Scented Candle Ideas: From the Classic to the Unique

Here’s the truth: making candles is just as fun and therapeutic as burning candles. And while candlemaking follows basic steps that can become routine, there are also several ways to keep things varied and challenging. No matter how small or ambitious the project is, and whether you’re making the candle for yourself or a friend, it’s always exciting to try new scented candle ideas out. So, prepare your candle making tools, fragrance oils, and favorite wax. It’s time to summon your creativity and sharpen your candle making techniques with the following creative scented candle ideas.

1. Sugary-sweet Vanilla Candle

There is a reason why vanilla-scented candles are a classic. For one, vanilla is a beloved material that instantly reminds us of all things sweet, comforting, and warm. Another reason is its easy availability as a food ingredient and fragrance oil. 

If you are starting as a candlemaker, a classic vanilla-scented candle is one of the easiest yet worthwhile projects that you may take on. Practice by making a simple vanilla-scented hand-poured container candle first. Then, once you have gotten the desired fragrance and formula, begin to customize.

For example, you can add decorator’s sugar atop your vanilla-scented candle to automatically elevate its look and fragrance. The resulting sugary-sweet scent can be a great accent to your or any of your dessert-loving friends’ homes.

Fragrance tip: Accentuate your candle’s vanilla scent with other fragrance oils like sandalwood or clove.

Estimated project cost: This project requires soy wax, a candle wick, a few drops of vanilla fragrance oil, a sprinkle of decorator’s sugar, and one mason jar. Depending on what you already have on hand and the other fragrances you may want to add, this project may cost at least $20.

2. Cinnamon Pumpkin Candle

Something about orange pumpkins and golden crackling leaves must bring out people’s creativity during autumn. Sure, it’s fun to carve pumpkins for tradition’s sake, but sometimes it’s thrilling to try something new.

Enter cinnamon pumpkin candles, where you use real pumpkins as candle containers. This creative scented candle idea can serve as seasonal decorations to your home during autumn. Plus, cinnamon’s rich and spicy scent is perfect for enhancing the cozy autumn mood.

Fragrance tip: Add a few drops of cardamom or frankincense fragrance oils to make your cinnamon-scented candle smell spicier. You can also make the scent stronger by adding nutmeg.

Estimated project cost: You need pumpkins, cinnamon sticks, and soy wax to do this project. You can also add a few drops of cinnamon fragrance oil and other additives to customize it to your liking. All these additional materials may cost at least $20.

3. Coffee Candle in a Mug

If you’re like me, who loves coffee, candles, and coffee-scented candles, then this Starbucks-inspired candle project is for you.

The idea is pretty simple, but the variations are endless. Begin by choosing which drink to make. If it’s an espresso or brewed coffee, choose a fitting mug as a container. If it’s a frappuccino, clear glass will do.

From there, build your additives and personalize according to the drink in mind. For example, you can easily make black coffee, frappe, and matcha drinks by using different dyes and fragrances.

You can even branch out by using the whipped wax as beer foam instead of whipped cream. Substitute the coffee mug with a beer mug, and now you have a beer candle.

Fragrance tip: Make your coffee candle resemble a real drink by using fragrances that go well with coffee, like vanilla and chocolate. If it’s Christmas, you can also add a peppermint scent.

Estimated project cost: Aside from your go-to candle making materials, you will need a mug, brown dye, and coffee-themed fragrances for this project. It may cost at least $35.

4. Tropical rope-wrapped scented candle

Enjoy summer all year long with a summer-scented candle visually enhanced by a beautiful rope-wrapped candle holder. All you need to do is wrap and glue jute rope around a clear candle container, then embellish it with random trinkets.

As for the candle itself, citrus and tropical scents such as orange, lemon, or grapefruit remind people of their time at the beach. However, you can also maximize the same design by customizing the candleholder accents and candle scents. 

In other words, the same rope-wrapped candle can exude an entirely different mood when paired with another charm and fragrance. For example, you can use a pine cone to decorate your bayberry or peppermint candles for Christmas. For a spring candle with floral and woody scents, try embellishing with dried flowers. 

If you want to relieve summer camp, pair your vanilla and marshmallow scented candles with decorations like arrows, tents, or campsite signs. Let your creativity run wild.

Fragrance tip: Citrusy scents like orange and grapefruit also blend well with vanilla.

Estimated project cost: In addition to your standard materials like the wax and the wick, you will only need to spend on a container, a roll of jute rope, citrusy fragrance oils, and little knick-knacks for embellishment. This project may cost up to $35.

5. Floral Floating Candles

Candles make elegant and romantic centerpieces for dinners and banquets. Floating candles or floaters, in particular, take the drama up a notch.

The good news is whether you are a candle maker who wants to try your hand at making floaters from scratch or a dinner host who needs a lovely centerpiece pronto, you can start with this effortless floating candle DIY. 

All you need are tea light candles, some petals, and a fancy bowl. Remove the candles from their containers, drip wax over the candles’ bottom parts, assemble your bowl, and you’re all set.

If you prefer to make the tea light candles yourself, ensure their width is more extensive than their height. Getting the correct measurements will prevent the candles from floating sideways.

Fragrance tip: Roses are popular ornaments for intimate dinners but if you don’t want to overwhelm your guests with its scent, try blending your rose fragrance oil with sandalwood or chamomile.

Estimated project cost: If you’re going to make the tea light candles from scratch, you will need tea light cups in addition to your wax, wicks, and fragrance oils. This project may cost up to $20. You can also assemble this project using store-bought tea light candles, which will bring down the cost to at least $15.

6. Succulent Candles

I recently wrote a guide on making homemade succulent candles. Aside from being a perfect gift for the indoor plant lover in your life, succulent candles also make good table accents — just like natural succulent plants. What’s more, putting it beside indoor plants can boost your interior.

Succulent candles come in different shapes, colors, and sizes because you can use different molds, containers, dyes, and fragrances to make one.

I always go for natural succulent plant colors like green, red, yellow, or purple to make the candles look more organic. However, you can also play with funkier color combinations. As for the containers, clear mason jars and ceramic pots are good options that can boost the look of the candle. 

Fragrance tip: Even if real succulents do not have distinctive smells, floral scents such as rose, jasmine, and lavender, or earthy aromas like sandalwood or cedar, can make your succulent candle smell like an actual plant.

Estimated project cost: On top of your chosen wax, wick, and container, succulent-shaped silicone molds and a variety of candle dyes and fragrance oils are essential for this project. It may cost at least $40.

7. Dried Flower Candles

Like succulent plants, dried flowers seem to be in vogue as home decorations these days. I have a friend who recently spent quite a fortune on bulk orders of dried flower candles for Christmas. Thankfully, as a candle maker, you don’t have to pay too much to give these lovely candles as a present.

Dried flower candles are surprisingly simple to make. All you need to do is put your decor in the candle container before pouring the wax. And by using different flower petals and fragrance oil combinations, you can create vibrant and sophisticated items that can accentuate your home, no matter the color of your walls and furniture.

While it isn’t imperative, using floral scents will complement the aesthetic of your dried flower candles. 

You don’t necessarily have to choose the same fragrance oil to match whatever dried flower you have on hand. However, you can aim for consistency by pairing a particular floral scent with the color of petals that you used. For example, if you have dried purple petals, you can make a lavender-scented candle.

Fragrance tip: Lavender smells fresh and floral on its own, but you can also blend it with orange or lemon fragrances to produce a more herbaceous scent. For a more exotic alternative, go for a combination of lavender, jasmine, and sandalwood.

Estimated project cost: You will need dried petals, a clear container, and floral fragrance oils to make dried flower candles. These materials, in addition to your essential candle making tools, may cost up to $17.

8. Christmas Ice Candles

Christmas ice candles do not only resemble snowflakes. They’re also actually made of ice! 

You can create a homemade ice candle by using a pillar candle mold. As for the special ingredient, you can use ice cubes, crushed ice, or a combination of both. Put the ice in the mold, then pour your wax formula over it. Wait for the wax to set before removing the water.

Of course, the bigger the piece of ice is, the larger the holey patterns in your candle will be. So use different sizes to create variation and make the designs more attractive.

I usually associate ice candles with the holidays, so I will suggest scents that remind me of winter: peppermint, pine, cinnamon, chocolate, and the like. 

Fragrance tip: Mix pine fragrance oil with lime, peppermint, or grapefruit together to achieve a calming scent that will surely remind you of festive winter nights.

Estimated project cost: Ice cubes and recycled milk cartons come at no cost, but you can also get a pillar candle mold and holiday fragrance oils for this project, which may cost you at least $30.

9. Rosemary Pressed Herb Candles

There is no doubt that pressed flower candles are lovely, but there are other beautiful and more accessible plants that you can also use to decorate your homemade scented candle. 

Consider rosemary pressed herb candles, an alternative that makes use of, well, rosemary. As a culinary herb, rosemary can already be readily available in your garden or local grocery store. It is accessible, pretty, and smells good by default. The perfect accent to your homemade candle!

Fragrance tip: Rosemary has an aromatic scent of its own that you can enhance by adding a few drops of rosemary fragrance. Blend it with lemon, peppermint, or a basil fragrance oil to further boost its herbal aroma.

Estimated project cost: If you already have basic candle making materials and pressed rosemary sprigs at home, you will only have to spend on a bottle of rosemary fragrance oil, which is at least $5.

10. Cereal Candles

Ardent Candle shared how they make their delicious-looking and childhood nostalgia-inducing cereal candles on TikTok. 

The idea centers on elevating plain old white candles by having them function as a milk base, topped with colorful molded wax cereals. The result already looks realistic, but adding the clear cereal bowl and silver spoon truly makes this cereal candle a hit. 

Since the bowl is bigger, you may need to use more than one wick to maintain an even melt pool. Play with colors and molds to customize your candle according to your favorite bowl of cereal. Just remember to label it appropriately to prevent any hungry soul from taking a bite!

Fragrance tip: There are cereal-inspired fragrance oils available in the market. However, if you’re not doing a fruit-flavored cereal, you can also go for chocolate, vanilla, and sugar scents.

Estimated project cost: Cereal molds, colorful dyes, fragrance oils, a cereal bowl, and a spare spoon will cost you at least $40 on top of the cost of your basic candle making materials.

11. Orange Peel Candles

Incorporating natural accents into candles adds to their charm and appeal. And what better place to look for inspiration than inside the home. 

Orange peel candles, for example, use orange rinds as containers. Not only is the idea novel, but it can also instantly brighten up your kitchen or dining table.

Do take note that orange rinds may not last long, so pour a reasonable amount of wax when doing this project. Only burn an orange peel candle when and where you can keep an eye on it. If you can, find a thick rind that has a wide diameter and considerable depth. These will make your candles burn longer and safer.

Fragrance tip: Add spice to the citrusy scent of orange by mixing a few drops of nutmeg fragrance oil in your candle formula. The resulting refreshing scent may neutralize the smell of food in the kitchen or dining room.

Estimated project cost: Other than your candle making materials and tools, this homemade candle will require used orange peels and a few drops of orange fragrance oil, which will cost you at least $10.

12. Wine and Champagne Candles

A bottle of wine or champagne paired with a scented candle make a great wedding souvenir. Or you can make homemade wine and champagne candles for a more creative and memorable token of appreciation. This candle DIY can also be a personal present for anyone who loves both candles and sparkling wine.

In addition to the wine glass or champagne flute, what truly makes this candle work is its use of gel candle wax, which ensures that your candle will be transparent. 

Gel candle wax burns longer than paraffin wax but may not be compatible with some fragrance oils. Make sure to check the specifications provided by your fragrance oil supplier before mixing it into your gel candle formula.

You can also tie a ribbon or a tag around the glass’ stem not just to personalize the present but to make it look more sophisticated.

Fragrance tip: You can go for a grapefruit scent to keep with the wine and champagne theme. Grapefruit fragrance oils smell good with lemon, rosemary, or bergamot. There are also champagne-scented fragrance oils available in the market.

Estimated project cost: This project will not look as good if you don’t use a wine glass or a champagne flute as your container. Gel candle wax and candle dye are also essential to achieve their liquid-like transparent look. These additional materials may cost you at least $30.

13. Rainbow Candles

Introduce the wonders of candle making to your kids by letting them decorate a rainbow candle with you. 

Use crayons and a glue gun to add color to an otherwise plain white candle. The goal is to let the colors of the rainbow drip onto the candle using a glue gun. I especially like how the melted crayon makes the candle look like it has already been used.

You can make a rainbow candle with a store-bought white candle. But if you want your child to learn and appreciate the whole process, you can also make a candle from scratch. Then, when it’s time for the crayons, let them express their creativity using different color combinations and designs. 

Fragrance tip: Vanilla is one of the most accessible and flexible scents a beginner candlemaker can use. Blend it with a few drops of rose fragrance oil to add a little spice.

Estimated project cost: If you’re going with a store-bought candle, this project may cost only an additional $12 for the crayons and vanilla fragrance oil.

14. Cookie-cutter Candles

Burning candles all the way down may cause accidents, so it is essential to stop using a candle once it only has one to two inches of wax left. Still, it is frustrating to let the candle’s ends go to waste. 

The good news is you can repurpose leftover candle wax to make more candles. For example, this cookie-cutter candle project capitalizes on recycling candle ends by melting and pouring them into cookie cutters.

The process resembles the procedure used for creating traditional tea light candles, but the resulting shapes are more varied and exciting.

Since cookie-cutters do not have a base, putting cookie-cutter candles in a votive glass is advisable before burning them. Doing this prevents accidents and keeps the wax from melting directly on your desk. You can also use cookie-cutter candles as candle toppers for more ambitious projects.

Fragrance tip: Chocolate, cookie, and butter scents go well with general cookie-themed candles. However, more specific shapes like Christmas trees or hearts may require alternative fragrances that better fit their purpose.

Estimated project cost: This project uses recycled candle ends, so you’re only going to need cookie-cutters and fragrance oils that may cost at least $20.

15. Marbled Candles

Easily upgrade plain old white candles by adding just a few more materials and techniques to your candle making process. Marbled candles, for example, are not difficult to make despite their elegant and expensive appearance.

One way to create marbled candles is by using a mixture of acrylic and marbling medium. Slowly spread the mix using a popsicle or craft stick, then let it drip naturally down the candle. Note that this process may create a mess, so choose a spacious area and cover it with newspaper if necessary.

Of course, you can opt to create marbled candles from scratch rather than painting on ready-made candles. All you need to do is to divide your melted wax into two. Then, leave one-half of the mixture to melt some more. Next, add dye and whip the remaining melted wax with a fork. 

Pour both wax variations into one container simultaneously, then observe how a slight difference in preparation can lead to a completely different but beautiful outcome.

Fragrance tip: The sweet and tangy aroma of bergamot complements the somewhat classy look of marbled candles. Add in a few drops of chamomile to the mix to heighten the freshness of the fragrance.

Estimated project cost: If you’re going to use acrylic and a marbling medium to paint on a store-bought candle, this project will cost at least $25. If you’re going to make the candle from scratch, the dye, wax, wick, fragrance oil, and container may cost the same.

16. Hidden Message Candles

Preparing a surprise for someone special to you is always fun and nerve-wracking. You don’t know how the other person will respond, yet you are excited to see their reaction anyway. 

Giving a surprise message candle is a unique way to send an unexpected note to a family member, a significant other, or a friend. It is subtle, personalized, and specially made for them. A heartwarming gift and message to remember!

Make a surprise message candle as you would make regular hand-poured container candles. However, do not pour all the way to leave enough space for the message. Instead, let the wax from your first pour set before you place the letter beads that spell out your special note. Then, pour another layer of wax to hide the message.

Enhance your candle’s aesthetic and the message itself by adding a simple wax topper. You can go for a tiny heart, a succulent, a flower, or whatever appropriate mold you have on hand.

Surprise message candles are perfect for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and more.

Fragrance tip: As one of the perennial symbols of love, roses would complement the purpose of this candle. Mix it with jasmine or sandalwood to boost its floral scent.

Estimated project cost: A simple hidden message candle only needs letter beads to spell out your secret message. However, if you’re going to add a wax heart topper and fragrance oil, this project will cost at least $30.

17. Pokeball Candles

Impress the video game fan in your life with a classic and nostalgic Pokeball candle. One, the candle will make them happy. Two, it will make for a quirky decoration in a bedroom, an office desk, or even a game room. 

A lovely round glass container is necessary for this scented candle idea. Preferably, the diameter of the container doesn’t change significantly from top to bottom to maintain an even melt pool when it’s time to burn the candle.

Once you’ve acquired a container, grab a marker to draw the outlines of the Pokeball on it. Then, it’s simply a matter of dyeing two sets of wax into red and white then pouring the colors per layer to achieve the much-loved Pokeball design.

Fragrance tip: Fictional Pokeballs do not have a particular smell. You can either go with the favorite scent of your gift’s recipient or consider the type of their favorite Pokemon. 

For example, if they love the grass-type Pokemon Bulbasaur, go with an herbal scent like rosemary. On the other hand, if they love the fire-type Pokemon Charmander, go with an earthy and spicy scent like ginger. These little details will surely add to your recipient’s enjoyment of the candle.

Estimated project cost: If you already have markers, candle making materials, and fragrance oil, you only need to spend on glass containers that cost less than $5.

18. Citronella Candles

Many believe that citronella has a natural insect-repellent scent. Thus it is not surprising that citronella candles are often used in gardens, patios, and backyards. After all, burning a fragrant and functional candle seems like a practical choice, especially during hot summer nights when it’s fun to stay outdoors.

Craft your very own homemade citronella candle using recycled materials like old candles, used tin cans, or empty flower pots. Doing so will not only save you money but also give you the chance to make a rugged yet charming candle that will look great beside your flower beds and potted plants.

Remember: while citronella itself can repel mosquitoes, citronella candles may not be as effective. As such, it is not advisable to rely on citronella candles to drive away insects entirely. Instead, have your mosquito spray and lotion on hand for added protection.

Fragrance tip: Citronella works well with fragrance oils like jasmine, mandarin orange, and peppermint. Combine a few drops of any of these scents to give more character to your citronella candle.

Estimated project cost: If you’re going to use recycled materials as containers, this project will only cost around $15.

19. Fruity Floral Candles

Pressed flower candles are undeniably beautiful, but you can make them even more exciting and memorable using materials already available at home.

Use dried slices of apples, limes, and oranges to add to the homey charisma of pressed flowers. First, put your homemade candle inside a larger container and insert the pressed flowers and dried fruit slices around the free space. Then, pour in dyed wax to add more depth and dimension.

Fragrance tip: Geranium is a floral scent that goes well with orange and lemon fragrances, a perfect match for the look of this candle.

Estimated project cost: On top of the base candle, this project uses additional wax to seal the dried fruits and flowers at the edge of the container. This project can cost up to $25.

20. Easter Egg Candles

Another special occasion where candles can shine is Easter, where colorful eggs usually take center stage. Easter candles are pretty unconventional, but the extra effort pays off when you get an eye-catching and functional Easter decoration. 

On top of your usual candle making tools, you will need real eggshells or plastic Easter eggs to execute the idea. Then, it’s about funneling your candle wax formula carefully into the eggshell so that it can take on the shape of an egg. 

Once the wax has set, you can either peel off the shell or leave it on. You can even paint on the eggshells as per tradition.

Fragrance tip: Clary sage is a sweet, soothing scent that goes well with lavender or orange fragrances. Use it on its own or mix it with lavender or orange to create a warm, relaxing Easter atmosphere.

Estimated project cost: Plastic easter eggs could cost at least $9. If added to the other candle making essentials that you will use, this project may cost at least $20.

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