Candle Magick — Craft Guide and History

Candle Magick — Craft Guide and History

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Candles have a long history, dating back to the use of animal and plant fats and oils that were compressed into fuel and ignited for light and warmth. They were an essential tool for human survival.

While the experience of feeling the warmth of an amber glow powered by freshly-caught game may no longer be typical, the history of candles adds depth to the appreciation of candle magick. Spookywood defines magick as the design of function.

Composed of wax, wick, and oil, candles add ambiance, coziness, and color to special events and home spaces. When used to concentrate the brain's focus and attention, candles become a fetish. Colors, fragrances, and symbols can summon the senses to instigate different thoughts based on our emotions, memories, and dreams.

Preserved candles from China and Japan date back to some of the earliest examples, made using whale fat, insects, and tree nuts. The Romans created wicked candles by mixing papyrus into beeswax and different fats. Wax can be made from tree barks, saps, and aromatic berries, as demonstrated by our ancestors.



Michel Eugene Chevreul

Michel Eugene Chevreul is credited as the father of lipid chemistry, and was a renowned chemist during the 19th century. He is best known for discovering a method of dissolving soap in water, treating it with hydrochloric acid, and separating insoluble acids from fatty acids into layered solutions.

Chevreul conducted extensive research on the properties of fats, including their behavior when heated and their ability to be separated from glycerol. Glycerol is a simple polyol compound that is colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting, and non-toxic. It is commonly used in toothpaste, lotions, cosmetics, edible sweeteners, flavors, and cough syrup.

In addition to his work on lipids, Chevreul also co-founded a candle manufacturing patent with J.L. Guy-Lussac, a French physicist and chemist who discovered the composition of water to be two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Chevreul's pioneering research on plant and animal fats continues to influence modern lipid chemistry today.


Image Description: A Portrait of Elderly Michel Eugène Chevreul with Fuzzy White Hair

Michel Eugène Chevreul contributed to the arts by theorizing the law of simultaneous contrasts — the observation that every color, when placed beside another color, appears different from what it really is. Thus, proximity modifies color.
Chevreul was a color theorist and director of the dyeing department at the Manufacture Royale des Gobelins in Paris.
He was known to hate beer, wine and the smell of tobacco smoke. He didn't like politics, and he endured PTSD from witnessing the execution of two young girls during the French Revolution. 
In 1963, the Association Française pour l'Étude des Corps Gras (AFECG) (French Association for the Study of Fat Substances) announced the Chevreul Medal awarded to anyone who makes significant progress in the field of fats.



Candle shops were made popular in England and France in the middle ages by chandlers (candlemakers) who go from door to door making candles out of kitchen fats and showing families how to prepare them also.

During the 1800s, women and children would visit marshy woods and collect rush — a stalky, stemlike plant used for weaving baskets, chairs and making rushlights. Rushlights are stripped, thin strands of rush processed in fatty grease. The rinds are dipped in the hot fat, cooled then dipped again to make the inexpensive, layered and waxy candle.

Rushsticks were popular candleholders made of iron and sometimes wood. Rushlights may resemble taper candles, or they may look more like whiskers and waxy shoestrings.


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Candle crafting slowed down after the production of Edison's light bulb in 1879 in addition to lamps and oil burners. Candle manufacturing was less about warming environments and more a method of adding decorative glow as the industrial revolution sweeps and introduces mass production. In the 1990s, however, candles makes an intense comeback in the West as a symbol of family and aspirations.

Spherical molds, bright patterns and potent synthetic fragrances were popular. A glasswork and beading technique millefiori was commonly used to decorate globular candles.

Gel candles were also popular alternative made mostly of oil but with 5% resin added. This makes for a clear, wiggly candle that can be scented and embellished with glass marbles, sand, seashells and crystals. They are quite stunning even when not burned. Gel candles have a sad reputation of being toxic and fire hazardous, but when made correctly in candle-safe containers, they can be used without much harm.

Gel candles in champagne or thin-glass containers should not be burned, but they can be used for decoration. Only use candle-safe containers since they can burst and ignite fires. Another less-risky method of lighting gel candles is illuminating them with LED lights.


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Some of the bigger candle brands of the 90s and 2000s were Village Candles, Glade, Yankee Candle and Bath and Body Works. Colonial Candle was famous for PartyLights events that were similar to Tupperware parties. By the 2000s, candles had generated billions of dollars in profit through the sale of pillar candles, tealights, votives and novelties.




★ Wax Base (soy oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil, sweet almond oil, etc.)

★ Stearic Acid / Oleic Acid

★ Wax Double Boiler 

★ Thermometer (food grade is multi-useful!)

★  Candle Molds / Containers

★  Wax Pourer

★  Spoon / Stirrer

★  Non-Toxic Fragrances / Essential Oils

★  Finely-Ground Herbs *optional (caution: fire hazard)

★  Micas, eco-glitters, crystals (powders can be clumpy)

★  Non-toxic dyes (avoid phthalates, parabens, paraffin that isn't food-grade)

★ Cotton Wicks

★ Wick Wax Dots (non-toxic adhesive to hold the wick in place during process pouring)


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Factory candle processing has heavy machinery that executes larger and more complex functions at faster speeds. 

First, cotton is twisted and ran through paraffin. When the oil hardens, cotton is cut into wicks in a cooler location. This is a cold process that requires very low facility temperatures to keep the wax soft and snow-like to avoid clogging production units. Sprinklers shoot wax into a fine substance that gets ran through hydraulic presses that mold the wax into candles using pressure, not heat. 

After setting, a wick machine sticks a large, pointy rod through the molded candle to place the wick. Traditional dipped candles start as wicks and are submerged subsequently into layers of wax around 25 to 30 to get a layered candle. These traditional candles are usually dipped in hot dye afterwards for a bright and alluring presentation. A fun activity is to dip your own candles at home or find a local novelty shop that provides the service!


Image Description: GIF of a Rotating Candle-Making Machine




Thousands of small business owners are making candles across the nation and globe. Candle making at home has become more accessible and realistic. It does requires a set of ingredients and a little bit of investment money, but if you plan on it, you can enjoy crafting candles at home for enjoyment or as a small business venture!

Soy wax is a good wax to begin with for candle-making. Check out candlemaker suppliers like Pro Candle Supply, Candle Science, Shay and Company and other online retailers. Local wax makers can be found on Facebook Marketplace, Etsy and Ebay as well as containers and eco-friendly additives. Since candle-making is time-consuming, you can also support candlemakers like Spookywood!

To make your candles at home, have a double boiler ready to warm the wax. Keep the wax warmed at least a temperature of at least 175*F pre-pour. A stove on low/medium heat does fabulous for heating your double boiler if it's not electric.


Image Description: Blue Ignited Stovetop Flame

Prepare your wicks in safe containers. Purchasing jars specific for candle-making are a good way to avoid breakage and combustion. Securing your wicks with adhesive wax or non-toxic glue dots to the bottom of the container. These hold the wicks in place while you pour the wax. 

If you're using a microwave, use a microwave-safe container and heat the wax for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, until the wax is melted without clumps. Have a food thermometer ready to check and see if the temperature of your wax is ready for pouring.

Before you start the pour, let the wax cool to ~155*F. Use metal pourers with angled spickets for a smooth, successful pour. Messy pours can be costly, so it's worth giving yourself time to practice and gaining muscle memory!

Add 3-12 drops of your preferred fragrance and pigments or eco-glitter now. Adding fragrance at this temperature helps to keep the scent and color saturated. 

Have a spoon ready and paper towels to wipe clean your tools between pours (some waxes can be cleaned with soapy water but others may need rubbing alcohol). Wipe your tools clean when the wax is warm and don't ever pour wax (or any kind of grease or fatty substance) into your drains. 

Smaller candles can be removed from molds (unless they are jarred) within as little as a few hours. This depends on the candle's volume and container. If in doubt, leave candles to set and harden for 48-72 hours before use.

*Always trim your wick before every burn and at least every 1/4th mark of your candle! This helps to distribute the oil and fragrance evenly and will avoid smokey jars and ashy wick clumps.

Browse thrift and antique shops for candle snuffers, plates and trimmers. 


Always trim your wick before every burn to avoid clumpy wicks, smokey jars and uneven burns.


Image Description: Sparkling Pink-Tinted Gif of a Clear Gel Candles with Red Hearts Lit in a Clear Sphere Jar




Candle magick can be enjoyed for non-religious purposes. It is a powerful tool that can evoke feelings of nostalgia, sensory pleasure and inspiration for neural simulations.

The colors and fragrances of a candle can evoke distinct images, emotions and experiences in the brain based on their contents as well as the individual's response to colors, fragrances, themes and imagery.

Choosing a candle is a personal experience that allows you to select your favorite colors, scents, waxes and mold types. For those who enjoy collecting candles, they can make great keepsakes and gifts, providing a cognitive portal to dreams of food, weather, landscapes, goals, holidays and much more.

At Spookywood, we hand-mix hemp soy wax candles in Tennessee using soy, coconut, hemp, and food-grade paraffin wax with non-toxic dyes and fragrance. Our candles are vegan, cruelty-free, and free from toxins, parabens, and phthalates.

We thank you for taking the time to learn about candles and participating in Spookywood's vision to preserve consciousness with non-religious magick, studio arts and science!


 Visit The Cottage to browse Spookywood's Cottage Wax Candle collection.



Jekyll, Gertrude. (1904). Old West Surrey: Some Notes and Memories. London: Longmans, Green, & Co.

List, Gary R. (2021). Michel Eugène Chevreul. AOCS Lipid Library.

P. K. Gode (1951). History Of Wax-Candles In India (A. D. 1500-1900). Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 32(1-4), 146–165. doi:10.2307/41784587 

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