How to Make the Perfect Autumn Candle Using Essential Oils

Autumn candles

Knitwear, crunchy leaves and the promise of sparkly nights out and cosy nights in. There’s something magical about this time of year. So why not ring it in by making your own seasonally-scented candle?

Autumn is full of evocative aromas: mulling spice, piny forests, woodsmoke and cinnamon. Plenty of fragrance oils capture the mood (see Cinnamon Apple, Ginger Spice, and Pumpkin Spice), making them a great addition to any candle making kit. But it’s fun to blend your own mix of natural essential oils to whip up your own bespoke scent. Plus, many essential oils have mood-lifting properties, which are always welcome as we head into winter.

But where to start? When blending oils, it’s wise to be clued up on which will go well together. Luckily, there’s a formula. Need a recap? Head to our handy blending guide. Essentially, in order to create the perfect autumn candle, go for woody, spicy and citrus scents. Select one base note, a middle note and a top note.

The base note

Your base note should be woody and warming, evoking bonfires and crisp woodland walks. Cedarwood atlas is a grounding fragrance, distilled straight from the cedar tree. It’s earthy and sweet, and as pure as it gets, so it will transport you straight to the forest. For a more coniferous scent, try frankincense, juniper or fir, which call to mind a dreamy alpine scene.

The middle note

Next, for the middle note, some spice, which will provide that snugness we all crave in the chilly season. Ginger is a fitting choice and known for its zingy aroma with faint hints of lemon and pepper. As the season of common colds and viruses begins, ginger can also clear the airways. Plus, it’s thought to relieve tension and help with a general sense of wellbeing.

The nostalgic spice choice is cinnamon bark oil. Its familiar association with baking swirls up a hefty dose of childhood memories, and the sweetness is a mood boost after a long cold day. Alternatively, you could try clove leaf oil, which is a renowned stress-reducer, invokes the festive season and creates instant spicy drama.

The top note

At the top, add some citrus. Energising bergamot is made from cold-pressed orange peel. Its distinctive tang contains aromatic floral notes for a natural pick-me-up. And it’s known to provide a calming effect, perfect for the autumn wind down.

Christmas fans wanting to kick off celebrations early could substitute it for sweet orange oil. The tangerine sweetness will bring back memories of hurriedly opening stockings. And light orange essence promotes relaxation and warmth, the icing on the cake for your autumn candle.

When blending essential oils, it can be helpful to remember the 30, 50, 20 rule. Put simply, you need to mix 30% top note, 50% middle note and 20% base note oils. So if you use 10 drops in total, you’d need three drops of a top note, five of a middle note and two of a base note. If you want to use more than one oil per note, make sure you still add up to the correct percentages.

Once you’ve chosen your scents, it’s time to make your candle. First, gather your tools and ingredients.

Making beeswax candles

What you’ll need

  • 500g soy wax flakes
  • 30 drops x cedar atlas oil (or woody scent of your choice)
  • 50 drops x cinnamon (or spicy scent of your choice)
  • 20 drops x bergamot (or citrus scent of your choice)
  • 1g candle dye, optional
  • 3 glass jars or candle moulds
  • 3 x 100m wicks
  • 3 x fondue sticks or chopsticks
  • Blu Tack
  • Double boiler pot or bain marine


  1. For candle moulds: Thread the wicks through the hole at the base, and seal with Blu Tack. Keep them straight by tying them to a fondue stick resting on the top (which will become the bottom of the candle). For jars: Stick the wicks to the centre of the bottom of the jars and straighten them up. You might want to secure them by tying the top to a stick resting on the top of the jar.
  2. In a double boiler pot, melt the wax over a medium heat. Once it is liquid, remove the top pan (or bowl from the bain marie) and set aside for a few minutes to cool a little, but not set.
  3. If you’re using a colour dye, stir it in at this point. One gram will give you a deep shade, so if you want a more subtle colour, use less.
  4. Next, add your essential oil blend to the melted wax. You can adapt the amount you use according to how strong or light you want the aroma to be.
  5. Mix well and pour into the jars or moulds, making sure the wicks stay as straight as possible. Leave a little hot wax in the pan to top up the candle once it’s set as it’s likely to shrink a little.
  6. Leave for three hours to partially set. Reheat the leftover wax and top up the mould or jar.
  7. Leave for 24 hours to fully set. If using a mould, the candle should have shrunk sufficiently to ease it out, but if it’s stuck to the sides, try briefly dipping it into hot water to dislodge it.

Tips when candle-making

Try using glue dots to stick wicks to the bottom of the jars. If you don’t have any, you could put a dot of hot wax in the bottom, pressing it into place using a chopstick or fondue stick.

Always cut your wick longer than you think it needs to be. You can always trim it down once the candle is set.

Don’t forget to put newspaper down or use a craft mat when pouring wax – it’s a messy business and wax is tricky to remove from surfaces.

Other autumn essential oil blends you could try

  • Orange + cinnamon + clove + ginger
  • Clove + nutmeg + cinnamon
  • Spearmint + eucalyptus
  • Orange + ginger + cinnamon
  • Cardamom + cinnamon + cloves + ginger