Have you ever wondered whether using terracotta flower pots might be an ideal container for homemade candles? Last year, we created plenty of these candles for our summer nights in the garden and studied in-depth how to make them avoiding any risks and fire hazards.
Putting candle wax in terracotta flower pots is possible, as long as the container is solid and without any cracks. Before pouring the liquified wax into the container, it is necessary to seal it: wipe away any dirt with a damp cloth, and then pass two coats of clay pot sealer inside and outside.
You’ll be surprised by the care those terracotta pots needs in the preparation process, but the final result will amaze you even more. Terracotta potted candles (with a pinch of citronella oil) are a must-have for your summer nights outside. They will softly light up your patio while driving away mosquitos!
But first, let’s learn how to create a beautiful candle SAFELY!
Making Candles in Pots without Risks
In general, making candles has its intrinsic risks because, after all, you are playing with liquified wax at very high temperatures. It’s risky to pour liquid wax into normal containers or moulds because it can spill out on inflammable surfaces or even on your skin, causing scalds.
Using terracotta flower pots as containers adds up other risks due to the properties of the terracotta raw material: clay. Clay is a porous material and, also, quite fragile after it’s cooked – this means that the pot might have some internal cracks even if not visible.
The very first thing to do before starting making candles is to put on a well-bright table the pots we want to use and inspecting them thoughtfully. From this initial phase, we want to eliminate the pots with some visible veinings or cracks.
Now that we have selected our containers, we move to step 2: closing the drainage hole at the bottom of the container. To do so, we would need some tools, such as some Gorilla tape and a caulk gun.
Put a piece of gorilla tape at the bottom of the hole, closing it from the outside. The tape helps us to prevent the caulk from splurging out on the other side.
Now that we have our Gorilla tape protecting the outside, we want to fill the hole from the inside with the caulk gun. The sealer we will be using is the waterproof one you use in your bathtub to avoid water spilling under the tiles. We have to put it a bit to fill the little hole at the bottom of the pot – you don’t need to pour in too much. But, don’t worry if it splurges over the cavity on the inside!
We are halfway through our preparation for the container for our candle! Now, it’s time to let it rest and dry it out for an entire night. When it’s dry, we can remove the gorilla tape we put outside and look, a perfectly flat bottom!
Time to take care of the specific properties of terracotta now!
As said a little bit before, terracotta has porous and absorb liquids – that’s why we need to treat our pots properly.
To make the pots ready for our candles, we would need a bit more patience and a clay sealer.
Before applying the sealer, it’s worth wiping out any dust or dirt in the pot with a damp cloth. Then with a brush, add the first coat of sealer, first inside and then outside the pot, wait for it to dry out and apply a second coat both inside and outside.
We have been using polycrylic protective finish as sealer inspired by Wize Owl Candles Youtube channel, very worth subscribing to!
Here’s a video in which she shows how to apply the sealer.
We’ve made it! Once our second coat of applied sealer dries out, we finally have our stunning new container of terracotta ready!
Time to candle making!? No, wait! What? I know it may seem a bit too much, but it’s not a topic that can be covered superficially due to the risks mentioned above.
Picking the Right Pot
We now know how to treat any terracotta pot we want, but as any wise candle maker would say, it’s vital to make your candle burn properly to pick a container with the right size!
The right shape will make your candle burn perfectly, guaranteeing to do so with extreme safety as well.
We want to go for cylinder pots with the mouth and the bottom that share the same diameter.
Why? Because in this way the temperature is distributed evenly and doesn’t get hotter and hotter.
If you are going to use a “standard” terracotta pot with a wide mouth and narrow bottom, the temperature will be distributed unevenly, and the pot will very likely be more prone to cracks.
Another factor is the stability of the pot. By choosing a cylinder pot, our candle will gain dramatically more balance, guaranteeing a safer environment.
Last but not least, that is not related to candle making is the spot in which you are going to position and burn the candle. Let’s make sure that your candle burns in a safe place distant from people, kids, pets and other potential events that can cause hazards.
If you want to make your candle burn even better, feel free to check out this post on the tips & tricks of a burning wick!
Safety Checklist to Follow
Go ahead and take a screenshot of the list below. It’s a safety checklist that you can double-check before starting making your beautiful candles in terracotta flowers pots.
- Pick all the cylinder pots you have
- Select those visually intact (no cracks or veins)
- Close the bottom hole with tape & caulk gun
- Wipe off with a damp cloth any dust or dirt
- Pass two coats of sealer inside and outside
- Make a candle (traditional way)!
- When the candle is ready, burn it in a safe place!
Personalize the Candle’s Pot
Now that we are 100% sure that we can make terracotta based contained candles without any risk, it’s time to spice the candle up a notch!
Personalization is what differentiates a normal candle from your creation, and having a nice terracotta pot can only inspire your inner artist to paint over it or to combine it with some “earth” essential oils.
The candles in terracotta pots we made so far didn’t have a shiny look from the outside since we used a matte finish, and we didn’t think about painting the outside of the pot, but we’ll paint the next one we make.
Terracotta’s colour remind the colours of our country, Italy, the arid patio of a hot summer night in Sicily or the ceramic border of an outside pool, it’s just so inspiring thinking about it – we really would love to see what you are going to create with your thoughts and imagination.
What we did instead was selecting some essential oils and combining them to create a soothing experience for our nights chilling in the garden. We did a batch with just citronella to repel mosquitos, and then we did another one with cilantro and geranium – what a combo!