Wednesday, February 14, 2018

New Candles From Old Scraps

I play a little game where I try to reduce the trash we produce weekly. Our volume is a little high right now because Phoebe wears disposables overnight, but I'm looking at the big picture.  We have an excellent recycling program in the city, and often our recycling bins are fuller than our trash bins. 

I wondered if I could do anything with this big pillar candles that burn through their wick in the center and leave behind a heavy chunk of wax for the trash.  I did a little research and successfully made some new votives!

Supplies I used:
wax from old candles 
a metal coffee can + a saucepan to make a water bath to melt wax
small paper cups
candle wick string
container to hold candle molds while I poured

I put all the old candle chunks, wicks and cinders and whatever included, in the metal coffee can and set it in water in the saucepan over low heat.  Stay in the room while you do this - liquid wax is a fire hazard! Once the wax was totally liquid, the impurities went to the bottom.

I had set up my little votive molds by greasing the paper cups, and putting the wicks in the middle by punching a hole in the bottom of the cup, knotting the wick underneath, and then tying the wick to the toothpick at the top.

I set the molds in a newspaper-lined tray, and poured the hot wax in each mold. You can see that I did two color batches.  The votives hardened fairly quickly, but also left a sinkhole in the middle of each votive.  Since I made these just for winter evenings for us, I don't care, but I'm sure there are ways to prevent that sinkhole. 

And the votives burn very nicely! So I've started collecting scraps of wax and candles again in a bag for an easy, thrifty project that reduces our trash volume and keeps the house bright. 


Becky said...

We burn more of the taper candles, but I have wanted to do with with them. They end up getting used as fire starters though, but maybe I'll get around to this.

e said...

Now, that's thrifty! I love it.

We are big recyclers here in Portland, Oregon. In fact, our city has trash pick up every other week and recycling pick up weekly, so it behooves everyone to use the blue bin. There's also weekly yard debris pick up.

But, better than recycling is 'precycling' or simply re-use. I love seeing examples of re-use in daily life. Thank you for sharing!

Margo said...

e, I am definitely going to start using the word "precycling!" Thank you!

Lana said...

Decades ago we made candles and the thing to do with the sinkholes is just to add a bit more melted wax to the center after the candle hardens. I have wondered if I could drill out a hole through the bottom of pillar candles, add a new wick and refill the middle. We have pounds of parafin blocks on the garage shelf from the afore mentioned candle making so it would be free. Win, win!

Jennie C. said...

We once ran out of birthday candles and made some by dipping string in melted candle stub wax. We were quite proud of ourselves!

BLD in MT said...

This is brilliant! (And totally within my skill set.) You two-tone ones are quite pretty to boot! I can remember making candles with my mom--not out of scraps, but oh it was fun.

I stopped burning candles for a long, long time. I guess I didn't trust myself not to wander away and burn the house down. Within the last, oh, year or two I've changed that though. The warmth candlelight brings to a home--especially in the winter--is just priceless. So, I've learned to trust myself again. I'm super keen on a way to get every last drop of candle wonder out of them. Thanks for the idea.

AyrieJoyce said...

Save a little bit of your wax and once your candles have hardened, but before you remove them from the mold pour the extra wax into the sink hole bit. Then your candles will burn evenly.


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