Thursday, November 29, 2012

Making New Candles From Old

My grandmother was a great keeper of things.  When my Aunt cleared out her home they found important things: like old certificates and papers, unimportant stuff: like unread mail and newspapers, and a few gems like a jar full of knitting needles and a whole bunch of old broken candles.  These candles made their way to my home where they've been waiting patiently for a bit of inspiration from me. 

A few weekends ago, Dave and I decided to have a date night at home and gave candle making a try.  Isn't this what everyone does on a Friday date night?  If you don't happen to have a supply of broken candles, look at yard sales, or other places for candles people don't want.

We started by melting the candles down in reused jars inside a large pot of water.  Be careful when melting old candles that you are using the same kinds of candles (don't mix the wax type since they can melt at different temperatures) We tried to keep similar colors together, and added more candles until the wax reached the top of the jar.  Ideally you would use a taller, narrow container, since these jars were just tall enough to dip a small candle.

When the wax melts completely, we removed the jars carefully from the water onto a safe surface.  Using the old wicks from the broken candles we started dipping the candles.  After each dip into the wax, we paused for around 5 seconds before dipping the candle again to allow the wax to harden, pausing to hang the candles periodically to completely cool.  If the wax started to harden, we simply returned the jar to the pot until it melted.

VERY, VERY slowly, candles began to form. As the wax cooled, the candles formed faster and became a bit lumpier.  All told, we spent the entire evening dipping around 8 small candles.  The next morning we reheated the wax with the kids and poured small candles into old cups and jars. 

Although we didn't make many candles, those candles we did make are soft looking and beautiful and will serve as the centerpiece of this year's holiday celebrations.  As we move into winter and the light fades outside, these lights will illuminate our homes, giving us peace and a much greater appreciation for those people before us who relied on making their own candles to light their way.


Come by and share what you've made lately at the Barn Hop, Made by Hand Corner


  1. Nicely done! Thanks for the tutorial. I've been keeping some old, falling apart candles around waiting to do something like this!

  2. Very neat! I've never tried making candles before but I love the idea. So nice that you're using the candles during the holidays. Love it!

  3. Awesome! We have plans to try this soon, nice to see someone else do it first, thanks!

  4. So lovely! We really enjoy making candles too. There's something so very satisfying about it.


  5. If you take your fresh made candles and freeze them for 12-24 hours they will burn aLOT slower and last a lot longer. This even works for exending the burn life of cheap store candles. Whenever I buy candles, into the freezer they go. Even the ones in the glass jars!

  6. Wow, super cool! My question is how did you retrieve the old wicks out of the wax to make the new dipped candles?

    On the topic of freezing candles, that is what I do to remove wax from candle holders or jars. Into the freezer it goes to shrink the wax and separate it from the container, then I can easily store it for recycling :)

    1. I fished them out with skewers. Great advice on putting the candles in the freezer.

  7. I just love these! I would love for you to share this or another post on my new Farmhouse Style Blog Hop! The first one will be on Wednesday January 9th.