If you want to make your own candles, you're going to need some wax as well as other candle making supplies. And you may find yourself uncertain about which kind of wax is best for you to use.
With several different types of candle wax available, you might be tempted to just get whichever one is cheapest, or whatever you're able to get hold of. That method probably won't steer you wrong if you're just after something that will hold a wick and melt slowly, but if you're making scented candles, it pays to be a bit pickier.
To help you out, here are some waxes that are good for making scented candles and a couple that aren't really suitable, plus some information about each so you can make an informed choice.
Good wax choices
By far the most common wax currently used, paraffin wax is produced as a by-product of the oil industry, and it comes plain white and with little to no scent. That makes it easy to dye, and it takes scent well, so you can fine-tune your candle exactly as you wish. Some people are opposed to paraffin wax use for perceived environmental reasons, however, so be careful if it's a gift.
Produced from soybeans, this type of wax has similar properties to paraffin wax, so it's a great choice for a scented candle. It's preferred by some people with environmental concerns but isn't quite as easy to dye bold colours as paraffin wax is.
Like soy, palm wax is made from plant oils. It's quite similar in use, so it's good for adding scents to. There's some concern about the environmental impact of palm oil production, but you can usually find out whether you're buying from a renewable source or not.
It's not really a wax at all, but it certainly acts like one in container candles. Gel wax is clear, can be scented pretty well, and gives candles a totally unique look.
Although beeswax is easy to work with and produces good quality candles, it has a distinctive scent all of its own that can overshadow any added oils.
Usually the priciest choice of the lot, bayberry wax is sought after for its unusual freshly-cut-grass smell. Like beeswax, this makes it better to burn on its own so you can enjoy its natural aroma and you don't get any unexpected scent clashes.