Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Recycled Candles

Materials Needed
  • burned out candle stubs
  • bowl and pot or double boiler
  • stove
  • wick
  • scissors
  • mold, store bought or a wax coated cardboard milk jug with small hole for wick to come out
  • vegetable oil
  • scented oil or wax tart
  • concentrated wax coloring (optional)
  • cookie sheet or shallow pan with sides
  • skewer stick
Ever wonder what to do with all those stubs of wax left by candles that have burned down, or whose wicks are drowned and won't light anymore? A fairly easy project is to make recycled candles.
Tell your friends, family and neighbors to save their candle stubs if you don't have enough on hand, you can also purchase glycerin wax in the form of bricks or pearls at Jo-Anns to supplement what you already have.

Set up a double boiler on the stove. I use a oven safe glass bowl over a pot with about an inch of water. Set to medium heat and add your candle stubs. I try to keep the cinnamon type smells like pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, etc. separate from the flowery type smells. You don't have to worry about removing the old wicks because all the candle "waste" will sink to the bottom of the bowl and you can skim the liquid wax off the top. Allow all the wax to melt through so that the color is consistent.

I always add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wax, this helps to minimize shrinking.

You can also add a few drops of scented oil or a scented wax tart. The Yankee tarts are so concentrated, that when added to the wax pot, they will scent several candles.

You can also use concentrated wax coloring to color the wax. I love the site Candlewic they have a great assortment of dyes, molds and other candle making supplies. Remember, like mixing paint, the original color of the candles will effect the overall color. I've added silver, gold or copper crayons and you get a cool metallic stripe.

While the wax is melting, prepare your mold. There are some really beautiful candle molds out there, but you don't have to purchase a store bought mold to make candles. A mold can be anything that will hold hot liquid. A wax coated paper milk jug works great. You can also re-fill old candle jars, mason jars, wine glasses, flower pots etc. The process is slightly different when using a mold that you're not going to extract the finished candle from, I will post about that in the future. Dixie cups make great votive candles. I've been making candles for a long time, and have acquired some store bought molds, that's what I will be using.
Cut your wick about 2 inches longer than the length of your candle mold. Press the wick through the hole, you can use the point of a skewer stick, leaving about 1/2 inch sticking out and tape closed with duct tape.

Draw the wick through the candle and lay over a skewer stick so it sits in the middle.

Set the whole thing in a pan with sides, so if your duct tape leaks it won't pour out all over your counter top.

Ladle the wax into your mold, saving some to fill the shrinkage, and cool completely.

As wax cools, it shrinks, so you will get an indent in the bottom of your candle.

 Trim the wick, re-heat your left over wax in the double boiler and top off the bottom of the candle. Cool again. When the candle is completely cool is should shrink away from the sides enough to slip out easily. For a milk carton or Dixie cup candle, just tear off the paper.  

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