Have you ever wondered what to do with all the old bits of melted candle you end up with? Melt them together and make your own fantastic new candles. They make great gifts, are easy to make and there’s very little preparation. Add colour and a few drops of your favourite essential oils for fabulous scented ones. Container candles and tea cup candles make perfect gifts for your friends and family
You will need
- Double boiler
- Old candles or wax
- Pouring pots
- Moulds/glass jars
- Wax dye/wax crayons
- Essential oils
- Old wooden spoon
Step 1 Prepare your double boiler
Don’t worry if you haven’t got one, you can create one by using an old high-sided pan placed inside a larger pan. I find an old milk pan works well as it has a lip for pouring.
Fill the larger pan with water two thirds of the way up the side of the smaller pan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer.
Choose your mould – if you are planning on making lots of candles it might be worth investing in professional moulds, but if you’re trying it out for the first time you don’t have to both. You can use old mugs, glasses, aluminium tins (smooth tins only as the ridges can make it difficult to get your finished candle out) etc. Just make sure that the top of the mould is slightly wider than the base – otherwise you could have problems getting the candle out when it’s set.
Step 3 Prepare your mould
Make sure you mould is really clean and dry and then grease it with a little vegetable oil. Add your wick. You can either make your own wicks from cotton string, or you can buy specially prepared wicks from your local craft shop. Attach the wick to a stick or pencil and hang over your mould so that the wick reaches to the bottom.
Step 4 Prepare your wax
You can use left over pieces of candle (or specially prepared wax that you can buy from good craft shops). If you’re using old candles make sure that your remove any old pieces of wick. Break up the wax using either a knife or a hammer. If you are using a mix of coloured candles, try to keep to roughly the same colours. If you mix up lots of colours you will end up with sludgy brown candles.
Step 5 Place wax pieces in the smaller pan of the double boiler
Leave the wax to melt over a medium heat. Stir occasionally with an old wooden spoon. Remember not to leave the wax unattended as it’s flammable. Once the wax starts to melt you can add some dye (or an old wax crayon) and a few drops of essential oil.
Step 6 Pour the melted wax mixture into the prepared moulds
Then let it cool for about six hours. Keep checking on the candles. You will notice that the centre may start to sink. If so, you might want to top them up occasionally with some more melted wax.
Step 7 Remove your candle from the mould
Once your candle has set thoroughly you can remove it from its mould. To do this you can simply turn it upside down and give the mould a sharp tap. The candle should come out quite easily. If it sticks, you can immerse the candle in a bowl of warm water briefly. This will melt the outside of the candle slightly and allow it to come out.
Top tip Wax can be messy to work with and you need to be careful about getting wax onto work surfaces or floors, as dried wax can be really difficult to remove. It’s a good idea to cover your work area with newspaper.
Wax is flammable at high temperatures so make sure that you never leaving your melting wax unattended!
Also be very careful how you dispose of any unwanted wax – don’t pour any liquid was down your kitchen sink, it’ll stop up the drain. Best bet is to let it set and save it for the next session of candle making.