While I’ve been called a tightwad before, this truly puts me into the Cheapy McFrugal-Pants category.
I like burning candles around the house, and I’ve always hated throwing out those huge stubs of candle wax leftover after the wick is gone. A few years ago I started saving the wax and melting it back down to make new candles. This assuages the guilt I have over throwing out something so useful, and saves a lot of money. That and I get to feel like I’m back in the olden days for an afternoon, and that’s always a plus. I think.
A caution before we begin – this is not for kids. AT ALL. This involves boiling water and screaming hot liquid wax, so make sure to do this when the little ones are not around.
The candle wick and wick tabs can be purchased at a craft store, or ordered from a gazillion different places online. I ordered 20 feet of wick years ago and I still have enough left to last me through a nuclear winter. Don’t skimp on the tabs, though.
You will need:
– Old candle stubs
– A metal coffee can
– 3 canning rings
– Candle wick
– Candle wick tabs
– A wooden skewer or pencil, something similar
– Clean glass jars
Fill up the coffee can with wax. If the wax is in large chunks, break it down into smaller pieces so it can melt faster.
Fill a large pot with a few inches of water. Place the canning rings into the bottom of the pot, place the pot on the stove. Place the coffee can on top of the rings, making sure to balance it evenly. The water should come up the sides of the can a few inches. Turn the heat on the stove to medium-high. When the water comes to a boil, knock it back to a good simmer. Let the wax do its thang.
Meanwhile, get the jars ready. Note: you do not have to buy jars for this – use old glass votive jars, old pickle jars, canning jars, whatever.
Measure out a length of wick for each jar, and then add a few inches to it. Stick one end of the wick through a wick tab, and crimp the tab closed.
To keep the wick standing upright inside the jar, tie it off to a wooden skewer or pencil.
And then you wait. The wax turns to liquid fairly quickly, but it takes awhile for the lumps to melt completely.
When the wax has melted completely (test this by stirring the wax with a wooden skewer) it’s time to add any fragrance or color. (I skip this step, because I don’t really give a fig about color and fragrance. But that’s just me.)
Then, using thick pot holders or oven mitts to protect your hands, carefully lift the coffee can out of the water. Carefully fill the jars with wax.
Let the candles sit until the wax is solid. I usually just let them sit overnight. Then trim the wick down to 1/4 inch, and you’re all done!
If you truly want to feel Colonial, instead of pouring the wax into jars you can take a long piece of wick and repeatedly dip your wick into the melted wax, and eventually you’ll wind up with a taper candle. I remember doing that in 5th grade and it was a total pain in the ass.
And I really only put that thing about making tapers in there because I wanted to say ‘dip your wick’. My apologies. Deep down, I’m a 14 year old boy.
Over and out.