Discover the Best Candle Making Classes in NYC
Cultures have made candles by hand since as early as 500 BCE, when the civilizations of ancient Rome, China, and India made candles out of tallow and whale fat for practical and religious purposes. The methods used to make candles today trace their roots back to the techniques and materials used to make these earliest candles. While today we use materials like soy wax instead of the tallow like the ancient Romans, use glass or plastic containers and molds rather than rice paper like the ancient Chinese, or use fragrance oils instead of real cinnamon like the ancient Indians, the core components and techniques are much the same. At its heart, a candle is wax and a wick, and this simplicity gives students opportunities to add fragrances or colors.
There are a few different methods for making candles, the most popular of which are rolling a wick in a sheet of wax, dipping wicks into a pot of melted wax, and pouring melted wax into a mold or container then suspending a wick therein. This simple process can be complicated somewhat by the addition of dyes to provide color or colors, or fragrance oils to provide scents. Regardless of the method, the end result is the same: an ignitable wick encased in a shell of wax that burns for fuel, personalized to your aesthetic or functional desires.
Why You Should Learn Candle Making in NYC
Many who get into candle making do so for the relaxing, meditative properties of candles. While practicing the hobby is in and of itself a way to tap into the sense of personal satisfaction that accompanies completing a task by hand, the candles themselves are typically further used in calming activities like meditation or a bath. Scents have a strong connection to memory, and a scented candle can be a great way to enhance personal relaxation by establishing an ambiance that evokes cozy, comforting times past.
While that sense of satisfaction or calmness is a matter of personal fulfillment, that doesn’t mean that candle making is strictly a solitary activity. For instance, practicing a hobby can be a great way to form a social network of others similarly invested in the hobby. The sense of personal relaxation can be shared with friends and family through the gift of a personalized, hand-made candle. Unlike a mass-produced, factory-made candle, the likes of which an old SNL sketch has associated with thoughtless regifting, a hand-made candle is a way to share something you’ve devoted the time and care to making yourself.
If you view candle making as more than just a hobby, there are ways to profit by selling candles. Whether you’re already established in the beauty industry and are looking to add candles to an existing beauty line or are simply looking to sell at local craft fairs as a side project, New York City is home to many resources that can help evolve your candle making from a hobby to an entrepreneurial enterprise.
In-Person Candle Making Classes & Schools in NYC
In-person classes are the gold standard for learning candle making techniques. There’s really no better or faster method for learning than following along with an expert instructor who can demonstrate each step along the way and who can answer any questions that arise during the process. Fortunately for New York City residents, there are enough expert chandlers in the city that finding a quality class is a relatively simple matter.
Those living in Manhattan can find quality classes from Back Porch Soap Company in the Upper West Side. Originally founded as a soap making business in Plymouth, Massachusetts by Marla Bosworth, Back Porch Soap Company has since grown into a full-fledged natural skincare business operating in New York City. The company has been featured in publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and with Marla Bosworth herself conducting the classes, you can be assured that you’re getting advice from a true expert.
Back Porch Soap Company offers a Candle Making Pop Up! Experience as a more casual foray into candle making, treating candle making as a hobby for personal pleasure or for gift-giving. In this hands-on 1.5-hour workshop, participants spend a fun evening designing and creating two of their very own hand-poured coconut wax candles. With options to customize scents and colors, these candles are great as gifts to close friends or for personal relaxation. Those looking to experience the more relaxing aspects of candle making need look no further.
Those who are a bit more serious about their candle making might consider the Candle Making Class offered by Back Porch Soap Company, which is a slightly more intensive experience. This class also covers the basic techniques of candle making and provides the same hands-on experience of making two personalized coconut wax candles, but it also offers some entrepreneurial advice for those who would like to sell candle wares rather than give them as gifts or keep them for personal use. Those who enroll in this class will also gain access to several digital materials that can be viewed at any time. Rather than a lighthearted introduction to candle making for beginners, this class is instead suitable for newbies seeking a slightly more serious tone or for practiced candlemakers looking to troubleshoot their techniques or further develop their existing candle lines.
Back Porch Soap Company also offers an Organic Skincare, Soap and Candle Making Diploma Course that caters to individuals hoping to launch or to grow a business. This “Make Your Own Beauty” certificate program goes well beyond just candle making, offering a series of 5 hands-on workshops devoted to various aspects of the beauty industry. One of those workshops does cover candle making, though the full program also includes workshops on soap making and on other skincare products. Certainly unsuitable for beginners, this class is for those looking for a comprehensive education to make it in the beauty industry.
If Manhattan isn’t convenient, cross over the river into Queens for great candle making classes from Atelier Artisane, a business dedicated to natural candle making craftsmanship. Melanie Rousselet channels the scents and memories of her native Provence into cozy, comforting all-natural candles, and also shares her techniques and experience through a series of candle making classes. The Natural Scented Candle Making class is a combination of theory and hands-on practice. This 1.5-hour workshop emphasizes the importance of natural ingredients, including advice on where to select and source quality ingredients. After an overview of the equipment and techniques required for candle making, participants will have the opportunity to practice making two different types of candles: a scented soy or coconut wax candle, and a lotion candle whose melted wax can be used as a skin moisturizer.
Virtual Candle Making Classes & Schools
While New York has plenty of options for those looking to attend an in-person candle making class, there may be reasons that attending one of the offered classes isn’t a reasonable option. Chandlers set dates and times for these courses based on their own availability, and those time slots may not work with everyone’s schedule. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself unable to attend an in-person class, there are still plenty of online candle making classes that provide quality training with expert chandlers.
While online courses are a great way to accommodate a challenging schedule or commute, they also do require some forethought in acquiring supplies. While in-person classes typically have supplies on-site provided for students, a virtual class can’t provide the same ready access to materials, so students are expected to acquire them themselves. Instructors will provide a detailed list of necessary supplies which can be purchased from online sellers or from local art supply stores, but the onus of actually getting those supplies ultimately falls on the student.
Love & Make in Houston, Texas conducts a Virtual Candle Making Workshop accessible to anybody in the world with an internet connection. This live virtual workshop teaches all the basic techniques of candle making as an instructor walks you through every step of the process of creating soy wax candles. You will complete the course not only having made a hand-poured soy wax candle, but also possessing the skills to continue making more candles at home on your own time. Note that this class does not come with supplies, and participants are expected to secure those on their own time. To make this a bit easier, Love & Make sells a DIY Candle Making Kit that contains all of the necessary materials, including a container, wax, 2 wicks, fragrance oil, and a stick for stirring wax.
Private Group Candle Making Classes in NYC
If you’re looking for an interesting option for socializing or team building, CourseHorse offers live online candle making and other crafts classes for private groups that are a perfect way to interact as a group in a fun environment.
You can learn basic candle making techniques with CourseHorse’s Virtual Candle Making class. You’ll have all the benefits of a fun, hands-on activity as an expert instructor guides your group through the production of soy and beeswax candles, all from the comfort of your own home.
As an added bonus, this is a virtual class where you won’t have to worry about supplies. While most other courses will require you to purchase materials on your own time and on your own dime, CourseHorse ships a candle making kit with all the supplies you need directly to each participant. Each kit includes enough wax, wicks, candle tins, and fragrance oils to make two candles of your own, as well as miscellaneous supplies for handling the wax like a melting/pouring pitcher and a wax-stirring stick.
Once you’ve booked through CourseHorse, you’ll receive a confirmation within 24 hours, and your event provider will personally reach out to introduce themselves and to provide additional information. If you need to change your group size after you’ve booked a course, CourseHorse can easily change your headcount after the fact. While the total cost of the class will depend on the size of the group, you won’t need to finalize payment until you’ve finalized your headcount. This virtual class is hosted over Zoom, but CourseHorse can accommodate other platforms like Microsoft Teams or Google Meets.
If an in-person group class sounds like a more appealing option, some of the organizations that conduct candle making classes live in New York also offer options for group classes. In the Flatiron district, Atelier Artisane conducts a Natural Scented Candle Making group class for groups of up to 15 people. Over in the Upper West Side, Back Porch Soap Company can accommodate groups of up to 85 in a Design Your Own Candles Workshop.