Wednesday, February 2, 2011

recycling candles

I just love to burn candles.  There's something so warm and romantic about that tiny little flame.

But what do you do with the leftovers?  Whether it's the little bit of wax left over after the wick has gone out, or whether it's a candle that just refuses to light the way it should (like the ones pictured below) you just throw them away?

I've been practicing a more economical method of candle recycling for quite some time and thought I'd show it to you.  It's actually become a hobby of mine.  I just love turning candle "trash" into new creations!

Here's what I use...a jar for melting the wax back down, a candle burner ($5 at Wal-Mart, Michaels, or other fine establishments), candle wicks (you can buy these at any craft store), and a nicer jar to hold my new candle.  The nicer jar actually used to be a candle!  Yes, I recycle the jars, too.

Melt some leftover wax in a jar on your candle burner.

When the wax is good and melted, place a wick at the bottom of your nicer jar.

Holding the wick lightly so that it stays centered, pour the melted wax into the jar.  Continue holding the wick for a few moments until the wax slightly hardens.  Let this sit for at least an hour to cool.

Continue melting wax, pouring it in, and letting it harden until your jar is full.  If you use different colors, you'll have a lovely, layered new candle!

What if you have a small amount of a bunch of different colors?  Here's another method of putting those to good use.

Chop up your different colored wax into smaller bits.

Clean out an empty carton (such as a carton of cream or milk) and place a wick in the bottom.  Pour a small amount of melted wax into the bottom to hold the wick into place. Let that cool for a few minutes.

Dump all of the small bits of colored wax around the wick.

Pour some melted wax (plain white is best) into the carton, letting it work its way around the smaller bits of wax.  You might want to tap the carton slightly as you do this to ensure that the wax gets all the way down.

Let the candle sit over night to harden.  The next morning, peel off the carton!

Voila!  A beautiful and interesting pillar candle...

Next time you have leftover wax sitting around, don't just throw it away!  Make yourself a new candle creation and enjoy your favorite candles a second time around.


  1. I should do this! I have a bunch of candles that have been burned down to nothing (and for whatever reason have not been thrown away.) Thanks for posting this craft!

  2. Genius! ANd lovely photos to show the process :)

  3. I really appreciate this post. i LOVE candles and couldn't agree more with you. I will definitely be doing this!!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a great idea!! I don't use a lot of candles, but I'll remember this for when I do.

  5. I *love* the pillar candle idea - I wouldn't have thought of that. I often use candle stubs to make fire starters for camping; I take a cardboard egg carton and pack the cups full of dryer lint, then pour the melted wax on top. They work *way* better than the fire starters you can buy at the campground :)

  6. Great idea, and I like the tutorial. I think I can gather up quite a few candle 'leftovers.'

  7. Wow! That's great! I always wondered what to do with those leftover candle bits...

  8. I have a bunch of candles that will be wonderful remade! Yea - I am going to use them as Christmas gifts! (someone pinned you that is how I found this post!)

  9. This is superb. The idea and concept are so amazing that i also want to try this on my home decorations.

  10. This is a great idea! I've been throwing my old candle stumps away for years...Now i'll just have to start a pile and when it builds up, I'll have some candles to make for myself. What a great idea! Thanks for the awesome post ;)

  11. Another thing you can do is to use an old crockpot, set on low, to melt candle wax. If you don't have enough to make candles, add some paraffin. If you can't find wicks, you can use cotton of the type used to crochet dishcloths. Tie a small, metal nut to the cotton yarn to weight it down, then drape the cotton yarn over a pencil set across the top of the jar to hold it in place while the wax hardens. We live in the country and have power outages during stormy/winter weather, so the candles are very handy.


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