2020: 24 Days of Waste Reduction – Day #8

One of my favourite ways to keep my home feeling cozy is by burning candles. If you also love candles, I bet you’ve come face to face with candles that have melted weird or the wax didn’t fully go down to the bottom of the jar – it’s annoying. However, there is a way to give this wax new life and also reduce your candle budget.

I keep a wax container, which is just an old repurposed yogurt container, where I put any bits of unburned wax that have broken off of a candle or are left when the wick is burnt down. If you love candles in jars, there is any easy way to remove the wax. Simply put the jar in the freezer for a while, and once the jar is frozen, you can take a butter knife and carefully pop out the ‘disk’ of wax at the bottom. You can also split the wax disk in half with the butter knife and then take each piece out using your knife. If the wick was secured to the jar using glue, I find it easiest to also pry that off with the butter knife while it is still frozen. Then you can do a quick wash and dry of the jar and it is ready to go!

My collection of old candle wax from March until December 2020

Supplies needed for this project:

Step 1: Take all of the clean jars you’d like to use. This will depend on how much wax you have. I typically start with two, gluing the metal wick holder down in the centre of the bottom of the jar. Get your jars ready near your work surface.

Step 2: Create a double boiler and melt the wax. Use a spoon to stir and get it all melted, just like you would if you were melting chocolate. If you want to add a crayon for some extra colour, this is the time to add it.

Step 3: Once the wax is fully melted, add any scents you like – but this is not necessary. If there are any old wicks or other junk floating in the melted wax, use either your old chopsticks or tweezers to pluck them out and put them in the garbage. It’s not the end of the world if these bits end up in your candle, but it will look much better if you remove them.

Step 4: Carefully and slowly pour the melted wax into your jar, trying not to pour directly over the wick. It is helpful to have a partner hold the jar and spot you while you do this. Leave at least 1 cm of space between the top of the wax and the top of the wick. You’ll have an idea at this point if you need to prep more jars based on how much wax you just poured into the first candle.

Step 5: Reuse those chopsticks or another household stick to centre and straighten the wick. You can put the wick directly between the chopsticks for an extra secure hold. You’ll want to ensure the wick is as straight and centred as possible for even burning. Once you’re satisfied with the position, you will leave the candle to harden. Repeat with the rest of the candles.

Step 6: Leave the candles for at least a few hours to harden. I typically wait overnight.

Step 7: If the wicks are quite long even above the candle, trim them down, and you are ready to light and enjoy!

This is a pretty easy project once you have your supplies ready, and wicks are very inexpensive compared to candles themselves. These make great gifts and are a great way to reuse old wax, old jars and have a fun crafty afternoon.

Some tips for purchasing candles: choose natural waxes over paraffin. Paraffin is essentially just a solid fossil fuel, as it’s derived from petroleum, and is non-renewable. Soy and beeswax candles do tend to be more expensive, but they are better for the planet.

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