See how to make a DIY frosted cranberry candle! This homemade Christmas candle recipe uses soy wax and essential oils to create all-natural cranberry candles. Iced cranberry is a wonderful holiday scent sure to make your home feel festive and cheerful!
DIY cranberry candles
Cranberry candles are popular seasonal candles. Each year, companies bring out delicious new scents like cranberry chutney, candied cranberry, or orange cranberry. Just reading those names makes my mouth water!
My homemade cranberry candle is all-natural, thanks to soy wax and essential oils. You’ll learn different essential oil blends that emulate a lovely cranberry scent.
The candle jar is encrusted with Epsom salt for an icy look. Frosting the jar is optional. I just thought it would be fun to apply the frosty theme to the candle container.
Materials and supplies
Let’s take a closer look at the specific materials and supplies for this homemade frosted cranberry candle! Aside from red candle dye and Epsom salt, there are only a few candle-making staples here.
- Soy wax: I used Golden Brand 646 soy wax, a fantastic wax for container candles.
- Essential oils or fragrance oils to scent your DIY candles. In the next section, I’ll show you how to create your own cranberry essential oil blend.
- Red wax dye tints the wax in a deep cranberry red. Feel free to omit the dye if you prefer a white candle.
- Wick: A pre-tapped cotton wick ensures a clean burn.
- Candle container: I recommend a transparent glass jar for this project. As the candle burns, the light will flicker through the ice frosting and cast a beautiful glow.
- Epsom salt gives the candle jar a sparkly, frosted look and textured surface.
- White craft glue to adhere the salt crystals.
- Clear gloss sealant (optional) to seal the Epsom salt in place.
- Digital scales or measuring cups
- Large glass measuring jug
- Metal spoon or spatula
- Hot glue gun
- Wick holder
- Infrared thermometer
- Flat paintbrush
- Rimmed plate
Cranberry candle scent
What do cranberries smell like?
The smell of cranberries is very subtle compared to other fruits. Once cut, the berry gives off a tart, slightly fruity smell similar to the aroma of grapes.
What does frosted cranberry smell like?
Frosted cranberry is a fantasy smell because iced cranberries really have no smell at all. I would say it’s a crisp and fruity smell with hints of sweetness and tart undertones.
Bath & Body Works explain that their frosted cranberry candle smell is a mix of iced cranberries, blonde woods, red apple, and tonka bean.
Kringle Candle states that their frosted cranberry candle is a festive scent that combines mulberry, apple, cranberries, clove bud, patchouli, vanilla, cinnamon leaf, plum, and musk.
Cranberry essential oil blend
I took inspiration from different candle companies and created 3 essential oil blends that I think smell like cranberry.
First up is a crisp citrus blend, next a sweet mix that includes tonka bean, and finally, a complex scent that features peppermint for a frosty aroma. The amounts are sufficient to fragrance one 7-oz / 200 g candle.
- Tart cranberry: 80 drops pink grapefruit + 55 drops mandarin + 25 drops lemon
- Sweet cranberry: 80 drops pink grapefruit + 45 drops tangerine + 20 drops tonka bean absolute + 15 drops lemon
- Iced cranberry: 70 drops pink grapefruit + 40 drops yuzu + 15 drops peppermint + 10 drops tonka bean + 10 drops lemon
Essential oils will give you a 100% natural candle scent. However, it’s tricky to replicate the cranberry scent you know from commercial products.
Cranberry fragrance oil
Fragrances oils are another route that you can take to scent your homemade soy candle. Fragrances oils are made synthetically and offer a scent closer to commercially produced cranberry candles.
Wholesale Supplies Plus offers several scent oils that would be good fits for this project:
- Cranberry fragrance oil: The oil has a tart fruit smell with a tangy sweetness.
- Spiced cranberry oil: This scent is described as a classic holiday scent with sour cranberries, warm cinnamon, spicy clove, and citrus.
- Frosted cranberry fragrance oil smells like berries with rich plum and winter frost.
- Very Merry Cranberry is a festive blend of ripe cranberry, citrus zest, and warm woods.
- Orange cranberry fragrance oil is a crisp scent that combines the aromas of freshly squeezed oranges and zesty cranberries.
Fragrance oils are a good option if you want a frosted cranberry candle that smells like the ones from Yankee Candle or Bath & Body Works, and your candle doesn’t have to be 100% natural.
You need 0.3 oz / 8 g / 160 drops fragrance oil to scent 7-oz / 200 g soy wax (that’s one candle).
How to make cranberry candles
The easiest way to melt the wax flakes is in a large glass measuring cup in the microwave. You could also melt it in a double boiler on the stove. Let’s go over each step!
Step 1: Frost the jar
- Before you start, make sure your candle glasses are clean and dry.
- Place your hand inside the glass.
- Using a flat paintbrush, coat the sides of the glass with craft glue.
- Put the Epsom salt into a rimmed plate or shallow bowl.
- Roll the glass in the salt to coat it in crystals. Set aside to dry.
- Optionally, spray with clear gloss sealer to seal the crystals in place.
Step 2: Adhere the wick
- Add a drop of hot glue to the bottom of the wick tap and then adhere the wick firmly in the center of the container.
- Thread the wick through a wick centering tool to keep it in place as you pour and cool the candle. Set aside.
Step 3: Melt the wax
- Add the soy wax flakes and candle dye into a large measuring jug.
- Warm in the microwave in 1-minute bursts at medium-high heat until liquid.
- Stir the wax between each burst.
- Be mindful that molten wax can become hot.
Step 4: Add scent
- Add the essential oil or fragrance oil once the wax and dye are fully dissolved.
- Mix gently while adding the fragrance and stir approximately 30 times to blend the wax and oil.
Step 5: Pour candle
- Check the temperature until it reaches 140°F / 60°C. Once the wax is at 140°F / 60°C, it’s time for pouring.
- Pour the liquid wax into your candle container, leaving 0.4 in / 1 cm from the top.
- It’s important to pour slowly to avoid air bubbles.
Step 6: Set candles
- Ensure that the wick is positioned upright and centered.
- Allow your candle to set at room temperature.
Step 7: Re-pour (optional)
- Wax shrinks naturally as it cools, which may cause a sinkhole around the wick in the center of the candle.
- Don’t panic. There’s an easy fix: After 20 to 30 minutes, check if the wax has dipped or sunken. If so, reheat the leftover wax and pour it into the container to create a smooth surface.
Step 8: Trim the wick
Let your candles solidify overnight. Trim the wick to 0.2 in / 0.5 cm before lighting for the first time. Your frosted cranberry candle is now ready to be enjoyed!
Tips for success
For the best frosted cranberry candle tips and tricks, check out this list!
- Replace Epsom salt with plastic ice crystals if you live in a high humidity area. Epsom salt is best suited for dry conditions. The salt pulls water from the air and melts if exposed to moisture. Plastic ice isn’t as eco-friendly but will hold up better.
- You need a lot of dye to tint soy wax a deep red. I used several chunks per candle.
- Melt the dye chips with the wax. Wax dye chips take a while to melt, so I always add them at the beginning of the melting process.
- The recipe yields one 7-oz / 200 g candle, but the ingredients list says to use 8 oz / 225 g of wax. That’s not a mistake. I like to melt a little more wax than needed to have extra for repouring the top if required. Use leftovers to make cranberry-scented wax melts.
If you’d like to play with different scents, try one of the following essential oil ideas.
- Cranberry woods candle: 80 drops pink grapefruit + 55 drops mandarin + 35 drops cedarwood
- Vanilla cranberry candle: 70 drops grapefruit + 35 drops vanilla + 25 drops tangerine
- Cranberry chutney candle: 75 drops grapefruit + 50 drops vanilla + 35 drops sweet orange + 15 drops clove bud
- Cinnamon cranberry candle: 80 drops grapefruit + drops 40 drops cinnamon bark + 30 drops tangerine + 10 drops lemon
- Cranberry mandarin candle: 80 drops pink grapefruit + 55 drops mandarin + 20 drops vanilla + 12 drops tonka bean
- Cranberry peppermint candle: 90 drops grapefruit + 50 drops peppermint + 25 drops tangerine
Frosted Cranberry Candle FAQ
How many candles does the recipe yield?
The quantities make one 7-oz / 200 g frosted cranberry candle. You can easily double or triple the amounts to create more iced cranberry candles.
Is frosted cranberry a winter scent?
Yes, I think iced cranberry is a lovely winter fragrance. It’s not your typical, spice-heavy holiday smell but has a delightful and refreshing note.
Is there cranberry essential oil?
No, you won’t find cranberry essential oil, only cranberry seed oil. Cranberry seed oil (or cranberry oil) is a golden-hued oil made from cold-pressing cranberry seeds.
The oil is classified as a carrier oil, not an essential oil. Cranberry seed oil has a faint, sweet smell that isn’t strong enough for scenting candles.
Can you put cranberries in candles?
No, you shouldn’t put fresh or dried cranberries in candles because they could catch fire when you light the candle.
What happens if Epsom salt gets into the candle?
Nothing much. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt might turn the flame white temporarily but has no negative effect.
Can I use sugar instead of Epsom salt?
No, I don’t recommend sugar as a substitute for Epsom salt. Sugar will dissolve when warmed and create a sticky mess.
- Store: Store your DIY frosted cranberry candle protect from direct sunlight in a dark, cool place at room temperature.
- Shelf life: The soy candle will last for up to a year. Just note that the Epsom salt will dry out and turn white after a while, which still looks pretty.
- 8-oz / 225 g soy wax flakes (I used Golden Brands 464 soy wax)
- 3 chunks of red candle dye (I used "Wine Red" from this set)
- 80 drops grapefruit essential oil
- 55 drops mandarin essential oil
- 25 drops lemon essential oil
- 1 pre-tapped cotton wick
- 1 x 7-oz / 200 ml heatproof container (I used a recycled glass candle holder)
- white craft glue
- Epsom salt
- clear gloss sealant (optional)
- Frost the jar. Before you start, make sure your candle glasses are clean and dry. Place your hand inside the glass. Using a flat paintbrush, coat the sides of the glass with craft glue. Put the Epsom salt into a rimmed plate or shallow bowl. Roll the glass in the salt to coat it in crystals. Set aside to dry. Optionally, spray with clear gloss sealer to seal the crystals in place.
- Adhere the wick. Add a drop of hot glue to the bottom of the wick tap and then adhere the wick firmly in the center of the container. Thread the wick through a wick centering tool to keep it in place as you pour and cool the candle. Set aside.
- Melt the wax. Add the soy wax flakes and candle dye into a large measuring jug. Warm in the microwave in 1-minute bursts at medium-high heat until liquid. Stir the wax between each burst. Be mindful that molten wax can become hot.
- Add scent. Add the essential oil or fragrance oil once the wax and dye are fully dissolved. Mix gently while adding the fragrance and stir approximately 30 times to blend the wax and oil.
- Pour candle. Check the temperature until it reaches 140°F / 60°C. Once the wax is at 140°F / 60°C, it's time for pouring. Pour the liquid wax into your candle container, leaving 0.4 in / 1 cm from the top. It's important to pour slowly to avoid air bubbles.
- Set candles. Ensure that the wick is positioned upright and centered. Allow your candle to set at room temperature.
- Re-pour (optional). Wax shrinks naturally as it cools, which may cause a sinkhole around the wick in the center of the candle. Don't panic. There's an easy fix: After 20 to 30 minutes, check if the wax has dipped or sunken. If so, reheat the leftover wax and pour it into the container to create a smooth surface.
- Trim the wick. Let your candles solidify overnight. Trim the wick to 0.2 in / 0.5 cm before lighting for the first time. Your frosted cranberry candle is now ready to be enjoyed!