming is key to achieving a great burn and fragrance throw.

Setting Up Your Double Boiler

A double boiler provides gentle, indirect heat needed to melt candle wax:

  • Fill the bottom pot with a few inches of water.
  • Rest the top pot (or tin can) in the water. This is where you will melt the wax.
  • Heat the water slowly until it simmers. Keep wax heat around 180 to 200°F.

A thermometer is important for monitoring wax temperatures. Overheating can burn the wax.

Melting and Preparing Your Wax

Once your double boiler is setup, you can start melting and preparing the wax:

  1. Chop wax into small chunks for faster melting.
  2. Add wax to the top double boiler pot. Melt wax completely until there are no pieces remaining.
  3. Add candle dye and stir to incorporate. About 1/2 tsp per pound of wax.
  4. Once wax is fully melted, add your first fragrance and stir. Use 1 oz oil per 1 lb wax.
  5. Test scent throw by pouring a bit of wax onto paper to solidify. Sniff the cooled wax.

Take the wax off heat periodically so it doesn’t get too hot. Reheat as needed for pouring.

Pouring Your First Layer

Once your scented wax is prepped, you can start layering:

  1. Carefully pour your first layer of wax just over 1/2 full in each container.
  2. Let cool undisturbed for 4-6 hours until wax is completely solidified and cool.
  3. Use this time to prepare your second colored, scented wax following the same process.
  4. Trim wick ends so 1/4″ is exposed above the first wax layer.

It’s crucial to let each layer fully solidify before pouring the next for best results.

Adding Your Second Layer

Once your first layer has fully set up, you can add the second colored, scented layer:

  1. Remelt your second wax preparation in your double boiler.
  2. Carefully pour the wax over the first layer. Fill almost to the top.
  3. Let cool undisturbed again for at least 4-6 hours.
  4. Repeat wax preparation and pouring steps for any additional layers you desire.

Take your time with the pouring process to prevent layers from blending together.

Finishing Touches

Once your final layer has fully cooled and set up, finishing touches include:

  • Re-trimming the wick to 1/4″ above the final wax surface.
  • Adding labels, decorative touches, or dressing the outside with embellishments.
  • Allowing the candle to cure for 1-2 weeks before burning to maximize scent throw.

Your homemade layered candle is now ready to gift or use!

Tips for Making Great Layered Candles

Follow these tips to help make the layered candle making process go smoothly:

  • Always use wax thermometers and double boilers to prevent overheating.
  • Stir dyes and scents thoroughly into each wax layer.
  • Cool wax completely between layers to prevent blending.
  • Pour layers slowly and evenly for defined stripes.
  • Use chopsticks to straighten wicks after each pour.
  • Trim wicks to uniform height above each new wax layer.
  • Limit layers to 2-3 for best scent throw.

Experimenting with layered pours and color/scent combinations is part of the fun!

Troubleshooting Issues

Here are some common issues and how to avoid them:

Problem Solution
Cloudy appearance Stir wax slowly and heat at proper temperatures
Dull or uneven colors Use enough dye and stir thoroughly
Weak scent throw Use more fragrance oil and let candles cure before use
Wet spots on surface Insufficient wicking – use larger wicks
Layers blending together Let each layer cool completely before adding the next


The art of making layered scented candles allows for immense creativity and customization potential. With the right supplies, preparation, and care taken with each step, you can make beautiful, artistic candles in your own home. Experiment, have fun with different scent and color combos, and don’t get discouraged by mistakes along the way. Mastering the layered candle process takes practice, but it will be rewarding when you light your completed candle and enjoy the gorgeous layers of color and aroma. With these tips and techniques, you’ll be ready to start layering your own fabulously fragrant candles.