Recycling used candles is super easy. A little messy but very satisfying!
When I was looking for ways to declutter my pretty clutter free life, I thought of a couple very specific things I could do, which included using up all my candles. I’ll be moving in a year and would like it to be the lightest move so far (number 16th, so I do have a bit of experience!)
So I went to my candle basket the other day and what a surprise! I had actually saved up a lot of candle scraps last winter! And I didn’t remember!! Smart move actually. It was time to make new candles!
Recycling candle scrap isn’t difficult and it’s not a mind blowing process.
Things you need to recycle candles
Yes, there are a couple things you need.
- Candle scrap!
- A used pot and a container that can survive the heat
- New candle wick (it’s mostly just cotton thread)
- Candle containers or molds
And then a few tools like a stick to stir the melting wax, a used towel or tongs to hold your container when pouring, a knife to cut your wax pieces…
Preparing your wax scrap
First, your candle scraps need to be sorted by type of wax, scent and color.
Mixing paraffin wax and beeswax is probably a bad idea, although I do not know what the result would be. Mixing certain smells could lead to an undesirable result! Same with the colors!
Most of my scraps were from unscented soy based candles but there were a few old paraffin bits which I had to remove.
I had a lot of red, a few orange bits and some white. So no disaster could really be made here.
If you have any doubts about color mixing, revisit a color wheel! You remember those from your days in school? This is how you were taught that blue+ yellow= green or yellow + red = orange and blue + red = violet but remember green + red = beurk!
Lastly, you want to remove all the old wick bits, especially what is burned. Use a knife for this and cut your scrap into small pieces, they will melt a little quicker.
Melt your wax scrap
Use an old pot! At the beginning all is usually well, but at one point or another, bits of wax will fall in the water and your pot will be slightly messy.
Add water to your pot, high enough but not too high. Add your container with the bits of wax inside and warm up (no need to boil). Too little water will make the process longer, too much water will make your container wiggle or worst, the water to overflow in your container.
As you can see, I used a glass jar but a used tin can will work just as well.
As the wax melts, you can add more pieces of scrap. I use a chopstick to stir the wax every now and then.
Prepare your candle containers and wicks
While your wax is melting, prepare your containers. Clean them, dry them, get them on a trivet.
Prepare your wicks. I tried to reuse the little tab that you can find on the bottom of used candles but that didn’t work. So instead, I roughly cut the bottom part of tealight candles, pierce a hole in the center and passed the wick through the hole, knotting it on the side to be used as the bottom.
Once placed in my container, I attached the top of the wick to another chopstick to hold it in place.
My wick wasn’t pre-waxed so it was a little flimsy and didn’t hold super well in place. You can always dip you wick in your wax first, straighten it, let it cool off and then place it in your container. You still need to hold it in place at the top though!
Once ready, I poured a little wax in my container. I ensure my tap was placed correctly and as the wax cooled off, it secured the tap in a center position.
Pouring the melted wax and the final touch!
Once your whole pot of wax is melted, add essential oils and stir.
I used a copious amount of Bergamote essential oils just because I love it! Well, I say copious but it was probably around the recommended ratio of 30 to 40 drops for an 8 ounce candle. Not quite sure but it smelt sooo good!
And lastly, just pour slowly the melted wax into your container.
Let it cool off while admiring your work! Smell your new candle and wait for it to be completely cool before trimming the wick.
Repeat the process until you run out of wax scrap or containers!
Be creative with what you have + a couple additional tips
Don’t have old candle glass container? You can use glasses, mugs, tea cups, egg shells, almost any sort of shells, orange skin, yogurt pots, plants pots, anything you fancy really! If it isn’t that good looking, you can always decorate it afterward!
If you are scared your container might break, melt or leak when pouring the wax, just place it in another slightly bigger container. Anticipate and limit the potential damages!
Filtering your wax might be nice but seriously, if you don’t intend to sell your candles, don’t sweat it. I sure didn’t!
Clothespin are often used to hold the wick, especially if making tiny candles. I don’t own clothespin so chopstick it was for me!
If you don’t have wick holder taps , you can probably just secure it with wax.
If you didn’t melt enough wax, don’t worry, you can always add more. It does create a line but it’s not horrible and it doesn’t change the way the candle burns.
A lot of people seem to add dried flowers or herbs in their homemade candles. It can be incredibly pretty and would make such a great gift. I’m not there yet, but will probably try, at one point or another. I’m just a little worried on how these burn. Plus if you want to recycle the leftover of such candles, you definitively would have to filter the wax.
Soy wax – bee wax- paraffine wax – gel wax
There are nowadays a lot of different wax on the market. It is becoming hard to know what is best.
A lot will argue soy wax (or other plant based wax like coconut wax) is 100% natural and does not realize toxic fumes like paraffine wax. Others argue most soy candles are not actually 100% natural. Bee wax then? Well, bees being on the decline, I’m not convinced that is such an ecofriendly alternative either.
Gel wax? This is not wax and does not seem to be ecofriendly at all.
Well it is hard.
Personally, I try to do the lesser harm so I do buy natural wax candles. Preferably organic, with no palm oil. Being mostly vegan, I tend to avoid bee wax candles.
Maybe most importantly, I use my candles in moderation and I recycle my wax scrap!
One last thing I wanted to mention which contradicts a lot of things you will find online: based on my personal experience, natural wax seems to me to produce more scrap. You will see online that most people say soy wax burns longer and completely. I can not confirm this, as I always end up with scraps! I don’t mind since I can reuse them but I just wanted to mention.
Well, I did not know that I would have so much to say about recycling candles!! Sorry for the lengthily post. It really is easy to do. A no brainer really and very satisfying! You should try 😉