If you're like us you have a bunch of candles that have burned down as far as they can. Instead of just throwing them out why not re-use them? Our easy melt-and-pour method will help you save every last bit of your favorite candles.
Admitting that your favorite candle has finally burned down so far that it can't be relit is a sad moment, but there's always a silver lining: These easy projects let you use every last bit of the fragrant or colorful wax.
Whether you're at the end of a jarred candle, a pillar, or a taper, you can melt the remaining wax and use it in a variety of ways, from simply adding it to a candle warmer to making gift-worthy floral wax sachets or practical fire starters.
How to Safely Melt Candle Wax
The bottom portions of candles that are too small to be re-lit can be melted for reuse, and so can wax left in jars or candle holders.
Use the Double Boil Method
Different types of wax have different melting points, ranging from 100 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the too-small-to-light remains of a used candle by setting the candle in a small pan over a large pan of simmering water. Once the wax is melted, remove old wicks with tongs and toss them out; then pour the wax into one of the vessels for the projects described below.
If your candle wax is still soft, you can scoop it out; otherwise, place the jar in a pan of boiling water to help release the remaining wax, or place the jar or candle holder in the freezer. "This allows the wax to shrink and easily pop out when the candleholder is removed from the freezer," says Kathy LaVanier, president of the National Candle Association (NCA). "Never use a knife or a sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass votive holder. It might scratch or weaken the glass, causing it to break upon subsequent use."
If you want to salvage every last drop of wax, head to your sink: "Wax drippings can be removed from most candleholders by running hot water over them," says LaVanier.
P.F. Candle Co. founder Kristen Pumphrey also suggests removing the labels from a candle jar and placing the jar in the oven, on its lowest setting, until the wax melts and can be scooped out for reuse.
Don't ever put a jarred candle in the microwave. The discs that attach a wick to a holder are made of metal.
Use Liquid Paraffin
LaVanier also notes that liquid paraffin can be helpful to prep for candle wax removal. "Simply put a little on a paper towel and use it to wipe away [excess] wax," she says, which might be preventing the rest of the wax from releasing.
5 Ways to Reuse Candle Wax
Before tackling these DIY ideas, keep in mind what type of wax you are melting. According to LaVanier, candles come in paraffin wax, synthetic wax, soy wax, coconut wax, palm wax, beeswax, stearic acid, and gelled mineral oil varieties. If you're combining the remnants of several candles, make they are all the same type of wax.
Make a Votive Candle
Cut a piece of wicking, available at craft stores, two inches taller than the votive holder.
Knot one end and thread through a wick tab (also available at crafts stores); tie the free end around a wooden skewer.
Dip wicking and tab into the melted wax to coat them.
Remove, then press the tab to the bottom of the holder, and rest the skewer on the votive's rim.
Pour melted wax into the votive holder, stopping a half inch below rim. Let stand until it sets, about one hour. To even the well at the center, pour more wax into the center until it's one-fourth inch below rim.
Make a Teacup Candle
Instead of a plain votive holder, follow the same instructions as above—but pour your melted wax over a new wick nestled in a vintage teacup.
Make Wax Melts
A candle warmer heats small pieces of wax, called wax melts, to release a delicate fragrance. "Leftover wax from a candle that can no longer be burned can be removed from the jar and put into a wax melter for homemade melts," says Pumphrey.
This floral wax sachet project starts with unscented wax; adding essential oil and pressed flowers allows a light fragrance to fill your room (with no open flames). If you're using the remains of several scented candles for this project, make sure the combination of aromas will meld well.
Make Wax Fire Starters
Fire starters made from wax flakes, cedar shavings, and dried flowers and herbs make it easy to create a cozy glow in your fireplace without the need for an armload of kindling.