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How to colour your candles with plant-based ingredients

We don’t know about you, but we love making homemade candles. You get to choose from so many different shapes, scents, and waxes! But did you know that you can also play with how you colour them? While we love our ready-to-use candle colorant chips for their practicality and intense hues, you can also use colourful vegetable oils, plants, or even spices for a unique and 100% natural result. 

Recently, we wanted to explore some plant-based candle colourants, so we carried out a few experiments with paprika, sea buckthorn oil, and other natural ingredients. These tests were such a resounding success that we decided to share our results with you here. Of course, we haven’t tested all the oils, plants, or spices in existence, so we encourage you to experiment too. As always, please feel free to share your discoveries with us!

Good to know!

It’s hard to tell what colour your hardened wax will be just by looking at it melted. Luckily, there’s an easy trick to solve this problem, and all you need is teaspoons and a freezer. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Put several teaspoons in the freezer.
  2. Dip a cold spoon in the hot coloured wax. The temperature shock between the hot wax and the cold spoon will quickly solidify the wax, showing you its true final colour!
  3. Check the colour and adjust your colourants as needed.

Vegetable oilsHomemade natural candles

Some strongly coloured vegetable oils can be used, in varying quantities, to colour your candles. Here are a few examples:

Usage rate: Use anything from a few drops to up to 9% of the total weight of the recipe, depending on your desired colour intensity. 

Note that adding vegetable oil softens the wax, so this technique is recommended for container candles only. It will be much more difficult to unmold pillar candles if you add vegetable oils!

Also, make sure the oil you choose isn’t prone to oxidation. If it is, you’ll have to add an antioxidant (vitamin E or rosemary oleoresin) at the appropriate usage rate at the same time as you add your scent. 

Steps to follow  

Follow our homemade candle recipe, replacing some or all of the caprylis oil with your naturally coloured vegetable oil.

Vegetable oil-based infusions (oil-based macerations)

Oil-based macerations allow you to both extract the plant’s properties and colour the oil, through natural oil-soluble plant pigments such as carotene (orange) and chlorophyll (green).

Powdered spices work very well in macerations as-is. For whole spices and plants, we recommend reducing them into powder for best results. 

As explained above, adding vegetable oil to your homemade candles will soften the wax. We recommend reserving macerations for container candles only, and not using them to colour pillar candles (any candles you unmold).

Here are some examples of plants and vegetable powders that colour oils and yield lovely candles.DIY candles

  • Vanilla bean specks: ivory (candle 1)
  • Paprika: orangey red (candle 2)
  • Curry: bright yellow (candle 3)
  • Turmeric : bright yellow (candle 4)
  • Nettle: green (candle 5)
  • Alkanet: pink (candle 6 (2%), candle 7 (5%) and candle 8 (10%))

Some plants that we tried didn’t colour the wax at all, such as rose petals and elderberries

We opted to use caprylis oil (fractionated coconut oil) as the base oil for our macerations because it’s odourless, colourless, and little prone to oxidation. It’s a great oil for making macerations when your primary goal is to extract pigments from the plant. 

Usage rate: Use anything from a few drops to up to 9% of the total weight of the recipe, depending on your desired colour intensity.


Steps to follow

  1. In a bowl, weigh 5 grams of powder or ground plants and add 45 grams of caprylis oil. 
  2. Heat on the double boiler for about 15 minutes. 
  3. Remove it from the heat and leave it to cool. The extraction will continue as the oil cools. The longer the powders infuse, the more intensely coloured the oil will be. We recommend waiting one to two hours.
  1. Filter the maceration with a fine mesh strainer and pour the coloured oil into the jar. You can press the powders with the spatula to wring out as much oil as possible.
  2. Follow the steps for our homemade candle recipe, replacing part or all of the regular caprylis oil with your maceration.

Wax infusions

Wax infusions are your best option if you want to make pillar candles, or any other candle that you unmold, whatever its shape. A wax infusion means you directly infuse the wax with plants or spices instead of using a coloured oil or maceration to add colour. As noted earlier, adding oils softens the wax, making it difficult to unmold properly, so that method is best used for container candles only. We recommend using white beeswax, which lends itself very well to infusions because it remains liquid for a rather long time. We don’t recommend using KeraSoy pillar candle wax, because it tends to solidify quickly. This means you’d have to heat the wax to a relatively high temperature to keep it liquid, but you’d then risk burning the wax, which causes it to deteriorate and lessens the quality of your final candle. natural candles recipe

  • Curry: bright yellow (candle 1 and 4)
  • Nettle: green (candle 2)
  • Paprika: orangey red (candle 3)
  • Saffron: orange (candle 5)


Steps to follow

  1. Prepare and prime the wick.
  2. Set your empty mold on your scale and tare it. Then, fill the mold with water. The weight of the water in grams indicates how much wax you should melt for your mold.
  3. Weigh and gently melt the white beeswax on the double boiler. 
  4. While the wax is melting, fill a tea bag or paper coffee filter with your chosen powder (spices or ground plants). Seal off the bag as well as possible, with a string or staples, so that the powder doesn’t leak out into the wax. Be careful to put no more than 2 to 3 grams of powder into each tea bag or filter; otherwise, it will not infuse properly.DIY natural candle recipe
  5. Add the sachet to the wax and continue to gently heat on the double boiler, taking care not to fry the powder. Infusion time will vary depending on your desired colour intensity. We recommend leaving the sachet to infuse for at least 20 minutes. How to colour candle
  6. Remove it from the heat and remove the tea bag or filter from the melted wax.
  7. When a thin film has formed on the surface of the wax, weigh and add your scent, then mix well (optional). making candles at home
  8. Pour the wax into the mold and add the wick. If you’re not adding scent to your candle, wait until a thin film has formed on your melted wax before pouring it into the mold.
  9. Leave the candle to cool for 48 hours and then unmold it. Cut the wick to a height of about 1 cm before lighting your candle for the first time.

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