How to Make Tea Cup Candles

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Making vintage candles is a charming hobby. In this guide, I show you how to make tea cup candles using beeswax. What a wonderful way to recycle and repurpose old cups from thrift of second-hand stores. And, beeswax is a natural clean burning wax – just perfect for candle making. They are both charming and useful.

Homemade tea cup candle with vintage design.

Of course, there are many fun ways to make beeswax candles. However, there is something special about giving old, elegant mismatched tea cups new life.

Beeswax Tea Cup Candles DIY

The beauty of making beeswax tea cup candles is that you will likely not have a complete “set” of the same kind of cups. Instead, expect an eclectic combination of colors, styles and sizes. This makes each one special.

Isn’t it wonderful to give new life to these old items that seemed to be at the end of their purpose. They also serve as a link to the past when you see patterns that remind you of old dishes that your grandmother used.

Materials Needed

You need only a few materials:

  • Vintage Tea Cups
  • Wax – beeswax ( optional -coconut oil – soy)
  • Wick
Vintage tea cups and braided wick with small bars of beeswax.

Choosing Tea Cups

You can make a candle in any type of tea cup. But, a cup with a larger opening works best. This allows the wick to breathe and promotes better flame.

Keep in mind – the larger the cup, the more wax you will need. A deeper cup (even with a smaller diameter) will work. However, as the candle is burned – over time, reaching down into the cup to light the wick may be a problem.

Shop around and you should be able to find some very inexpensive options. Preferably with a wider top than bottom.

Candle Wax

Bright and clean burning, beeswax has been used for making dipped beeswax candles for hundreds of years. You can purchase beeswax in chunks, bars or pellets.

If you have wax from your own beehives, or buy it from a local beekeeper – be sure to filter or clean your beeswax before making your project. Even if the wax looks clean, it may contain substances that will clog a wick and cause poor burning.

Beeswax or a Blend

I prefer pure beeswax most of the time. However, when working with container candles – pure beeswax can be a bit touchy (more on that below). The wax must be very clean of left-over honey, bee propolis, dirt, etc. 

If you do not have much experience with beeswax, I suggest you try a blend. Make a tea cup candle with only beeswax.

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Then, make another with a blend of 50% beeswax and 50% coconut oil or soy wax. It will still be a beautiful tea cup candle but you face fewer burning challenges. Compare the two and decide which you like best. There is no wrong answer.

Choosing a Wick

The wick is one of the most important parts of a candle but they are often over looked. Especially, when working with beeswax – the proper wick size must be used. Beeswax burns how and requires a larger wick than conventional candles.

Braided cotton wicks work best – but what size do you need? Well, that depends on the size (width) of your candle (or tea cup). 

For the cups in this project that are around 3 – 3 1/2” wide – I am using a size 6 wick. Size 7 would be better but they are hard to find.

Pay attention to wick sizes – size 6 is not the same as 6/0. In most cases, if you read closely – wick manufacturers will provide guidance on the best size.

Embellishments (Color or Scent) Optional

Plain natural wax makes beautiful vintage tea cup candles. However, you can add wax colorants if you wish – just follow the directions on the type of colorant or candle dye that you choose.

To add scent, crafters can use essential oils or fragrance oil that is especially designed for candles. When using essential oils, I use about 30 drops per 5 oz of beeswax.

Gently heat your beeswax until it is in liquid form, it should not be overheated. Mixing beeswax with soy wax or coconut oil is often a practice used for a smoother burning candle.

The Process

Full instructions below but here is a brief overview of the process of making a candle in a tea cup.

1. After choosing your tea cup, measure the diameter of the top. This helps you choose the correct wick size to use.

2. Safely melt beeswax in a double boiler setup (ideal). Now, you may choose to “pickle your wick”. I don’t always do this but things turn out better when I do.

Cut pieces of wick long enough to reach down into the bottom of the tea cup with a couple of inches extra. Put the wicks in the pot of melted wax and leave them there a couple of minutes.

Use skewers or similar to remove the wicks from the hot wax and lay them on a paper to cool. Gently straighten them.

3. Once the wicks are cool. Hang them from a wooden skewer or (chop stick) down into the candle. Be sure the wick reaches to the bottom of the cup.

You can use a clothespin to hold the wick in place. Or if you pickled the wick – you can wrap one end around the skewer to hold it.

4. Slowly fill your tea cup with melted wax. Leave to cool. Once the candle is cooled you can remove the skewer at the top and trim the wick to 1/4″

Expert Tips

Remember, I said that pure beeswax can be a bit testy? I think it is worth the effort but be prepared for a few challenges. The most common problems experienced are: cracking and tunneling.


It is not unusual for a beeswax container candle to have cracks on the surface once it has cooled. This happens because beeswax shrinks as it cools. It is a hard wax with many wonderful properties but cracking is unsightly.

You may not always be able to prevent it. However, avoiding over-heating your beeswax when melting. This can help reduce cracking.

Another idea is to make your candle in a warm room where the wax is allowed to cool slowly. Fast cooling of hot wax always make this problem worse.

Pouring melted beeswax into cup to cover up cracked top.

However, if this happens – don’t panic, you can fix it. Either melt more wax and pour enough on top to cover up the crack – or use a heat gun or similar to melt the surface of the existing candle so that the liquid flows into the cracks.


Tunneling is one of the most aggravating parts of candle making. When this happens, the candle burns downward in a column around the wick. It is unsightly and wasteful as much of the wax is not used.

Tunneling around the wick in a beeswax tea cup candle.

The two most common reasons for tunneling are:

  • wrong wick size
  • improper burning

This is another reason to test your wick size and wax with one test candle before making a lot of them. You may need to make adjustments.

As for improper burning ( I am very guilty of this) – avoid burning your container candle for short periods of time. Ideally, let the tea cup candle burn for one hour for each inch of diameter.

You want a large pool of melted wax to form across the top of the cup before extinguishing the flame. This encourages the melt pool to continue to be large as the candle burns down.

More Ideas

Today, many crafters use molds to craft beeswax candles into fun shapes. In a way that is what we are doing with our DIY tea cup candles ( we are just leaving them in the mold) 😉

And, the simplest way of making a beeswax candle is by rolling sheets. Even the kids can do these.

If you are needing a simple yet elegant light for an outdoor summer party, learn how to make citronella candles with beeswax in cute clay pots.

Tall and short tea cup candle with beeswax.

A Final Word

It is so easy to make these amazing tea cup candles with beeswax (or a blend of your choice). They make great gifts. Place them on a matching or complimentary saucer – glue in place and add a ribbon. Now, you are ready for the next birthday or bridal shower.

Lit beeswax candle in an old cup.

DIY Tea Cup Candle Tutorial

Charlotte Anderson @ Carolina Honeybees, LLC
Be a part of the recycling generation. Bring vintage tea cup back to life with some beeswax and a little wick. An elegant way to reuse dishes that were nearing the end of their usefulness.
5 from 1 vote

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  • 3 tea cups
  • 18″ cotton wick size 6
  • 1 pound beeswax
  • 3 wooden skewers or similar


  • Cut the required amount of wick for each candle. Mine measured about 6″. You need enough to reach the bottom of the cup and a couple of inches to wrap around the wooden sticks at the top.
    Sometimes, I just wrap the wick around the skewer – sometimes I add a clothespin to hold the wick in place.
    Measuring wick for cup candle and setting the holder.
  • Begin to melt your beeswax in the double boiler or other safe method. Take the wicks off the cups and pull them straight.
    Drop them into the melted wax and let the air inside bubble out. This is called – “pickling the wick”.
    After a minute or so, use a skewer to remove the wicks from the hot wax. Be careful, they will be hot but they do cool quickly. Stretch them out straight to cool.
    Sections of cotton candle wick in melted beeswax.
  • Set the cool wick back into the cup with it held in place at the top. Be sure to have the wick in the center of the cup.
    When enough beeswax is melted to fill your cup – it is time to pour. Fill the cup with melted wax to just below the lip within a quarter of an inch of cup top.
    Melted beeswax in teacup with wick held in place with skewer and clothespin.
  • Leave tea cups on a level table to cool and set. Once they are solid, remove the skewer at the top and cut off the excess wicking. Before burning, trim the wick to about 1/4 inch.
    Old teacup filled with beeswax for candle ready for wick trim.


Expert Tips
  • don’t overheat your beeswax – be safe
  • use the right size wick for the diameter of your cup
  • when burning – be sure to burn the candle until a large wax pool has formed before putting it out
Learn more about bees and using products from the hive!Join me on Pinterest – @carolinahoneyb

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