Flower Pot Candle Project

By Bob Sherman

Flower pots come in all shapes and sizes and if prepared correctly make great container candles. They are fairly inexpensive and can be easily decorated if desired. I want to stress here that they must be prepared correctly as described below or they may pose a fire hazard.

Many of the items you will need can be ordered directly from this page for your convenience. The Materials list is at the bottom of the page.

PLEASE NOTE!! - Candle making can be dangerous if proper safety procedures are not followed. Please read these Safety Rules before attempting any candle making projects.

About Pots
This article will deal primarily with unglazed terra cotta flower pots - the common clay type. If you are using glazed (inside) or glass pots the coating steps that follow need not be done. Pots that are glazed outside only should be treated as unglazed. Do not use pots of flammable material such as plastic or papier mache.

Safety - MUST READ
Terra Cotta clay is porous - it can soak up molten wax. This presents a fire hazard when burning the candle since the whole pot may turn into a large wick. This uncontrolled burning is to be avoided at all costs, due to the fire hazard involved. Fortunately, simply coating the pot's interior will prevent this. Note that this does not happen with every uncoated pot - but it only takes one to burn your house down.

Interior Coating
My preferred coating method is to give 2 or more coats of Mod-Podge®. This is a product sold for decoupage and is readily available in most craft and art supply stores. It can also be used to put a decoupage finish on the outside of the pot as well if desired. Since the terra cotta is porous it will soak in, and repeated coats should be applied until a glossy finish is obtained. Generally 2 heavy coats will suffice for this.

Plugging The Hole
Most flower pots have a drainage hole in the bottom. This can easily be closed off with caulk. Silicone caulk such as that used for fish tanks also works well. Both are commonly sold in the lumber yard or hardware store.

Wax Formula
I prefer the following formula for container candles:

1 pound Container Blend Wax
1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) of Scent Oil - Optional
Dye to suit

Alternate formula - In the event that a suitable container blend wax is not available I use 140 mp paraffin with 1 level tsp of vybar 103 in its place.

Pouring The Candle
Once the pot is sealed and plugged it may be treated like any other container candle. Pouring them is easy and since the sides are opaque, many of the cosmetic problems associated with glass jars will be invisible.

  1. Melt the wax and bring to 160 degrees F. in a double boiler setup.
  2. Stir in and test color.
  3. Stir in scent oil.
  4. Pour into the pot stopping approximately 1/4 inch from the top.
  5. Straighten a pre tabbed wick and drop into the center.
  6. As it cools periodically grasp the wick and gently tug it upwards and to the center.
  7. Once fully cooled, reheat the leftover wax and make a second pour to obtain a nice level top.
  8. Allow to cool, then trim the wick to 1/4 inch.

Alternate Use
An alternative with appropriately sized pots is to use them as a votive holder.

Flower Pots As Votive Holders
Flower pots as votive holders - note that these should be removed from the decorative wood before burning.

Decorative Techniques
Pots can be painted, decaled, decoupaged, stacked, antiqued, etc... Undecorated pots go well in a garden motif room or in the garden and make great Citronella candles.

Animal Flower Pot Candles
Candles made in decorative flower pots.

Summary
Flower pots make container candles when properly prepared. The combination of low price, variety, and ease of embellishing makes them a winner for container candles. Take the sealing instructions quite seriously because the potential fire hazard if this step is skipped is dangerous.

Candle Making Supplies And Materials

The following candle making supplies and other materials were used to make these candles. Clicking on the item name will bring you to that item's page.

Item Amount Used
Container Blend Wax A pre blended, low shrinkage wax designed especially for use in container candles. Phenomenal scent throw and ease of use.
Dye Your choice of dye blocks or dye flakes.
Thermometer For checking pouring temperature.
Melting / Pouring Pot One.
Pre tab Wicks

Use the following wicks for this wax formula:

2" diameter: 44-24-18
3" diameter: 51-32-18
4" diameter: 60-44-18

Wooden Spoons Purchase at a housewares store or a dollar store.
Flower Pots Any style of your choice.
Mod-Podge® To seal the pots. Any craft or art supply store should have this.
Caulk To seal the drainage hole. Hardware store or lumber yard.
Old Pot One cooking pot will be needed for the double boiler setup. Garage sales and thrift shops are a great source for these.

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Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge and common candle making practices as of the time of this writing Originally published in the 1990's and updated in January 2006 and June 2011. The author and the publisher accept no liability for the use or misuse of any of the information presented in this article. This article is presented for informational purposes and is used at your own risk.

Author: Bob Sherman

Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.

This article is provided free of charge for use. Candles may be made and sold using this design royalty free, however no portion of this article may be reproduced for publication elsewhere without express permission from Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc. with the following exceptions: