How to Melt Wax Using a Double Boiler

A double boiler is a technique that involves using two pots, one inside the other, to gently heat a substance without direct contact with the heat source. The lower pot contains water, which heats the upper pot but does not allow the temperature to rise above the boiling point of the water. Thus, the wax in the upper pan cannot overheat. This indirect heating method ensures even and gentle heat distribution, making it ideal for melting wax in candlemaking.

How to Make a Double Boiler

To create a double boiler for candlemaking, you’ll need the following materials:

  • A large pot or saucepan
  • A heat-resistant bowl or smaller pot that fits snugly inside the larger pot
  • A candy or cooking thermometer
  • Water
  • Towel (optional)

Here’s how to set up your double boiler:

  1. Fill the larger pot with 1-2 inches of water.
  2. Place the smaller heatproof bowl or pot inside the larger one, making sure it does not touch the bottom of the larger pot. If the smaller pot touches the bottom, place an old towel in the water between the pots.

Remember to always keep safety in mind by using oven mitts or pot holders when handling hot materials. Make sure that the bottom pot does not run out of water. Especially if you use a towel between pots.

Melting the Wax Using a Double Boiler

Once you’ve set up your double boiler and chosen your wax, follow these steps to melt the wax:

  1. Place the wax in the smaller pot or bowl, breaking it into smaller pieces if necessary.
  2. Heat the water in the larger pot on medium-low heat.
  3. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer, ensuring it doesn’t exceed the recommended melting point for your specific wax type.
  4. Stir the wax gently as it melts to ensure even heating.
  5. Once fully melted, carefully add colorants and scents as desired, following manufacturer recommendations for quantities.
  6. Pouring and Setting Your Candles
Melting wax using double boiler

If you don’t really want to risk your favorite pots, you can always melt the wax with a wax melter instead.

Before pouring your candles, prepare your mold or container by securing the wick in the center. Pour the melted wax slowly and steadily, avoiding air bubbles or uneven surfaces. To set the wick, use a wick-centering tool or a makeshift alternative, like a pencil or chopstick. Allow the candles to cool and harden at room temperature for at least 24 hours before trimming the wick and lighting.

Common Double Boiler Issues

As a beginner, you may encounter challenges like uneven surfaces, air bubbles, or wick displacement. Don’t be discouraged! Practice makes perfect, and with time and patience, you’ll master the art of candlemaking. Here are some solutions to common issues you may face:

  • Air bubbles: Air bubbles can form if the wax is poured too quickly or if it’s stirred too vigorously while melting. To avoid air bubbles, gently stir it as it melts and pour the wax slowly. If you notice air bubbles after pouring, use a toothpick or skewer to release them before the wax cools and hardens.
  • Uneven surfaces: Uneven surfaces can be caused by pouring the wax too quickly or at an incorrect temperature. To remedy this, pour the wax slowly and steadily, ensuring that it’s at the optimal pouring temperature for your specific wax type. If you still encounter uneven surfaces after the wax has cooled, use a heat gun on a low setting to gently heat the surface until it evens out.

Remember that practice and patience are key to mastering the art of candlemaking.


Using a double boiler ensures even heat distribution and prevents scorching. By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be on your way to creating beautiful, high-quality candles. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different wax types, scents, and colors to make your creations truly unique. Share your candlemaking journey with others and join a community of fellow enthusiasts to learn, grow, and inspire.


Is there a difference between a double boiler for chocolate and for wax?

Yes, there is a difference between a double boiler for chocolate and for melting wax. When you use this method for wax, the top pan or bowl should be partially submerged in water. Wax has a higher melting point than chocolate, and there is usually much more of it. So, you need tighter contact of the upper pan with the water than just steam.

Can I use a glass bowl as the top part of a double boiler for melting wax?

Yes, you can use a heat-resistant glass bowl as the top part of a double boiler, as long as it fits snugly inside the larger pot and touches the water. Make sure the glass bowl is specifically designed to withstand high temperatures.

Is a double boiler the only method for melting wax?

While a double boiler is a popular and effective method for melting wax, there is an alternative – a dedicated wax melter.

Can I use a double boiler to melt wax for other crafts, like wax seals or encaustic painting?

Yes, a double boiler can be used to melt wax for various applications, including wax seals and encaustic painting. The gentle, even heat provided by the double boiler ensures consistent results across different crafts.

How do I clean my double boiler after melting wax?

To clean a double boiler after melting wax, wait for the wax to cool and harden. Then, use a plastic spatula or scraper to remove the solidified wax from the pot or bowl. Wipe the remaining residue with a paper towel before washing the pot or bowl with warm, soapy water.

Can I melt wax and mix in additives simultaneously in a double boiler?

It is best to melt the wax first, then carefully add colorants and scents after it has fully liquefied. This ensures the even distribution of additives and reduces the risk of overheating or altering the properties of the wax.