DIY: Salvaged Candles
I love candles. Whether the scent is spicy apple during the winter holidays or fresh blossom during the spring, candles have a way of adding warmth and comfort to any room. My favorite scent over the last year or so has been pomegranate, and I have found a couple of candles that were really great. However, the annoying part about these candles is they always have about an inch left of wax but aren't able to burn anymore. Not wanting to just throw these out (that would be very anti-use-it-up), I decided to see how hard it would be to melt them to make a new candle. Turns out, not so hard! Sure, there are no doubt candle artists out there, but I wasn't going for that. I just wanted a way to enjoy these scents for a few more hours.
Here are the simple steps, which actually I would have done differently as I found a couple of better how-to's after I was finished. Check out Design*Sponge for a better way to hold the wick in place and some cool tin ideas.
jar or tin to pour melted wax
pre-waxed wicks (a whole package costs a couple dollars at Michael's)
double-boiler or pan to melt wax (something you don't mind tossing or using for crafting purposes)
1. Place your old candles in the freezer for a day or so. When wax freezes, it contracts, so you can easily pop it out of its jar or tin. Make sure you use scents and colors that will blend well together.
2. Most how-to's tell you to use a double-boiler, making sure the one that the wax goes in is something you can throw out, like an old coffee can or something. I had a large saute pan that had seen better days, so I decided to see if it worked melting it, knowing I wouldn't use this pan again. It worked great, but I'm sure either would do, depending on what you have.
3. Break your wax up into smaller chunks and remove any pieces of the wick. Place the wax in the pan on a medium heat. The wax will quickly melt and become quite liquid, almost like a juice.
4. Have your jar or tin ready that you will use. Place the wick inside, using a bit of the melted wax to stick the bottom metal piece to the jar. Here is where I would do things differently: take a skewer or pencil and place it along the top of the jar and wrap the wick around it, so it stays in its spot. I came up with a much more difficult contraption (see the clothespins ordeal below), which worked, but took a bit more maneuvering.
5. Pour in your hot wax. At this point, you may find that the wick doesn't want to stay stuck to the bottom. I ended up just pushing it down with something skinny, like a pencil, until it started to set. It really will take a lot longer to set than you think, a couple of hours, at least. Another idea I thought of after the fact would be to use a coffee straw stirrer, those tiny red ones, and actually place the wick through that until it begins to set. You would just need to snip it, so you could still wrap part of the wick around the skewer, and pull it out before the candle hardened completely, so the wax could move in around the wick. I think I'll try this idea next time.
6. Once your candle has set, trim the wick, light, and enjoy not only the sweet smell, but the satisfying feeling that you saved yourself $10 on a new candle.