Monday, April 18, 2016

recycle week day 1: upcycled candles

welcome to the first day of my recycle-week!

As promised, this week I'm going to give unloved goods a second life, and try not to spend any money on them. So I'll be saving items from the trash in my own house, seeing if I can find things on the sidewalk, or using free items from thrift shops (yes, they do that with certain items)

So to kick off with a simple upcycling project: candles!

As I was cleaning up my house - some of you may have guessed why....-  I realized how many discarded candles I have laying around. Used candles that are too short to use up, that have melted in the sun, ones where the wick has become too short, ones that I don't use because they're plain ugly ( I'm talking to you, oooglay christmas candles!) of just left-overs from tea lights ( these things never burn clean, do they?)

so many of these!
I know, doesn't sound too exciting. But the result is quite pretty! And, if you time your project right, it doesn't take any time at all. So, give it a try, it's cool!

you'll need:

  •  a crapload of old candles ( I simply mixed different colors and scents, whatever I had at hand)
  • old jars or cups to make the candles in.
  • some cotton string to use as a wick
  • an oven ( but if you don't have that, the stove works as well)
  • skewers
  • optional: a few drops of scented oil, or herbs such as lavendar.

I began by gathering all old candles together, and dicing the pieces pieces that were too big.

Then,I took some old cups and jars (a cleaned jam jar or something alike is perfect!) and filled them with the pieces of candle. 

Now, there are several ways of melting the candles, but in the light on recycle week, which of course has to do with being conscious of your environment, I opted to melt them in my oven. 

I simply waited until I had to bake something else in the oven (quiche, nommmm!) and when my quiche was finished, I turned the oven off, and placed my candles in the oven that was still warm. 

just chilling in the oven
The heat of the -cooling- oven should be enough to melt the candles... efficient, non?

After 15 minutes or so -when most of the wax had melted- I took some cotton string, cut it into pieces, dipped the top into the wax and placed them in the middle as wicks. You can hold them into place with some skewers.

After that, you can just leave them cooling down in the oven, and.. I dunno... watch some tv, shave your legs, trim your beard (if you have one), sing a song, paint your finger nails, eat that quiche that you just made... The candles will do perfectly fine on their own ( told ya this was an easy craft!)

About the leaving them in the oven thing; there is a reason why the easiest option is the best option here, as I can show with the picture below.

left is right, and right is... well, not so right. 
If you would take the candles out the oven as soon as the wax is melted (or, if you'd use a different method and pour the hot wax into cold cups) the wax will cool down way too quickly and things will go... ugly.
That's why I always cocked up with my previous candle-making adventures (although I didn't realize why things went bad) I accidentally took the purple candle out of the oven too early, and as you can see, it has an ugly, sunken center, while the candle on the left -who was in the same batch- stayed in the oven and has a nice and smooth surface.

trimming the wick!
And we're done! Apart from pouring some wax into a cup, and placing a wick in it, you practically did nothing! How's that for a change?

Now you can relax on the sofa and enjoy your "hard work", because this is what you'll end up with:

Candle galore!!
love the accidental dip-dye effect of the yellow one! 

so, to set the score on recycle-week: 

Today I have recycled:
- discarded candles
- an old piece of string (a shoelace)
- some empty jars
- some old cups that I didn't use ( and can re-use when I've burned my candles)

resources/ materials: 
none! ( considering the fact that I had to use my oven for the quiche anyway..... And no, my candles don't smell like quiche, although I wouldn't mind)

I hope you enjoyed! Have you ever tried making candles? And what were your experiences?


  1. I had no idea it was important to let them cool in a special way. Thanks!

    1. Hey Pamela!

      Neither did I, until I accidentally discovered it! And the fact that less work gives better results -without having covered all my pans in wax- makes me very happy as well!
      I'm glad the idea helped you as well!


  2. My husband has taken small candles of the same scent, melted them and placed the melted wax into a larger candle holder. We bought the wick from a craft store since the only string I had was very thin and specifically for cooking.

    Also, while on YouTube I found this link for a lady who makes things from plastic bottles. Some of the ideas are really cute. Hope y'all find it useful for Marije's recycle week.

    Hugs from Texas!

    1. Hi Tambra,

      Sounds cool! did it result in a beautiful candle? same scent and colour are maybe quite a good idea, although I quite like the colours-and scents- I ended up with, mixing means you're running the risk of ending up with weird looking and smelling colours ;) So you and your husband were clever in doing so!

      Oeh, new ideas, I love those! that lady sounds very creative, thanks!! I believe I hace some spare bottles, so I'll see if I can include a bottle-recycling post!!