recycling old candles


hi there friends,

today i thought it would be fun to write about my experiences candle making at home. i really love candles and having wonderful scents in the house, particularly the smells of sweet foods like churros, gingerbread, or berries - but i have a bad habit of hoarding all the used jars and such as they cant really just be tossed in the recycling. my candle hoard contained about 25 used candles of all different sizes, brands, and scents, and after receiving a candle making kit for christmas i decided to deal with this useless graveyard of candles and make something new.

this took me around 8 hours total but i had spread it across three different days as theres a lot of cleaning up and such involved, and i didnt want to turn the kitchen into a candle making station for a whole day when theres others who want to use it...


as i had so many candles, i decided to go through them and see which scents were similar so that i could combine them into one new candle. for example, i had three berry flavoured yankee candles and one from another brand. they all smelt quite similar, so i decided they would become one candle. theres a full list towards the end. combining candles is a bit risky though as it might involve mixing different types of wax...which i did anyway lol... ive only burnt two of these candles so far and they seem fine. i did however have an awful time with a 'paraffin and palm wax blend' candle which was so messy i had to abandon.

in terms of tools, my kit came with new wicks and a tool to hold the wick. it is a wooden lollipop stick with a hole in the centre.

the rest can be found around the house. i decided to reuse the jars of the candles, but if you decide to get new ones probably get ones that are heat proof! at least one pan, a measuring jug, and a small but sharp implement is essential. for the clean up, i had set down a lot of newspaper, had sponges and paper towels at the ready, and had a bag ready for rubbish and i used one of the candle jars for weird waxy water/general wax shit to toss later.

making the candles

in hindsight in such a large scale candle making project like this, i shouldve focussed on melting groups of candles with smaller jars first. this is because where the remains of a candle are being used, larger jars are rarely needed. i didnt use any of the large yankee candles jars, but many of the small ones. in addition, taking the stickers off of the candles is ideal but sometimes very difficult.

following my guide from the kit, i started by filling a pan up about halfway and bringing to a boil, then letting it simmer. i have a heatproof measuring jug at ready, as well as a small knife. taking the first candle, i hold it in the pan slightly above the water (this is to prevent burning any stickers onto the bottom of the pan which i managed to do once). this is hard sometimes as the water is very hot, but it only takes 20 - 50 secs before you can remove it and use an implement to pop the wax out. sometimes i had to use a sharp implement to cut a 'slice' into the wax so it would pop out, then i could grab it and pull it out with my hands. when the wax is removed, it can be broken into as small bits as possible into the jug, and the old wick disposed of. sometimes the wick is held down by some kind of glue or glue dot which also should be removed. i suppose this wax could be used as wax melts now, but i dont really get on with wax melts.

kept doing this until the jug is filled with all the wax i want for that particular candle. i place the jug into the water, and let it melt stirring every so often. if there is a lot of wax to melt, this can take quite a long time - when it begins to melt i push the wax down gently, and eventually itll submerge itself in the melted wax.

while i wait, i usually put another pan on the go and empty some more candles but store them in the other tubs. i also use this time to start cleaning up. now there is probably a better way of doing this but i simply used hot water and scouring sponges/paper towells to clean the jars the best i could, and later washing them up as normal. i found this does a decent enough job of getting the wax off of any surfaces too.

when the wax is melted, i dip a wick in the wax and gently press it into the chosen jar, then use the wick stick(?) to hold it in place. i get the jar out with an oven glove and slowly pour it into the jar. doing it slowly is important to avoid air bubbles. now it is as a simple as letting it cool down for a few hours.

for one candle, i used a cheesecake glass jar, which i used two wicks for because otherwise the jar is too wide for one wick to burn it all the way to the edge.

my new candles

here are the candle scents and names i ended up making. i dont have exact details for all of them as i didnt intend to write a post about this when i started...ill update with reviews as i burn through them. i tried to come up with names for them so if you think of any let me know

row one: berry good berry nice, pumpkin/apple cider, cinnamon churro, peppermint
row two: summer fruits, gingerbread, chocolate orange
row three: pumpking spice, vanilla, linen

candles ive burnt

yankee candle cinnamon churros - this is the one thats already burnt in the photo lol. the wax looks crazy when it dries after being burnt, and i do have to move the wick sometimes. i have it next to my bed, and even though its been a couple weeks since i burnt it, i can still smell it...

3x pumpkin spice. these candles were a couple years old. they were gifts that were bought from next that were in pumpkin shaped jars and in general didnt burn very well, so hardly any of the actual wax melted before the wick burnt all the way down. in the new candle, it became this strange green/yellow colour and seems to not burn very well still, but the scent is still there. i had so much of it i poured some into a smaller jar and gave it as a gift :)

home bargains chocolate orange - this one the wick burnt through really quickly and has actually left a lot of wax. it might be because it is cheaper wax if this makes sense. i will probably use the remaining wax as a melt instead.

candles to burn

cherry vanilla, mixed berries, christmas punch (all yankee candles), and another berry one from xmas

two fresh linen type smells and 'glistening xmas'

pumpkin cider and apple cinnamon cider

5 random vanilla adjacent scents. this one was the riskiest because i mixed 5 random candles together, and it has caved in at the wick. not sure what happened here!

two summer fruit yankee candles, and the palm wax one which was tropical fruits.

home bargains gingerbread - these home bargains ones smell fucking amazing but the wick burns too fast so there was lots of wax left over. im hoping having them in smaller jars will let me experience them a little longer.

yankee candle peppermint. this is the one i put two wicks in.


in the future, when storing used candles i will put them in a cupboard or something as i had a couple that managed to gather a layer of dust and cat hairs which is almost impossible to remove.

overall, i had lots of fun doing this and it feels good to find a new use for these dead candles and reexperience some lovely scents, as well as do something different for a change. its something i would probably end up doing once a year, and as i mentioned its a good idea for making potential gifts.

- omoulo

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