We Made Valentine's Day Candles From Crayons & The Romance Burnt Out Fast

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Rule number one in the ultimate guide to romantic décor: candles. Candles are a sweet, classic way to set the mood for a night in with your sweetheart (or yourself), especially on a romantic special occasion, like Valentine's Day. But it can be hard to feel romantic when a decent candle can cost upwards of $30. As you admire your sweetheart across the table, watching the candle flicker between you might even feel like you're literally watching money burn. Not many people realize that making your own candles can be quite easy, fun, and affordable. With the help of a few crayons, you can even create fun and romantic colored candles, according to a popular Internet DIY hack. 

Crayons are made from paraffin wax, the same base material used in most store-bought candles, so what could be a better way to upcycle dull, stumpy, or broken crayons than to turn them into beautiful, glowing Valentine's Day décor? This hack sounds like a heartthrob idea, but does it really work? And are the results as good as a store-bought candle? We turned our kitchen into a temporary candle factory to discover the truth behind this creative crayon hack. 

Sourcing our supplies

To make these charming Valentine's Day candles, we picked up a 24-pack of Crayola crayons from Michael's for $1.99, but you could also repurpose any old, broken crayons for this project. Any color from the box can be used, but we chose red and pink shades for our Valentine's Day candles. Next, we needed candlemaking wax flakes. There are several types of candle wax flakes you can use, such as beeswax, coconut, soy, or paraffin wax, depending on your budget and preference. We purchased 1 pound of Make Market soy wax flakes for $12.99 at Michael's. Finally, we needed containers to pour our candles in and chose these 8-ounce clear candle jars by Make Market for $9.99, as well as some pre-waxed wicks for $3.99. Fragrance oil is optional, but we decided not to use any so we could determine if the candles had any strange odor.

To melt your candle wax and crayons, it's essential to use a double boiler method — like this one from Amazon — but we couldn't find anything similar at our local craft stores within a reasonable price point. Instead, we improvised with an old cooking pot, a heat-safe mason jar, and a steaming basket (which we eventually swapped out for a canning ring). Please note: If you decide to use any old kitchen pots or utensils to melt the wax, they should not be reused for cooking food in the future.

Melting down the materials

Following the WikiHow instructions loosely, we started by lighting a votive candle we had on hand, then dripped hot wax onto the metal "clip" of the wick, pressed it in the center of the jar, and held the wick straight between two butter knives while it dried. Next, we added some water to the cooking pot and placed it on the stove at medium-high heat, then inserted the steaming basket and set our mason jar on top. We peeled and chopped up two crayons into smaller chunks and tossed them in, starting with the "pink" candle, which was made with a pink crayon and a red-violet crayon. Our "red" candle would use a red crayon and a crimson crayon. Finally, we measured the amount of soy wax needed to fill the candle jar, plus about ½ cup of extra wax, and added it into our mason jar. 

After about 30 minutes, our wax was still taking too long to melt via the steaming basket, so we changed plans and swapped out the basket for a canning ring, which submerged the jar in hot water without letting it touch the pan. This worked much better, and the wax melted completely within about 10 minutes. In fact, the crayons seemed to melt much easier than the soy wax! We used a disposable plastic knife to stir the wax and evenly distribute the pinkish color before pouring it into the jar and repeating the process with our red candle.  

Our sparks fizzled out quickly

After letting the candles cool and harden overnight, we found that the wax had cracked and shrunken away from the sides of the jars quite a bit. They didn't look as nice as a store-bought candle, but the crayon colors in both candles had turned out evenly, and they still looked quite cute. Excited to test them out, we trimmed the wicks to about 1 inch and lit both at the same time. The candles seemed promising at first, and they both burned for about 10 minutes, but slowly their flames started to shrink away and eventually snuffed out altogether. Thinking it may have just been a rough start, we lit them again but experienced the same effect. 

In short, this DIY Valentine's candle hack was an interesting idea in theory, but it doesn't seem to work very well in reality. The process itself was fun and surprisingly odorless (albeit a bit messy), but there isn't much point in making a candle that can't hold a flame. We only used two crayons per candle, but unfortunately, this seems to be the result for a lot of other crafty folks who have tried this hack as well, no matter how many crayons they included. If you're determined to make your own Valentine's Day candles, you may be better off purchasing wax dyes intended for candlemaking or sticking to colorless candles. Otherwise, consider crafting some other sustainable DIY Valentine's Day décor that looks cute and classy