How to Make a Beer Candle

  • 01 of 09

    Candle or Beer?

    beer candle
    Mindy Schiller

    A candle that looks like a foaming mug of beer is a fun and creative project to try. Actually, beer candles are just one of the many different styles of candles that are designed to look like food. From pies to fruit to cinnamon buns to ice cream sundaes, if it's edible, someone has surely made a candle look-alike of it! We love this project for St. Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest, or anytime of year for beer lovers!

    Gather Your Materials

    • A glass beer mug
    • Candle gel (we used Penreco's MD Gel, Medium Density)
    • Standard paraffin wax (we used IGI 1343, but pretty much any pillar or votive wax will do)
    • An appropriate wick–we used a 51-32-18z in this 3" container–some companies make wicks specially made for gel. Because gel melts slower than wax, you may need to use a larger wick that you would in a paraffin candle. Start small, and test, test, test!
    • Fragrance and/or color as desired
    • A wire whisk
    • Standard candle making equipment
    • A basic understanding of candle making safety
    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Prepare the Beer Candle Mug

    Mindy Schiller

    Prepare the beer candle mug like you would any other basic container candle by dabbing a bit of hot glue, or using a wick sticker, and centering the wick into the mug.

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Melt the Gel

    Mindy Schiller

    Put the gel into the melt pot and start to heat it on the stove or your portable burner. You can do this in one of two ways: direct heat or double boiler.

    The direct heat option will be much faster, but you must use a traditional cooking pot. The metal pitchers sold at craft stores meant for melting wax should NOT be used except in a double boiler set up. They cannot stand up to direct heat.

    Note: Melting gel is one of the VERY few times when you'll heat directly on the stove. Because the gel needs to get to about 200 degrees to melt, using a double boiler will take a while–up to an hour. If using the direct heat option, you need to be extra extra extra careful!

    Keep stirring the gel, and don't leave it unattended for even a few seconds! Gel wax takes a while to melt; just be patient.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Add Fragrance and/or Color

    Mindy Schiller

    Once the gel has reached about 200-210 degrees, keep stirring until it is completely melted. Once it's all melted, add your color. I like to use liquid candle dyes because they stay clear in the gel. But you only need a little teeny tiny bit! To this gel (which was a pale yellow to begin with), I added one tiny drop of orange candle dye. If in doubt, dip the tip of a toothpick into the dye, and stir it into the gel that way...tiny bit by bit.

    Stir well and add your fragrance oil. While there are indeed beer fragrance oils, I generally either scent my beer candles with some sort of spice or citrus scent...or leave them unscented. Be sure that your fragrance oil is non-polar! How to test your fragrance oil for polarity.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Pour the Gel

    Mindy Schiller
    Once you've got your color and scent well stirred in, pour the gel slowly into the beer mug. Since we don't mind the air bubbles in the gel, I'm not going to worry about pre-heating the mug - but if I was doing say a "wine" candle - or some other gel candle project, I would pre-heat the mug in the oven or with a heat gun.

    Remember to leave about 3/4" of an inch at the top for the "foam."

    While you can start the next step right away, you want to wait until the top of the gel has firmed up enough to support the foam...which will take about 10 minutes or so.

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Melt the Paraffin for the Foam

    Mindy Schiller

    Melt a few ounces of standard good old candle wax in your melt pot. You should use a double boiler set up for this step.

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Whip the Wax

    Mindy Schiller
    Once it's all melted, remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to cool. When it has cooled enough to start to form a skin over the top, whip it with a wire whisk like you would beat eggs. It will soon get frothy and white and opaque.
    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Pour the Foam

    Mindy Schiller
    Once the gel in the mug has firmed up enough to support the foam, gently remove the wick bar (being careful not to move the wick out of the center) and pour or spoon the foam onto the top of the candle. It's ok if you slosh a little over the edge - good beer foam often does that! Look out Starbucks!
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Enjoy the Finished Beer Candle

    Mindy Schiller

    Let everything cool and harden–and enjoy your candle!

    You'll get best results from the candle if you wait at least a day or two to burn it. But like we said earlier, many people keep these "food" candles just for decoration, not for burning.