Scented holiday candles seem festive and wonderful in theory, but the truth is, they’re often kind of nauseating. Conventional candles are also usually made with paraffin wax, derived from petroleum and known to be toxic. The artificial fragrances used are just as bad, as they consist of an undisclosed cocktail of chemicals and can be highly allergenic. There’s no need for all that when DIY scented candles are so easy, not to mention fun to make.

Try this blend with a top note of peppermint, middle note of pine and base note of vanilla for a truly sublime holiday candle that’s not so sugary sweet. (Not a vanilla person? Replace the vanilla extract with 20 drops of frankincense essential oil.) It’ll fill your home with holiday cheer and bring lots of joy to whomever is lucky enough to receive it as a gift. Seriously, who doesn’t love a one-of-a-kind, handmade treasure that’s also functional?

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • Wick
  • Penny
  • Pencil or chopstick
  • 1 1/3 cup soy wax
  • 30 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 50 drops pine essential oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12-ounce heat-resistant glass jar


  1. Tie one end of a wick to a penny, with the knot centered on the penny.
  2. Cut the wick so that it’s long enough to let the penny sit flat at the bottom of the jar, while the other end of the wick can be tied to a pencil or chopstick that will lay across the rim of the jar to keep the wick centered, straight and taut as the wax cools. Tie the other end of the wick to the pencil or chopstick.
  3. Melt wax in a double boiler over medium heat until just melted, then remove from heat.
  4. Add essential oils and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly to combine.
  5. Pour a tiny bit of the melted wax into the center of the bottom of the jar. Quickly place the penny on top of the wax to stick before it dries, and lay the pencil across the rim of the jar.
  6. Slowly pour the rest of the wax into the jar, keeping the wick as centered as possible. Fill the jar to about one inch below the opening.
  7. Let the wax to dry for one to two days. Once dry, cut the wick to ½ inch.
  8. Light it up and enjoy!

About the Author

Dana is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer and editor with a focus on eco lifestyle and beauty—from vegan cooking to natural, cruelty-free skin care. Also a wildlife enthusiast, naturalist, and advocate for conservation and environmental stewardship.