Layered Container Candles

Layered Container Candles
Container or jar candles are easy and are often a preferred method of making and burning candles - probably due to their ease and relative safeness. The trick is to make sure you use a wax that adheres well to the sides of your jar so you don’t see what looks like wet spots. Though these spots are harmless, the candles just look better when these cosmetic problems are avoided.

Using soy wax or a wax specifically blended to use in containers will perform well. Many blends of container wax are a single pour wax, which means you will not have to wait around to top off your candle a second time. However, since this project is a layered candle, you’ll have to wait around a little to pour the second color. These instructions will explain the best ways I’ve found to make any type of container candle. So if you’d rather just do one color, or multiple colors, that is entirely up to you.

I’m going for the look and smell of a delicious caramel apple. I am using an 8 oz. round tumbler for my container. I think the shape and size represent a nice apple. You can use whatever type or size candle container you like, just adjust amounts and wick accordingly. I will do a thin top layer as the “caramel” and a deep layer on the bottom (the first pour) as the “apple”. I’m just going to mix the fragrances together and divide it up according to the amounts of wax I use for each layer.

Container wax generally makes it easier to achieve more brilliant colors than with most soy wax. However, soy is another great wax choice for container candles.

Please read through all of the instructions before beginning and have all of your equipment and supplies ready.

Equipment & Supplies:

• 8 oz. Round Tumbler (or whatever type you like – candle safe)
• 10 oz. Container Wax – better to have a little left than not enough
• Candle Dye (pinch of brown and some red – document how much you use as you go)
• ½ oz. Fragrance Oil(s) Caramel and Apple Jack Peel (or Caramel Apple)
• 1 - LX16 Pre-tabbed Wick (appropriate for 3” diameter container)
• Wick holder
• Chopsticks (for stirring and to help you pour straight if necessary)
• 1 - Large pot for your double boiler base (add about 2” of water)
• 1 - Pouring pitcher
• 1 - Smaller can for small amount of wax for thin top layer
• Scissors
• Glossy white paper or paper plate (for testing drops of wax for color)


Make sure your container is clean and place it on a heating tray on a low setting while you are melting your wax. If you don’t use a heating tray, heat your container with a heat gun just before pouring your wax.

Add about two inches of water to your large pot to create a double boiler. Put all of your wax in your large pouring pitcher and place it in your double boiler. Turn your double boiler on high. If you can, place your smaller can in the water as well. You just want to get the can warmed up so when you pour hot wax into it, you don’t cool it down too much so you can add your dye. If they don’t fit, you can just wait because the small can won’t take long to melt later.

Once your pitcher of wax is completely melted and about 160 degrees F., divide this up based on how big you want your layers to be. I want a thin layer of a caramel color on top of a thicker layer of apple red color. So I’ll only need about 2 oz. of wax for my caramel color and the rest for the apple color. Add your dye(s) and test for desired color by dripping a few drops on your white glossy paper. Add most of your fragrance to the large batch of wax, saving some for your top layer. Don’t forget to do this! The top layer is the layer that everyone can smell when they pick up the candle and sniff.

Unplug the heating tray if you used this method otherwise heat your container with a heat gun. Pour your first layer of wax into the warmed container. The candle will cool slowly which is good for full adhesion to your container. Let it cool just until there is a slight cloudiness on the bottom of the container and then place the tabbed wick carefully in the center and prop it with a wick holder. If you don’t want to wait around for the cloud on the bottom, it’s okay to put the wick in earlier. Just make sure you don’t bend your wick one it gets hot and keep it centered. I place the wick this way because with glue dots or wick stickums, the heat from the container warming process tends to melt the glue and it doesn’t hold. It will move and you end up with a wick that is not centered.

Once your wick is centered and held with your wick holder, wait until a good layer (about ¼ inch) forms and pour your second layer.

Once completely cooled, trim your wick to about ¼ inch. Place a warning label appropriate for a container candle on the bottom especially if you are giving the candle away or selling it. Remember, you will want to test your candle to make sure your wick, wax, dye and fragrance all play well together. Document everything you’ve done and if it burns perfectly, you have a formula worth keeping and you can make as many of these candles as you want after that.

Note: A well-made container candle should create a wax pool that reaches the edge of the container and therefore consumes all or most of the wax in the container. If the wick creates a tunnel through the wax and doesn’t burn the edges, you have used a wick that is too small. If you get black smoke and soot around the edge of the container, you may have used a wick that is too big, or it needs a trim.

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