Monday , 10 December 2018
DIY Custom Candles in Leftover Jars and Glasses

DIY Custom Candles in Leftover Jars and Glasses

Candles are among my favorite things in the world. And although I love buying fresh candles off of the shelf, I’m always left with empty glass containers when the candles have burned out. Did you know that you can actually melt down those wax remnants and reuse those glasses to start fresh with your own DIY candles?

For example, I recently purchased a box of votive candles just like these from The Home Depot:

diy candles

I opted for the orange candles because, to me, this is the quintessential color of autumn. Orange works from the month of August to November, from before Halloween through Thanksgiving and everything in between.

At the same time, I don’t want a collection of candles to just consist of a single color or single shape. So instead of buying all new candles and discarding the used glasses, I decided to reuse some of the glass containers from previously purchased candles and supplement my collection with brand new DIY candles in various shades of orange.

Here are the various Mason jars I will be using, all cleaned and ready to go:

can3

In terms of the candle making supplies themselves, you’ll need:

  • Wax – I used all-natural soy wax flakes (about 1 lb. of flakes per pint-sized Mason jar)
  • Wax-covered wicks – I purchased a pack of 6″ wicks and will trim them to the appropriate lengths after the candles are poured and cooled
  • Colorants – I used color blocks but you can also use pigment flakes, liquid coloring, and even wax crayon stubs!
  • Scent – This step is optional; I purchased a fall scent sampler with four separate 1 oz. bottles of scents to experiment before taking the plunge and buying larger bottles for more candles
  • Candle making pitcher – A specially designed metal pitcher for making candles makes melting and pouring the wax a breeze
  • Wooden spoon
  • Wooden dowels or skewers

Pour the appropriate amount of wax into your pitcher and heat the wax slowly on your stovetop until it’s completely melted.

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Be sure to stir the flakes while they melt in order to evenly distribute the heat.

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Remove the pitcher from the heat to cool; at this point, you can add your coloring and scents. Follow the instructions included with whatever you purchase and allow the wax to cool slightly before pouring into your containers. The wax is ready to pour when it forms little chunks because it is starting to re-harden; it may resemble a slushy or a soda with shaved ice.

Center your wick and secure it in place with two dowels and slowly pour the wax into the container. Readjust your wick if necessary and make sure that the dowels are holding it straight up in the center.

Be aware that the hot wax will lighten considerably in color when it is completely cooled.

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When the candles are fully cooled, trim the wicks down and leave about a half an inch of length to light.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. That’s part of the beauty of DIY creativity, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you had envisioned, it’s still a custom creation and unique to you. Many times, what you end up with is just as good, if not better, than what you set out to make originally!

Here are a few different examples of experimental multi-tone candles:

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The tall one on the left is the result of allowing the bottom half to cool completely before adding the top layer of a much lighter shade of orange wax. I made the tiny votive in the front by doing the same thing but in the opposite order: Light on the bottom and dark on the top; the top added only after the bottom was cool. However, for the tall candle on the right, you can create the muddled, almost tie-dyed look by pouring the top half before the bottom has completely cooled.

I love the orange sherbet/creamsicle appearance of the two-toned candles but I also love the straight up autumn orange candles, as well:

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These DIY candles are much easier to make than you might think and they are the perfect addition to any store-bought candle collection. At the same time, they make fantastic presents to friends and family and this tutorial is coming just in time for the gift-giving season!

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What colors and containers do you want to use when making your own DIY customized candles?

Rheney Williams is a creative DIYer who writes about Holiday décor projects for The Home Depot. If you are too busy to make your own candles, but still would like to decorate your house with ones that are already made, please visit homedepot.com to see a selection of Halloween and Harvest decorations.

 

  

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9 comments

  1. I am a chandler – that is a candlemaker in layman’s terms, and some of your instructions are downright dangerous.
    Let’s start with the containers – not all glass containers are safe for use as candles. Some are just not able to handle the heat that is generated by melted wax. They can crack under the stress, break, and cause serious injury.
    Second – colorants that are not specifically designed for candles are DANGEROUS. Especially pigments as they can clog the wick and create a FIRE HAZARD.
    Scent – different waxes have different capability of handling scent. You don’t know what scent is left in your left over wax, nor what kind of scent it is; in other words, you don’t know what you’re starting with. Too much fragrance oil can cause a FIRE HAZARD
    Wicks – you mention using soy wax. Is it designed for container candles or is is designed for votive or pillars or do you even know? The proper wick should be used with the proper wax; there are wicks that are manufactured specifically for use with soy wax – did you know that? If you use the incorrect wick – size or type, you can create a FIRE HAZARD!
    Container – your container for melting may have been designed specifically for candle making, but it is the least of your worries. A metal coffee can will do as well; the only thing missing is the handle.

    In fact – just about everything you have advised can create a FIRE HAZARD. It’s one thing to do this kind of thing for yourself, but to advise others to do so without doing the proper research is foolhardy at best. Please do your research before you advocate this kind of activity. The way you tell others to do it is a DANGEROUS undertaking for anyone who takes your advice as gospel. Trying to save money is one thing, but this could lead to more than saving money on candles; it could lead to a fire which could cause loss of a lot more.

    I hope your homeowner’s insurance is paid up and covers this kind of foolishness.

    • Ann..I do agree with your post as those are some important things to take into consideration and I too knew they were wrong..but I chose to just bring up the colorant. The glass is very important to know because filing them too many times can also break down it do ability..But the most important thing about your post in my eyes is you are knowledgeable and your knowledge needs to be shared but you could have been a little kinder in sharing it..It’s not what you said but how you said it..Now did you ever think about that?..JMO

  2. Great DIY Rheney, thank you! I love any project that encourages peeps to re-purpose or use something leftover. I too am a candle fanatic.

  3. Hi..I am a candemaker of 15 plus years. I do have one thing I disagree with that you posted..Using crayons for colorant. Although it will work it isn’t a wise thing to do. The crayon coloring can clog the wick therefore keeping the candle from burning properly..

    I hope I haven’t stepped on any toes with this..

  4. How do you fill the sunken area around the wick as it is drying/hardening? I’ve always struggled with this problem. Any advice is welcome! Thanks!

    • I haven’t poured in a while,but you need to google the temperature. But basically all you do is reheat your wax (this is the temp. you need to google) and top it off… It will remelt the hardened candle top and adhere to it making a new top.. Or better yet go to YOU TUBE and look up candlemakiing..it will show you how to retop and tell you the temp your reheated wax needs to be..HOPE THIS HELPS

  5. I’m confused by the coloring instructions. The author says they use color blocks for colorant, but don’t explain what color blocks are or how to use them. They say to add the colorant while the soy wax cools off the burner. Are the color blocks solid and instantly melt in warm wax?

    Other than that I have no problem with the article. Of course, one should never leave a candle burning unattended.

  6. Hi all! Thanks so much for your comments. Please allow me to say that this DIY article was in NO way intended to be an in-depth study of candle-making or even an extremely detailed tutorial. It was a cursory explanation of how you can make your own candles. Please note how everything you mentioned, Ann, was taken completely out of context. I stated I re-used glass jars that previously held candles – not just any glass and I certainly never said “use whatever glass you like.” The Mason Jars used in the demo are completely acceptable to hold candles. You make a great point, Marcia, about the number of times you re-use them and I thank you for setting the readers straight on that! Also about using crayons. I have never used them myself so, in retrospect, I should have left that out. I apologize if anyone was misled by that comment!
    I also repeatedly stated “read the instructions accompanying whatever products you purchase” or something to that effect. I advised to pour to the proper temperature – I never specified what temperature because they vary based on the type of wax. I said I used soy wax flakes – I didn’t state a brand because I assumed folks trying this on their own would do their own research when looking up which type of soy wax flakes to buy. Sure, I could have said “use a wax specifically designed for container candles.” I probably should have, in retrospect. I apologize for leaving that out.
    Finally, although I said you can melt down the wax remnants and reuse the jars, I never said mix in what you’ve melted into the new jars! I would never advise that – I was simply letting people know that just because there’s leftover wax in their jars that they don’t have to throw them away. And indeed, when I did the photos and tutorial, you’ll notice that I started from scratch – no old wax was ever incorporated.
    At the end of the day, this was a post written in conjunction with my position as a DIY writer and there were certain guidelines we had to follow as a part of that position. Certain things we were best advised to include and omit.
    I have been a full-time chandler for the last year and I have to say, Ann, that despite the specific nuances I addressed here, I fully stand behind my candle-making 101 instructions. In an extremely superficial, cursory, not at all overly specific or detailed sort of way.
    BETH – I apologize for the lack of specificity in the color blocks. We had a word count guideline and that was one of the things that just received a mention due to the word count constraints. You can purchase color blocks or dye chips – Candlescience and The Flaming Candle Company are two of my favorite companies to use – and they have more details on their websites. Please research them! But basically, once you add the correct amount of colorant – it varies based on the type of wax you use (soy typically results in more pastel colors and requires much more colorant to achieve a vibrant shade than say, a paraffin) and the amount of wax you are trying to color, among other things that Ann may or may not choose to point out – it will melt slowly in the wax.
    Definitely didn’t intent this to be so long – I just came across these comments today for the first time and felt they needed to be addressed. Thanks for reading!

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