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How to Make Homemade Massage Candles

September 18, 2013

Learn how to make homemade massage candles to nourish dry skin while also enjoying the traditional, aromatherapeutic scents they emit. These products are easy to make and are also lovely for seasonal holiday gift giving! Keep reading to learn how to craft your own DIY massage oil candles at home.

diy massage candles

What Are Homemade Massage Candles?

Since around 2006 massage candles, also known as lotion candles, have risen in popularity. A creative alternative to massage oil, these nifty 3-in-1 candles make your home smell great! After burning, the liquid massage candle oil can also be used to massage onto skin to assist with an aromatherapeutic massage. Or use these like a body lotion to moisturize skin and leave behind a lovely smell on your skin.

Most homemade massage oil candles I’ve come across are simply make from natural soy wax, which has a low melt point of about 102 degrees F, and an aroma blend. However, when I was at Floyd Fest over the summer, there was a vendor selling these homemade products made with not only soy wax, but also with shea butter and essential oils. As prospective customers would approach her booth, she would offer them a “hand job” and massage the melted massage oil from these DIY products onto each recipients’ hand. She would then give each customer a sticker that stated, “I got a hand job from” her company name.

how to make massage candles

I really loved the addition of the shea butter, so I decided to make my own soy massage candles. These products are super simple to make — definitely easier than making homemade soap from scratch —and you can scent with them your choice of essential oils or with a fragrance oil.

While I used a frosted cranberry oil to scent my DIY massage candles to gift, you can use any smell you like. You can also use your own custom essential oil blends to create unique products to sell in your Etsy shop or at craft fairs.

I LOVE crafting these easy DIY candles for homemade holiday gifts, stocking stuffers, housewarming gifts. They even make wonderful DIY wedding favors! 

If you’ve never made this type of product before, you’ll be thrilled by how easy these are to craft. However, to make things even easier on your end when making homemade gifts, I’ve included printable labels for your use. These decorative labels make packaging your finished products a snap! Plus, you can also dress up your containers even more by using your favorite patterned washi tape.

oil massage candle in frosted cranberry

Massage Candles Recipe

© Rebecca D. Dillon

I formulated this massage candle recipe to make one single 4 oz. tin. However, you can make multiples at once by simply doubling the recipe as needed. I also chose to use wooden wicks for this project as not only do I love how they burn, but they are a lot easier to work with for beginners.

My recipe for making homemade massage candles will yield one 4 oz. container. However, with the minimum purchase of materials you purchase — 1 lb. soy wax, 2 oz. fragrance oil, 12 oz. shea butter, 10 wooden wicks, and 10 metal tins — you can make about seven in total. If you prefer to use plant based oils to scent this product, you generally use between 1-2% of a skin safe essential oil. However, there are exceptions, which I detail in the FAQ.

Ingredients:

These are the ingredients you’ll need to make massage oil candles:

  • Soy wax: I used soy wax as the base. Soy wax is softer than many other waxes and also has a lower melting point.
  • Refined shea butter: To soften the wax further, as well as to give this product its moisturizing skin care benefits, refined shea butter is also included in the formulation. If desired, you may replace the shea butter with another semi-solid butter. If you prefer to use cocoa butter, or another hard butter, you will first need to mix it with a carrier oil. Mix in just enough oil so that the final consistency of the cocoa butter is similar to that of shea butter. Then use the same amount called for in the recipe to ensure easy pouring once it is made and melted.
  • Fragrance Oil: I scented my product with a frosted cranberry oil. This is a wonderful holiday aroma. Therefore, it’s ideal for winter themed gifts. However, you can also use another oil of your choosing. For a natural product, you may also use essential oils. Keep in mind that swapping out the aroma in your massage candle oil recipe may require additional calculations. You can learn how much oil is needed (and is skin safe!) in the FAQ at the end of this article.

Tools and Supplies:

In addition to the recipe ingredients necessary to make this adult craft project, you will also need a few additional supplies and tools. They are as follows:

  • Wood wick: It’s important to use a soft, small wooden candle wick for this project to avoid a fire hazard. Using one that is too large for the container can result in a high flame that’s unsafe. I once used a larger option than was necessary. The outcome was less than pleasant with the flame setting off my smoke alarm the first time I burned it. If you are making these in a different size container or doubling the recipe, then be sure to check out this helpful post on how to choose candle wicks at Life-n-Reflection. (If you prefer not to use a wood, you can use any lead-free wick of your choice.)
  • Candle container: I used a 4 oz. deep round tin with lid as the tin for this project. These containers come as is as well as in range of colors and designs. For an 8 oz. tin, simply double the massage candle recipe.
  • Blank Full Sheet Labels: If you aren’t using a decorative tin to make these, then I’ve provided free printables that you can use. Simply print the labels onto blank white sticker label sheets. You can then cut out the labels and apply them to the container. Even if you don’t decorate the outside of the container, I do recommend that you add the safety sticker to the bottom. This is especially important if you plant to give these as homemade gifts. 
  • Scale: You will need digital kitchen scale to weigh out the ingredients in the recipe. As this recipe is in grams, make sure your scale has a gram weighing capacity. Should your existing scale not have an optional to weigh out things in grams, you can convert the recipe into ounces. Then increase it as necessary.
  • Metal utensil: You will need a metal utensil to stir the wax blend and mix the components of this recipe. Nothing fancy is required here. A simple fork or butter knife will suffice.
  • Glass pyrex measuring cup: You will need an 8 oz. heat safe, glass measuring cup with a spout to complete this recipe as provided. This is used to combine the ingredients as well as mix and pour them. 
  • Dropper or pipettes: As such a small amount of aroma oil is called for to make these massage candles, I used a plastic transfer pipette to assist with process. A dropper allows you to add a small amount to the wax mixture to ensure you get the proper weight.
  • Markers: Permanent colored markers are optional and only necessary if you’d like to color the printable labels provided.
  • Pot holder or kitchen towel: To avoid accidental burns, you will need a protective potholder or something similar to handle the container you use to heat the wax and body butter.
  • Microwave: I used a microwave to melt both the wax and the shea butter. Alternately, you may also use a double boiler. 
  • Scissors: Also optional, you will use scissors to cut out the labels to adhere to the tins.
  • Printer: Should you choose to use the printable labels provided for this project, then you will need a home printer to print the labels onto full size sticker sheets.
  • Thermometer: You will need a digital laser thermometer or candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the wax after it’s been melted.

How to Make Massage Candles

Massage candles can be used as a scented oil for massage, to hydrate and nourish dry skin as well as a regular candles for their aromatherapy benefits. Here’s how to make them:

  1. Start by placing the wooden wick inside the metal tin. Then use a pair of scissors to cut it so it rests just below the top opening of the tin.
  2. Now place the wick inside the metal base. Set it in the center of the metal tin.
  3. Using a digital kitchen scale, weigh out the wax and body butter. Combine the ingredients in a glass pyrex measuring cup, 8 oz. or larger.
  4. Heat the materials in the microwave at 50% power until both the wax and butter have melted. Once melted, carefully remove the liquified wax from the microwave using a pot holder or kitchen towel to prevent any accidental burns. The glass will be hot.
  5. Allow the wax mixture to cool to between 175-185°F. Use a thermometer to let you know once the wax has cooled to this temperature.
  6. Once the wax has cooled, place the container of wax and butter onto the digital kitchen scale and press tare. Using a plastic transfer pipette, slowly add the aroma oil to the wax base until it reaches 6 grams by weight. Then stir with a metal utensil. I generally use a butter knife.
  7. Now slowly pour all of the wax into the prepared metal tin. If the wick shifts, don’t worry. You can easily reposition it after you’ve poured the wax.
  8. Finally, allow the wax to cool completely. You will need to wait 24 hours before burning for optimal scent throw.

Label the Candle Container

Once the wax has cooled, you can label the container. Download the Printable Frosted Cranberry Massage Labels and Safety Labels here. Then print them onto full size sticker label sheets. If desired, you can color in the labels with markers to give your crafts a handmade touch or to express your own creativity.

Next, use scissors to cut out the labels. Then remove the backing from the adhesive labels and apply to the tins. The safety and caution label should be placed on the bottom of each container.

Be sure to trim your wick to 1/4″ high before every use. Then, blow it out before dipping your fingers into the wax to avoid accidental burns from the flame.

How to Use

Before using this product, trim the wick so that it is 1/4″ high. Then, to use this product, light the candle then burn it as normal. Allow it to burn for 10-15 minutes.

After this time, or once a pool of wax forms, blow it out. You can then dip your fingertips into the warm oil to check the temperature. If it’s a comfortable temperature for you, you. may then apply the product to skin as a lotion. Alternately, the melted massage candle oil may also be poured directly onto your partner’s body for massage.

When applied, the melted oil will leave a lingering scent on skin for you to enjoy.

Yield: 1 - 4 oz. candle

Massage Oil Candles

How to Make Homemade Massage Candles - DIY Festive Holiday Gift Idea - Frosted Cranberry Massage Candle DIY with Printable Labels

Learn how to make oil massage candles for personal use or homemade holiday gifts. Scented with a frosted cranberry fragrance oil, this three-in-one product can be used to scent your home, for a relaxing massage, or to moisturize skin in the same way as a body lotion.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • 65 grams soy wax
  • 10 grams refined shea butter
  • 6 grams Frosted Cranberry fragrance oil

Tools

  • Small soft wooden wicks
  • 4 oz. deep round tin with lid
  • blank white sticker label sheets
  • digital kitchen scale
  • metal utensil for stirring
  • glass pyrex measuring cup
  • plastic transfer pipette
  • permanent colored markers
  • pot holder or kitchen towel
  • candy thermometer
  • microwave
  • scissors
  • printer

Instructions

  1. Place a small wooden wick inside a 4 oz. candle tin. Use scissors to the cut the wick so that the top of the wick rests just below the top of the tin.
  2. Now place the wick inside the metal base. Return the wick to the tin.
  3. Use a digital scale to weigh out the soy wax and the shea butter.
  4. Combine the ingredients in a heat safe, glass measuring cup. Then melt in the microwave at 50% power. Carefully remove the container from the microwave using a potholder or tea towel to avoid accidental burns.
  5. Allow the wax to cool to between 175-185° F. Use a thermometer to let you know once the wax has cooled to this temperature.
  6. Then place the container of melted wax and shea butter onto the scale. Press tare. Then use a plastic transfer pipette or dropper to slowly add the fragrance oil to the soy massage candle mixture.
  7. Once the correct weight of fragrance has been added, use a metal utensil to stir the scent into the massage oil candle.
  8. Now slowly pour all of the scented wax into the metal tin. If the wick shifts, simply reposition it to the center of the candle tin.
  9. Allow the wax to cool completely.
  10. Once the wax has cooled, label the candle tin as desired for personal use or gifts. If gifting, I recommend that you also place the safety and caution label from the printable provided to the bottom of the tin.
  11. Wait 24 hours after making these homemade candles before use. This gives the fragrance time to cure and results in a stronger scent throw when burned.

Notes

You don't need a microwave for this project. If desired, you can also use a double boiler to melt the candle making ingredients.

Be sure to trim your wick to 1/4″ high before every use.

To use this product, burn the candle as normal. Once a pool of wax forms, blow the candle out. You can then dip your fingers into the wax to apply to skin as a lotion. Alternately, the melted massage candle oil may also be poured directly onto skin for massage.

Massage Oil Candle FAQ

Are Massage Candles Edible?

Unlike edible massage oils, this particular product is are not meant for consumption. While technically shea butter and soy wax aren’t harmful if eaten, consuming fragrance oils or even essential oils is not recommended as they can make you ill.

What Are Massage Candles Good For?

Like regular, everyday candles, these oil massage candles are a wonderful way to fragrance your home. In addition to filling your favorite spaces with a lovely smell, they also double as an oil for massage or can be used as a moisturizing lotion. You can use them during massage to enjoy their aromatherapy benefits. Alternately, you can simply apply the melted wax to skin to moisturize it the same way you would if using a body lotion or body butter for dry skin.

If desired you can also use these for foreplay or a romantic date night. Just like a sensual massage oil, you can also create these using an aphrodisiac essential oil blend.

Can You Use Fragrance Oil in Massage Candles?

You can absolutely use fragrance oils in lieu of essential oils to make these soy massage candles. However, keep in mind that these oils have a higher suggested usage rate than a leave on product. Therefore, as the aroma oil is used for two different applications in a single product, you shouldn’t use more than maximum usage rate suggested for lotions or body creams when determining the amount to use.

What Are Massage Candles Made Of?

Homemade massage candles are generally made using soy wax blended with a fragrance oil or essential oil. However, oils or butters can also be added to these products for a smoother application such as massage or to use the melted wax as a body moisturizer. The addition of these ingredients also give this  additional skin care benefits. They also lower the melting point so it melts at a lower temperature and is easier to pour.

How Much Fragrance Should I Use to Scent Massage Candle Oil?

The amount of fragrance used to make massage candle oil can vary. In general, you can use more aroma oil for these than an essential oil. However, the total amount basically comes down to two factors: the IRFA maximum skin exposure levels and the maximum usage rate for candlemaking.

IRFA maximum skin exposure levels are set to prevent aroma blends from irritating skin. Different applications, such as soap and lotions, have varying maximum usage rates depending on the part of the body it will be used as well as whether it is used in a wash off product or one that stays on skin.

For the frosted cranberry oil I chose for this project, the maximum usage rate for a body lotion is 7.7%. Therefore, its usage rate for this massage candles recipe is calculated at 7.7% of the total weight of the wax and the semi-solid butter used for this recipe.

Typically, you should not use more than 12% of any aroma oil to scent these. Most waxes aren’t stable at a higher usage rate. For optimal aroma throw, however, guidelines indicate that you should not exceed 10%. Therefore, you should not use additional oil above this amount regardless of whether or not the IRFA maximum skin exposure level for the product you choose is higher.

If you’d like to use a different fragrance oil or essential oil, first refer to manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the max usage rater to scent a body lotion. You can then use up to that amount provided that it does not exceed 10%.

For example, should you use another aroma, such as a lavender and cedar leaf oil, the usage rate changes to 13.4%. Therefore, you can use up to 10% or 7.5 grams of this oil in this product. Alternately, this Madagascar vanilla has a usage rate of 3% meaning you would use 2.25 grams to give these candles their aroma. Or spice things up with a fun dessert aroma.

What Essential Oils Are Used to Make Oil Massage Candles?

Common oils used to make candles are lemongrass, cedarwood, lemon, tonka bean, amber, pink pepper, gurjun balsam and lavender. However, you can use any skin safe essential oil for this project. How much essential oil you should use, however, is another kettle of fish entirely.

Like other aromas, these plant based products have different recommended usage rates for body lotion. Lavender can be used at a 5% usage rate. Thereby allowing you to use up to 3.75 grams of this eo to scent the product. In this instance, you can use a liquid carrier oil up to an additional 5% of this recipe.

Lemongrass, on the other hand, has a very low usage rate for lotions. In this instance, the max usage rate is 0.1%. Therefore, I don’t recommend scenting these  with only lemongrass should you choose to use it.

Further, cedarwood essential oil has a usage rate of 2.5% for this application. As illustrated, it is necessary to research any aroma blends you plan to use to make massage candles determine their usage rate beforehand.

In addition to these oils, you can also use absolutes. When oil isn’t able to be cold pressed or steam distilled from plant matter, it can be extracted through a solvent, such as ethyl alcohol, to create an absolute. Popular absolutes include jasmine, coffee, and cocoa. 

Can I Add Carrier Oils?

If desired you may add carrier oils to this product. Coconut oils, such as regular coconut oil and MCT or fractionated coconut oil can be used. You may also use jojoba oil or sweet almond oil. You can even add a few drops of nourishing vitamin E oil when you add the fragrance. Some people also use soybean oils to make these. However, while affordable, soybean isn’t generally the best choice for skin care.

Just keep in the mind that total combined weight of the both the aroma oil and the carrier oil you choose should not exceed 10% of this recipe. Therefore, if you wish to add a carrier oil to this massage body product, then you can add up to 1.5 grams. As 10% of this recipe equals 7.5 grams, you may add additional oil only if you reduce the fragrance or the shea butter by the same amount. Otherwise your candles may not solidify or burn properly.

Are These Candles Vegan?

As this massage candle recipe uses soy wax, which is plant based, this project is vegan. If you’d like to create a cruelty-free product, then pay attention to where you source your products. And, be sure to test on people, not pets.

How Long Do Soy Candles Burn?

This 4 oz. candle burns approximately 20-25 hours. However, using this product for body lotion or massage, reduces the amount of wax in the container. Thereby shortening the total burn time. 

pumpkin spice massage oil candle

Pumpkin Spice Massage Candles

If you enjoyed my recipe for making frosted cranberry homemade massage candles, then you may also want to try my pumpkin spice candle recipe. Scented with pumpkin pie spice, this easy DIY craft is a great way to start enjoying those fall vibes. Learn to make them here.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make massage oil candles. For more projects like this one, be sure to follow me across all of your favorite social media platforms. You can find Soap Deli News on PinterestFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  Alternately, you can also subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

13 Comments

  • Priyanjana Roy

    September 25, 2013 at 6:44 am

    omg !
    this is soo good

  • Richard Fretz

    December 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Hello I just read your story and wanted to know if I wanted to make a soy wax candle without the shea butter how much wax should I use? Does it measure same as the shea butter or different do you know?

    1. Rebecca D. Dillon

      December 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      You can follow the recipe for a diy soy candle kit here. 5 oz. of soy wax with .5 oz. fragrance oil makes one 8 oz. candle.

  • Monique R

    January 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Is it vital to use the wooden wicks? I Have some wicks for pillar candles (HTP). Please let me know! Thank you in advance!

    1. Rebecca D. Dillon

      January 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      No, I just prefer the wooden wicks. 😉

  • Monique R

    January 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Okay… thanks for the information!

  • Dawn Tryingcake Becker

    February 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t like fragrances of any kind due to allergies. What do I need to know to make up for the lost weight of the fragrance? Thanks!!

    1. Rebecca D. Dillon

      February 5, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      Just omit the fragrance.

  • Brandon

    June 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Is there a substitute for the soy wax or can I simply increase the amount of shea butter?

    1. Rebecca D. Dillon

      June 22, 2014 at 8:19 am

      Soy wax is used because it has such a low melt point and won’t burn your skin like waxes that must reach higher temps to melt. I’m not aware that you can make a candle with simply shea butter. You can ask a candle supply maker if there are other waxes that have the same melt temp as soy wax – perhaps something like rice bran wax? – but I’ve not heard of a substitution.

  • Elisa

    September 14, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Rebecca,

    Would unrefined shea butter work just as well or will that create issues within the chemical aspect of it?

    1. Rebecca D. Dillon

      September 14, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      You can use unrefined but it will affect the scent of the fragrance.

  • Rebecca S. Lengfellner

    December 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Can I substitute coconut oil for the Shea butter? Looks like a great candle recipe!!! Relatively cheap too!!

Comments are closed.

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