The Complete Guide to Making Beautiful Backyard Bonfire Candles from Scratch

Paul West/ Backyard Ornamental, Outdoor Entertaining

You have probably looked out with envy at a friend’s bonfire night gathering and enjoyed the beautiful candles providing an atmosphere to the event. Daunting it may look but making yuor own bonfire candles can be an incredibly rewarding craft that allows you to add personal flair and enjoyment to your bonfire nights (or more generally).

That said – here do you start? What supplies, steps, and safety considerations should you keep in mind?

In this hopefully helpful guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to craft stunning backyard bonfire candles from scratch. You’ll discover the fascinating history of candle making, types of candles to inspire your designs, step-by-step instructions for assembling beautiful candles, and tips to enhance, maintain, and safely display your backyard creations for all to enjoy. So let’s get started on making your backyard glow with your very own bonfire candles!

A Brief History of Candle Making

Before we dive into the process of crafting backyard bonfire candles, it helps to understand the origins and evolution of candle making throughout history. The use of candles dates back over 5,000 years ago to the Chaldeans in Ancient Babylon. Torches and candles were among the only sources of light humans had access to before electricity.

Candle making advanced across many cultures over thousands of years, with innovations in materials like tallow, beeswax, and spermaceti oil. From ancient Egypt and China to Medieval Europe, candles came to hold cultural and spiritual significance in rituals, ceremonies, and daily life. By the 1800s, paraffin wax emerged as a cheap and effective material to produce candles for the masses.

Today, candle making persists as a beloved craft, with opportunities to use diverse waxes, colors, scents, and designs. The unique, warm glow of bonfire candles adds ambiance and joy to backyard gatherings that hearken back to candles’ ancient role as a focal point of human connection. Understanding this rich history can inspire your own creative endeavors making backyard candles!

Types of Candles

Before making your own candles, it helps to understand the types available and their different applications. Here are some of the main kinds of candles to consider:

Taper Candles – Tall, thin candles mounted in candle holders. They produce a bright flame and are used often for formal settings.

Votives – Short, small candles in glass containers. Votive candles are versatile and good for minimalist designs.

Container Candles – These come in different shapes and sizes, molded to fit their containers. Great for yard and table decor.

Pillar Candles – Freestanding cylinder or square candles of various sizes. Offer a classic look.

Tealight Candles – Tiny candles meant for tea light holders. Fun for scattering in groups.

Bonfire Candles – Custom-made container candles in larger mason jars or tin buckets for outdoor use. Provide mood lighting and ambiance.

When crafting your own backyard candles, votives, containers, pillars, and bonfire candles allow for the most creativity and customization. Pick shapes, colors, and fragrances that align with your intended backyard theme and use.

Why Make Your Own Bonfire Candles?

So why put in the effort to handmake your own bonfire candles rather than buying pre-made ones? Here are some of the best benefits of crafting DIY backyard candles:

Creativity – You can express your unique style through customized scents, colors, materials, and decorations.

Cost Savings – Making candles yourself is generally less expensive than buying high-end pre-made options.

Quality Ingredients – You control what goes into your candles, including eco-friendly, high-quality ingredients.

Personal Meaning – Your homemade candles take on special significance as gifts or décor you crafted yourself.

Enjoyment – The process itself is inherently rewarding, relaxing, and fun!

Bonfire candles, in particular, add cozy ambiance to backyard hangouts and barbecues. With handcrafted bonfire candles, you can create any mood or theme you desire through your design choices. Let’s now go over what you’ll need to make your own.

gathered around a bonfireyour

Gathering Your Candle Making Materials

Before lighting up your backyard with luminous bonfire candles, you first need to gather some basic supplies and equipment. Here are the essentials for your candle making toolbox:

Candle Wax

The wax provides the base material that holds the candle shape as it burns. Opt for wax with a melt point around 130 to 145°F so the candle burns slowly and evenly. Good choices include:

  • Soy wax – Made from soybeans. Natural and eco-friendly.

  • Paraffin wax – Affordable option derived from petroleum. Needs blending with stabilizers.

  • Beeswax – From hives of honey bees. Burns cleanly with a sweet scent.


The wick runs through the center of the candle to deliver the flame. Select wicks based on your candle container size and wax type. Popular options:

  • Cotton wicks – All-natural choice good for most waxes.

  • Wooden wicks – Add crackling sound effects. Require more maintenance.

  • Zinc or paper core wicks – Advanced designs for hotter, brighter flames.


To hold your candle wax, choose heat-safe containers that suit your bonfire theme:

  • Mason jars – Classic, inexpensive choice with many sizes.

  • Tin buckets or pots – Add a rustic touch.

  • Glass containers – Clear to see the candle color.

  • Pottery vessels – Offer an earthy look.

Candle Scents & Colors

Personalize your candles with different:

  • Fragrances – Essential oils, fragrance oils, dried herbs/flowers.

  • Colors – Liquid candle dyes, color blocks, old crayons.


You’ll need some basic equipment and tools for safety and ease:

  • A double boiler or crock pot to melt wax gently

  • Thermometer for monitoring wax temperature

  • Containers for mixing wax, dyes, and scents

  • Spoon for stirring and wax pouring

  • Pencil or wick rod for centering wicks

  • Adhesives like hot glue or epoxy for securing wicks

With your materials gathered, you’re ready to begin assembling your artistic bonfire candles!

Step-By-Step Instructions for Making Bonfire Candles

Looking at the list of supplies and steps, you may feel a bit overwhelmed as a beginner. But don’t worry – candle making is very manageable when broken down into individual steps. Follow this process for foolproof bonfire candle crafting:

Prepare Your Workspace

Protect your work area from spills and wax drips by covering surfaces with newspaper or cardboard. Have all equipment and ingredients organized and ready to use. Make sure young kids and pets are kept at a safe distance.

Melt the Wax

Add wax chunks or pellets to a double boiler or crock pot on low heat. Melt slowly to avoid scorching. For a 16 oz candle, use roughly 17 to 20 oz of wax so you have extra for pouring.

Add candle dye and essential oils when the wax is partially melted, stirring to blend. Remove from heat when wax is 185°F.

Prepare the Wick

Cut your wick to about 1⁄2 to 1 inch longer than the container depth. Anchor wick stickers or use hot glue on the base of the wick to secure to the bottom center of the container.

Pour the Wax

When wax is cooled to 130-140°F, carefully pour it into the container, being sure not to disturb the wick position. Top off until you’ve used all the wax.

Cool and Set

Allow the candle to fully harden undisturbed for at least 24 hours. Trim the wick to 1⁄4 inch when cooled. Then enjoy your handcrafted bonfire candle!

With basic practice, you can consistently make gorgeous backyard candles using this easy process. Now let’s go over some finishing touches and design ideas.

Getting Creative with Bonfire Candle Customization

The fun doesn’t stop once your candle is cured and ready to use. You can also enhance your candles with creative textures, layers, and decorations. Some ideas to inspire you:

Layering Wax Colors – Alternate pouring contrasting colors to make stripes or swirls in the interior candle wax.

Adding Botanicals – Suspend dried flowers, leaves, pinecones or other elements in the wax for visual interest.

Textured Exteriors – Press beeswax embeds, seashells, pebbles, or fabric into the exterior before the candle sets.

Painting with Wax – Once cool, add melted wax stripes, dots, and patterns with a paint brush.

Personalized Labels – Design your own labels to adhere to the candle’s exterior with themes or inspirational quotes.

By combining candle making techniques like these, you can produce amazing backyard candles that truly stand out as your personal creations. The possibilities are endless!

Safe Setup, Handling, and Storage for Home Use

When dealing with an open flame, hot wax, and flammable materials, safety should always be the number one priority. Follow these guidelines to avoid accidents and injuries when making and burning backyard candles:

Use Proper Equipment – Work over a double boiler or crock pot, not direct stove heat. Have a thermometer on hand.

Protect Your Workspace – Cover surfaces from drips. Keep flammables away from the work area. Never leave melting wax unattended.

Use Caution with Hot Wax – Wear gloves to handle hot containers. Allow ample time for cooling before handling. Keep kids and pets away.

Practice Fire Safety – Keep burning candles within sight. Never leave them unattended. Ensure they are extinguished fully before leaving the area.

Store Candles Properly – Allow for air circulation but avoid direct sun and humidity. Keep out of reach of children and pets when not in use.

By making safety a habit, you can enjoy the fruits of your candle making labor with confidence and peace of mind.

Displaying and Enjoying Your Bonfire Candles

Once you’ve crafted your backyard bonfire candles with care and attention, the fun part comes in creatively displaying your candles to illuminate your outdoor space!

For parties and backyard gatherings, arrange assorted sizes and colors of candles throughout your yard to cast a magical glow. Group candles in the center of tables or scatter them along pathways, steps, and around seating areas.

Elevate candles in glass vases or lanterns to enhance visibility and add decor. For a cohesive look, keep your candles within the same color family or complementary hues.

Make sure your arrangements are stable, with candles anchored firmly in non-flammable holders. Position them out of high traffic areas but still enabling you to appreciate their ambiance.

When lighting your candles, have the proper tools on hand like lighters, matches, and snuffers. Avoid lighting candles on very windy days for safety. Enjoy admiring your handiwork alone or with loved ones.

Wrapping It All Up

As you can see, crafting your own bonfire candles for backyard enjoyment combines creativity, practicality, and beauty all in one rewarding DIY project. By following the tips and techniques in this guide, you’ll be ready to make stunning, customized candles to add comfort, ambiance, and design flair to your outdoor space.

The entire process – from understanding candle history to displaying your final works of art – is meant to be an enjoyable experience that taps into human connections with fire, light, nature, and craftsmanship. So don’t be afraid to experiment and make each candle your own.

Now that you know the steps and possibilities, it’s time to get started creating your backyard bonfire candle masterpieces! Enjoy this relaxing hobby while producing gorgeous candles to light up your gatherings. Your homemade candles are sure to receive endless compliments and admirers.

Paul West
Share this Post

About Paul West

Longstanding and passionate about really having family fun in the backyard. I'm no expert but I've picked up a thing or two along the way!