Friday, May 25, 2012

What to do with used up candles...

I love having a burning candle in my kitchen.  The way our home is layed out, the scent from that one candle wafts through the entire house.  The only frustration?  When the candle wick is gone, but the wax isn't used up.  Don't you hate that?  I just couldn't stand throwing away a not-completely used up seemed so wasteful.  Pretty containers and plenty of wax at the bottom of those containers...there just had to be a way to use them.

New Candles, New Tarts, and come extra containers!
I've shown you some of the things I've done with empty candle containers here.  I still love my little q-tip and cotton ball containers.   Still, those didn't address the waste of unused wax.

Love this Target candle, but I hated that I couldn't get to the
bottom of it!  That is a lot of wax!
I had a lightbulb moment when I was walking through Michael's and saw wicks for people who make candles from scratch.  I started saving all my "used up" candles.  Once I had quite a few (basically an entire winter's worth), I got to work.

The fruits of my labor doing it the hard way!
(Oh, and you could just chip the old wax out, but that is slow and painful...still, I am a slow learner, so I did have some of that, too!)

This still needs to be melted and get a wick!
First, I put the glass containers in a sauce pan with water that hit about half way up the candle containers and set it to boil.  Don't use your microwave for this step!!!  The wicks have a metal anchor and you will ruin your microwave!!!

See how the candle wax has melted and turned clear?
As I melted each candle remnant, I transferred the liquid wax into one of two types containers.  First, for those candles where I had a good amount of wax of the same scent, I transferred the liquid wax to a clean container.

This is the liquid from three "used up" candles.  They combined to make half a
new candle for the price of one wick and some of my time..
 Then, I added a wick, wrapping the excess around a chopstick to hold it in place while the wax cooled.
This is after the first liquid wax has been poured in.  I didn't worry about
debris in the wax, but you could strain with cheesecloth if it bothers you.
Once the wax was cooled, I trimmed the wick, and had a new candle. (Or, as you can see, I had a lot of new candles!)

The fruits of my afternoon's labors...
For those candles where I only had a small amount of wax remaining, I poured the liquid wax into silicon cupcake liners.  (You can do paper, but it seeps, so use two or three liners for each tart.)

A tart!  The oils in the candle make it easy to pull the liner off the cooled wax.
 Once these cooled, I had new tarts for my tart warmer.

One other thing, to do this, you'll need a clean container ready to become a candle before you've even melted your first bit of wax.  If you don't have an old one handy, try using a mason jar or some other little jar you've got laying around.  You can even use votive holders.  This is really a frugal project.

A note:  Once you've poured all the liquid wax from your container, most likely you'll be left with something that looks like this.  While it is still warm, it is easy to use a long fork to pop the old wick base out of the container and it will bring most of its adhesive with it.  If you're planning to reuse the container as a candle, then you're done.  If you're going to use the container as something else, you'll need to use Goo Gone or some other adhesive remover to get the last little bits of glue.
The used up wick is held in place by adhesive you'll want to remove
before you repurpose the container, but not if it will be another candle.

 So, don't throw away your old a few and get more life out of them and have a little fun while you're at it.  You can even make layered candles if you'd like...just cool your layers before adding the new wax. 


Charming said...

omg cool i'm definitely going to have to buy bigger candles in the future so i can do this.

Erin said...

It is definitely worth it...