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5 min read / 9 February 2024 / yasmin sharp

How to Make Floating Candles

Learn the art of creating elegant floating candles to enhance the ambience of your home and special occasions with our step-by-step guide.

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Candles that float on water are a wonderful addition for any room and add the perfect finishing touch for special occasions.

They are a simple yet elegant alternative to traditional candles, creating an eye-pleasing display that helps to create a cosy, inviting atmosphere.

You can use floating candles in both indoor and outdoor spaces, so whether you are entertaining, wining and dining or just want to unwind in serene surroundings, read on to find out how to make floating candles for your home.

What are floating candles?

A floating candle is a candle that is made specifically to float on water.

The design is a little different from a typical candle, in that it is placed inside another container that allows it to float, although it is still made of wax with a plastic or metal container.

How do candles that float on water work?

Candles that float on water are designed with a candle that is placed inside a container filled with water, which gradually melts to slowly release the candle flame.

A rigid shell serves as the container for the pool of wax, ensuring there is a low melting point for the wick, allowing the wick to slowly burn down.

What materials do you use for floating candles?

The material used for the floating candle is wax, with some people using paraffin; although soy can be a better natural option, plus it also produces a slow burn.

The shell container that is used to house the candle in the water is either made from metal, plastic, glass or ceramics.

This is because these materials are thick and stable enough to withstand high temperatures from the candle, whilst also helping to protect the flame against small spills and drafts.

Square blue floating candle in very blue water

How to make floating candles

Before you can make candles that float on water, you’ll need to round up the right equipment and ingredients.

Make sure you have the following to hand before you begin:

  • 275 grams of soy wax flakes
  • 6 x 3.5-inch cotton wicks
  • 6 x glue dots
  • 6 x floating candle containers

In terms of equipment, you should also have:

  • Kitchen scales
  • Melting pitcher (or double boiler)
  • Digital thermometer

Steps on how to make floating candles

  1. Press the candle wick metal tab onto a glue dot whilst it is still on the roll. Carefully pull the wick and glue dot away and place into the centre of one of your containers.
  2. Weigh 275 grams of soy wax flakes and pour them into the double boiler or whatever method you are using to melt the wax.
  3. Stir slowly and regularly, ensuring that the boiler is removed from the heat as soon as the wax has fully melted. Use the thermometer to check the temperature of the wax is between 54°C and 60°C (you may have to wait for it to cool a little).
  4. When at the correct temperature, pour the wax into the containers with the wicks.
  5. It will take several hours for the wax to cool and harden, so place them in a place where they will not be disturbed.

How to make floating candle centrepieces

Now that you have the candles ready, it’s time to create the centrepiece that will hold the candle in the water.

To make it more fun and decorative, you can add things like:

  • Seashells
  • Fresh flowers
  • Fresh or dried herbs
  • Water beads
  • Crystals
  • Whole spices
  • Sliced or whole lemons

Once you’ve settled on the items you want to use, pour some water into the container so it is about a third full.

Depending on the size of the container, place 1-3 candles on top of the water, leaving enough space for them to float and move around.

Check that the decorations are not able to reach the candle flame in the container, as this could create a fire hazard.

The last thing to do is to light the wick on each candle and enjoy the calming, peaceful ambience created by your new floating candle.

Flower shaped floating candles

Are floating candles safe to use indoors?

As long as safety measures are in place and the candles are regularly monitored, then it should be perfectly safe to use candles that float on water in your home.

You should also try to do the following:

  • Always make sure the container is kept away from flammable materials and that there are no open flames nearby.
  • Keep the indoor space well ventilated, although avoid positioning the candle close by to windows or doors that may cause a draft and movement of the flame and wax.
  • Ensure that the wick is regularly trimmed, and the container pool is kept free of dirt and debris.
  • The container should be always kept away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
  • To avoid wax overflow and spillages, ensure that the pool level is maintained to about a third of the container.

You can also use floating candles in outdoor spaces, although you may want to avoid using them on particularly windy and blustery days.

How long do floating candles work?

Most floating candles have long lives, as the wax used to make them is slow burning and the wick will take some time to reduce.

For example, a 2-inch floating candle could last for up to 4-5 hours, whilst a 3-inch floating candle could extend to 8-10 hours.

As always, there are mitigating factors for this, as the burn time also depends on the quality of the wax, how well maintained the candles are and if the flame is exposed to any drafts.

Black and white illustration of a candle

Learning how to make floating candles will add another skill to your ever-expanding skill set, giving you more ways to enjoy candles in your home.

Follow the usual melt and pour candle making method, create a decorative water holder, and you’ll soon have a set of unique natural lights that can brighten up your home and garden.

Always take care when handling and using floating candles, and as long as they are well maintained, they should give you hours of calm bliss.

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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