Like A Candle in The Bin

I love candles. I love candles so much. My sense of smell is one of my most prized senses, which possibly explains why I’ve ended up with the career I have. I love that smell is such an evocative, meaningful link and can be a trigger to happiness and mindfulness (if used correctly of course.)

I adore pumpkin candles in the autumn, hyacinth scents in the spring, and green grass scents in the summer. What I don’t love, however, is when you’ve burned down to the end of the wick and the candle no longer lights – yet there’s lots of delicious smelling wax left!

Enter pinterest. I saw a post about how to utilise that wax to turn it into new candles, and it’s fairly genius! Here’s what you have to do to get brand new candles out of the remnants of your old favourites!

First things first – gather up your old candles and pop those bad boys in the freezer. Leave em in there until the wax is frozen solid. This makes it incredibly easy to either pop out or chip out the wax without the heat from handling it melting them down.


Then break up the wax and get rid of the little metal wick holder.


I divided my waxes into piles depending on scent, and kept the ones with substantial left-over wax to make into tea-light sized candles.


Don’t worry too much about the broken bits of wick and black bits; they won’t make it out of the melting process. Next is getting the pieces ready for the new candles. I have a brilliant candle kit from Kirstie Allsopp, but truthfully all you need for this bit is wick and wick holders – and some glass jars.

Since I buy a LOT of Bath and Body Works candles – especially their “Winter”, which is incredible – I have a lot of glass jars lying around. Once you get the old wax and wick out, these glass holders are ready to be re-used. For the smaller ones which still have labels on, a bit of dressy Washi tape adds a lovely decorative touch.

UPDATE: Washi tape is surprisingly flammable so actually definitely don’t do that bit.

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Here’s the workstation.


You’ll note the presence of wick holders, wick, and pliers. Select your size of glass holder, measure a wick to be slightly taller than the jar and string the end of it into a wick holder. Use the pliers to pinch the wick holder so that it firmly holds the wick. Place it in the jar and – top tip – loosely tape the end of the wick to a stick. I’ve used broken barbecue sticks. This will keep your wick from falling over and getting lost once you put the wax in.


Now; the fun bit. Heat up the wax! The kit I used recommends two saucepans – one large, for heating up water, and one small, for sitting inside the hot water and using to melt the wax. I didn’t use two saucepans; rather I used a heavy duty glass jar to sit in the pan and melt the wax in. It was a bit dangerous, as I had to move it around with pliers but… it worked. Please note you won’t be able to use the saucepans for food after, so maybe get saucepans that are just for your candle project.


Next, have your water on the stove at the medium heat mark and add your wax to the bottle. Once it melts, pour or dab a small amount onto the wick holder and stick it into place in the centre of your candle holder.


Once the remainder of the wax has melted, pour it carefully (but quickly!) into the candle holder. Let it sit for 24 hours to harden up. Your kitchen will smell incredible while you are doing this, btw.


Here’s the little cooling factory:


After they’ve cooled, use a super sharp scissors to trim the wick; and voila! Perfect candles that would have been discarded otherwise. They look new, smell great, and are a great way to reduce waste by re-using.


They work perfectly too – just maybe… trim your wicks a bit shorter than I did. Unless you LIKE danger candles.


Any top tips for re-using your old candles that I missed here? Come chat to me on twitter @makingthemarrow


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