This is a mostly complete list of equipment you may need while making candles, if you're just starting up you likely want just what is in the 'essentials' section, but may be interested in some of the advanced set up in the future.
Essentials (low cost)
You will be using this as a double-boiler, or bain marie type system. Your preferred jug will sit in the water to be gently and evenly heated.
Any saucepan will do, but it is advised to buy a cheap one just for candle making as often it will get dirty.
You have two main options here, and its entirely based on preference.
First is the traditional metal pitcher, they hold heat well and are simple to use. Sometimes they are difficult to clean as they narrow at the top.
Second is a glass (Pyrex) jug, they also hold heat well but are often larger and flatter, meaning they may not fit into all saucepans. They are generally easier to clean as they are ‘open top’.
When starting out your typical kitchen scales are enough.
Once you begin looking into it professionally you may want to look into more accurate scales, and low weight scales. Low weight scales are great for accurately measuring smaller amounts, such as fragrance oil and solid dyes.
Again, there are several options.
We personally prefer disposable wooden spatulas – like giant lollipop sticks. These allow us to use one per fragrance and dispose of them once we discontinue that scent.
Other popular options are metal spatulas, or pallet knives, or silicone based mixing tools.
You have to main options here.
Probe or ‘candy’ thermometers, usually with a small metal probe attached to a solid plastic body. These are relatively accurate and cheap to acquire. You can get more accurate long probes but ensure they are rated for at least 30-90C. Instant-read is also a nice bonus but not essential. Do not reuse a probe thermometer for food.
Infrared (IR) thermometers are great if you’re willing to spend a little more money for ease of use as they require no cleaning or contact.
Wick holders ensure your candle wicks remain straight, providing a nice clean burn. There are many methods, from dedicated metal holders to more improvised methods, such as chopsticks, lollipop sticks and clothes pegs.
There are several waxes available for beginners.
We recommend a parasoy blend initally for ease of use and the ability to make a great candle on your first try, and to have great properties in future candle making.
Soy is likely next, it has a couple issues for beginners such as shrinkage (uneven tops, sinkholes, poor glass adhesion) and poor scent throw.
Lastly is paraffin, this has far worse shrinkage issues but has better scent throw.
The thing that makes our candles smell great. There are a wide range out there, just pick what you like the sound of for now!
For beginners we would only recommend cotton wicks. Of these we would recommend CD, or ‘Stabilo’. There are others available and testing can be done on them to find your favorite.
Something to hold your wicks to the container. The main favourites are hot glue, glue dots or wick stickers (round double sided tape).
Containers are what you make your candles/melts in. This can be either jars, tins, moulds or clamshells.
Candle making gets messy. Clean it up quick by having paper towels (often called ‘blue roll’) on hand at all times, wipe up spillages fast to make it easier.
Advanced (higher cost)
Bulk wax melter
Once you’re producing more you may want to look into a bulk melter to replace your saucepan, this will allow you to go from ~500g liquid wax to 5-10kg.
Improvised options include slow cookers and soup kettles, and for those from the USA, presto pots. Check Lumont wax melter here
If you really want to go all out, look into an iMelt, PRIMO, PG or CS melter.
If you have no spigot on your melter you’ll now need a ladle to scoop it out.
Heat guns are great but not essential. They can help fix certain issues such as uneven tops and sinkholes.
Want something more from your wax? Look into a more advanced blend, such as a coconut or rapeseed blend, or start playing with additives. See the in-depth wax guide for more on this.
Want different wicks? Now may be the time to look into wood and ribbon wicks.
Sometimes you just have spills you can’t wipe up. Water won’t help, so what do you do?
Wax is soluble in alcohol, so that’s the best place to go. However, it gets expensive quick. Look for ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol).