Handmade Gifts – Bayberry Candles

When my sister and I owned the herbal gift shop, selling bayberry candles at Christmas time was a big hit. They smelled really great, and we offered a little “good luck” tag (shown below) to go along with the candle. 

Bayberry Candles – For “Good Luck” in the New Year

Bayberry candles were made from real berries in Colonial times and were considered "Good Luck." Learn how to make them and the special good luck saying.

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History states that the early settlers first made their candles from tallow which was in short supply. Then someone discovered the waxy berries on the Northern Bayberry or Myrica pensylvanica. found all over the coastline.  

by Richard Webb

Myrica pensylvanica – photo by Richard Webb

This native deciduous shrub was also very fragrant.When boiled in water the berries sink to the bottom and the scented wax floats to the top. The fragrant wax also burned much cleaner than the original tallow based candles. The only problem was that it took many, many berries, as much as 15 pounds to produce one pound of wax. Therefore, the candles were often saved for special occasions like Christmas and New Years.

You don’t see many real bayberry candles on the market, though some foragers and homesteaders still make them. Instead, you can purchase some bayberry fragrance oil and make your own bayberry candles for fun, and “good luck” at the holidays.

The Materials

4 oz candle tins
candle wicks
bayberry fragrance oil
candle pitcher or large can
wax thermometer
an old pot


Most of the supplies came from candlescience.com. They have a great FAQ section that really helps you determine how much you need. 

All in all, I think I ended up spending around $180 and made 60 candle tins, which comes out to $3 a candle. This also included the cute labels I bought from swankpress.com.

A couple of tips:

  • Use a bit of hot glue to hold the wicks  in place in the center of the tin.
  • Once your wax melts, add the fragrance oil around 185 degrees F before pouring into tins.
  • I used straws with a slit cut in the middle to hold up the wicks and keep them straight.
  • Once they are completely cool, trim the wicks.

Bayberry candles were made from real berries in Colonial times and were considered "Good Luck." Learn how to make them and the special good luck saying.

The tins worked so well for this project and made a great fun affordable holiday gift.



About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. This is so neat! I love this idea and making candles actually sounds really relaxing. Might be a perfect addition to my herb jars for the neighbors this year. So in this herb shop did you make a lot of the products you all sold? Sounds really neat I just love small business and this town we’ll be moving too is based on small business which makes me smile.

    • Hi Carole,

      Our shop was a mix of herbal fragrance and decor and herbal health. My sister was big into healing and I was into gardening and fragrance. We did make some of the products, mostly, wreaths and some sprays but the majority was purchased. So glad you liked the candles. They are fun.


  2. These candles are beautiful. And love the packaging. 🙂

  3. So cute and I love the poem on the tag. I need to get started on these things for Christmas!

  4. I’ve never been brave enough to make candles… I don’t know why! lol. When you consider that 3$ / candle is dirt cheap for a nice one, it really does make a person think they should try! Thanks for linking up at share the wealth sunday!

  5. What a great idea for homemade holiday gifts! I love the poem and I bet they do smell amazing. Pinned and sharing. Thank you for linking up at Family Joy Blog Link-Up Party this week. We hope to see you back again starting Sunday at 12 EST.

  6. Thanks for joining the #InspirationSpotlight party. Shared

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