Making your own candles is an amazing and rewarding experience. There are so many ways to go about it, and everyone has different advice. It’s worth taking the time to find your own preferred method for each stage in the candle making process. And one of the first steps in that process is melting your wax. There are a few ways to do this and each candle maker will have their preference, but for this post, we’ll be talking about how to use a microwave to melt wax.
Most candle makers use the double-boiler method to melt their wax. This involves sitting a container of wax in simmering water until it melts. For accuracy, most use a wax thermometer while doing this – candle making is as much a science as it is an art. If you want to make candles professionally, or often, this is still the method we would recommend. However, if you’re new or just trying out candle making, you might not want to invest in all this new equipment straight away. A microwave is the perfect cheap and easy alternative for beginners.
Is it safe to microwave wax?
The main thing to remember when melting candle wax in a microwave is that microwaves create a much more intense heat that gently simmering water does. This means it requires a lot of care and supervision to make sure the wax doesn’t burn or overheat. You really can’t leave your wax alone while doing this – you should be looking through the microwave window the whole time, and removing the wax every 30 seconds to check on it and give it a stir.
How to microwave candle wax
Before you even begin, there are a few things you need to check on. Is your microwave clean? You don’t want any food residue getting into your wax, or making it smell like those baked beans you heated up earlier. Have you got a suitable container? A jug is the easiest to use, but make sure yours is microwave safe, clean and dry.
Start by measuring out your wax into a separate container. You can read our guide on calculating how much wax to use if you’re unsure. You want it in a separate container so you can add it to the microwave gradually. Start by putting 100g-200g into your jug to melt. We recommend turning the power of your microwave down to medium – it’s best to melt wax slowly. Put your initial amount of wax into the microwave for 1 minute, keeping an eye on it throughout and checking on it at 30 seconds. Take it out and give it a stir. Once it starts to melt, you can add a bit more wax. Keep repeating this process, adding more wax as you go.
When around half your wax has melted, you might notice you’ve ended up with a big clump of solid wax in the middle. Don’t just keep heating it, hoping it will melt. Be patient and stir the wax instead. Encourage the lump to break up so the heat from the liquid wax can melt it down. If you have a thermometer available, you should now check the temperature of your wax. Don’t let your wax get over 80 degrees Celsius. If you can’t get it all to melt and the temperature drops, put it back in the microwave for 15-30 seconds then continue stirring.
What to do next
When all your wax is melted, you can add fragrance and colour. Make sure you check the instructions on your wax for the correct temperatures to add fragrances and when to pour. If you don’t have a thermometer that’s okay, but you will get better results by following the temperature instructions. With most waxes, it helps to pour into a preheated container – this encourages the wax to adhere to the sides. For more tips on candle making, read the rest of our blog.
As always with microwaves, make sure you don’t put anything metal inside. Be extra careful if you’re stirring the wax with a metal spoon – don’t accidentally leave it in. Using a microwave to melt wax does carry additional risks. This information is only a guide. Don’t let your wax overheat (above 80 degrees Celsius) and never leave it unattended. Be aware that the wax and container will be hot when removing from the microwave. This DIY is not safe for children.