At Home DIY : Upcycle Your Old Candles!

by Maddie Vlismas

While we're all waiting quietly for the world to start up again, we've noticed that we have an abundance of spare time on our hands now that we're no longer commuting or going out in general. Never one to shy away from a project, we've already tackled all the big DIY's on our To-Do List and we've never felt more fulfilled and proud of ourselves! ... That lasted about a week, and we're already craving a new project to keep our hands busy. So if you're like us and looking for something crafty to get stuck into, we've got an idea that you probably don't even have to leave your house for!

We're talking about Upcycling your old candles! If you're like us, you have probably been gifted between 1 and 200 candles in your day - and who can say no to a fresh candle?! The downside is that up until recently we had about 10 different candles scattered all around our house, and every single one of them was scorched, dirty and very nearly empty. So! We melted them down, cleaned out the jars and combined the spoils to create a handful of brand new, fresh & FULL candles! Keep reading for our easy guide. 

What You'll Need :

- All you need is a few candles that are looking a little sorry. You can use whatever colours you might have to create a new colour, or you can group the candle wax by colour.

- Candle wicks. We had a few from another project already, but if you don't have any in your craft cupboard, you can get them really cheap at any sort of craft store. You can even get them delivered if you're in full isolation mode

- Candle Jars. We used the jars and chose a few of our favourites to fill back up (completely full this time). We also had this groovy tea-light holder that we've been meaning to turn into a candle for *forever*, so we decided to use that too!

- Extra Candle Wax (optional). You'll only need extra wax if you don't have very much left in the candles to begin with. Nearly all of ours were less than a quarter full so we needed some more to top them up. We actually already had two big white pillar candles that we'd been waiting to use so decided to melt those down as extra wax instead of buying more!

- Some containers to separate your different colour/ fragrances into, and a small pot to heat the wax in.

- Literally anything to hold you wick in place while the candles set. We used a reusable bamboo chopstick and wrapped the wick around it a few times. 


Method : 

~ Step 1.

Gather up all of your candles and get started on removing the wax from the jars. You can use anything to do this, and can even pop it in the fridge or the microwave to help you slide the wax out easily if you're a little impatient (the microwave will soften the wax and the fridge will make it shrink!). We used a spoon to scoop it all out and made a few different groups of wax that we separated by colour and smell. Make sure to remove the metal wick from the bottom, and get rid of any burn marks on the wax as you don't want this coming along to your candles

~ Step 2. 

Clean out your candle jars! Wax is obviously a bit of a pain to clean up as it spreads, but use a healthy amount of dish soap and hot water to break it up and you'll be set. We also used a hand towel to wipe the jars clean of the wax instead using paper towels etc. Just chuck the rags in the wash and they'll be as good as new! 

~ Step 3. 

It's melting time baby! This is really where it's up to you about how you proceed. To melt down your old candles, it's suggested to either microwave them or melt them in a pot on the stove. Now, when we were looking into the best way to do this DIY ourselves, we saw a lot of waste that was being made and challenged ourselves not to ruin or chuck out anything that we weren't already planning to. Candle-wax is tricky/ time consuming to clean up, so we read about a lot of people who used an old pot or plastic microwave containers that they would then toss...

Our take is, if you're game to give everything a good clean afterwards, it is definitely possible to do this DIY without throwing anything away unnecessarily. We used a metal spoon for scooping, reusable chopsticks for holding the wicks in place, a metal saucepan and a ceramic bowl to melt the wax in (we tried using the microwave and the stove). 

~ Step 3. 

Get those wicks ready for the wax! Cut them to the right length and leave some spare at the top to wrap around your chopstick to hold it in place. It's suggested that you can drop a splash of wax into the jar and let the wax set so that the wick stays in place. We suggest putting your candle jars on a surface that you can clean easily because chances are, you will get a splash of wax onto your bench even if you have a steady hand. 

~ Step 4.

Time to pour the wax in! To make sure you're not wasting any wax, it's a good idea to pour from a funnel or something with a lip to save you pouring hot wax all over the bench. We pulled out a spare measuring cup with a spout, but you can use anything that helps you pour a little more accurately. When your wax is melted completely, it's time to pour it into your jars. 

It could take from a few minutes up to a few hours for the candle wax to completely harden, and you'll probably notice that when the wax is almost completely hard, the wax is dipped in right around the wick. If this is something you'd like to avoid for aesthetic reasons, save a little bit of wax in your pot and pour it on top of the mostly hardened wax for a completely flat surface.

Let it rest until it's completely hardened. Cut the excess candle wick to the right length and hey presto- you have a brand new candle! 



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