Monday, December 13, 2010

How to make recycled candles

It has been quite some years that I have started my collection of candles leftovers.
Yes, every time we have been using a candle, I have always put in a box all the leftovers. Big candles, small candles, extremely small ones.

I thought it was a waste to throw them away and that there should have been a way to take them, melt them again and make a new candle out of it.
Some time ago, then I searched a bit on Google and I found some indications. However, I lacked time and inspiration for putting myself in action.
I decided, after consulting myself with my friend Johanna, to make the idea concrete this autumn. Not an easy thing. Work, several activities and trips have been hindering the execution, although I have finally started to collect input on how to do them (for example, where to buy all the equipment) and the items themselves and last week, we found a time to execute the plan!

Of course the first thing to do is collecting candles leftovers. If you have big pieces you can choose to put them in the freezer for a while and then smash them in small pieces with the hammer (in a plastic bowl). This might help to melt the candle faster. I didn't see a big improvement. As preparation, we have put newspaper all around the kitchen stove in order to avoid stains or other mess.

You take then an old pot (I bought it in some second hand store for 4€) and fill it quite little with water. If you put too much water the containers will float around.
I am using some metal cans for melting the candles. You can buy even some special container, but I thought this worked really nicely.
We put in each can pieces of candles of about the same color, otherwise we risk to come some really fancy disgusting color. White makes it a bit lighter.
You can melt it even if there is some metal part from the tea light candles or some leftover of the wick. You can remove them easily with a stick when the wax is melted.
I used some old bamboo sticks for stirring the melted wax.

In the meanwhile that the wax is melting we prepared the forms for the candles.
I used some old paper plate as bottom, in case the wax decided to leak out and old paper containers, like milk packages or juice packages properly cut, or toilet paper rolls, with the bottom closed by silver tape.
The only object I bought was the wick. Johanna fixed the bottom to the bottom of the form with some tape and the top was knot around a bamboo stick so that the wick was almost straight.

Once the wax was melted we poured it into the container and let it rest for a while.
I was surprised that out of a lot of candles rest just little "new" candle could be made. Hence, we decided to experiment to make stripes.
The important thing is that the candle solidify before pouring another color on.

Unfortunately, in this attempt the wax in the container seemed cold enough, but it was not, so some color went up and got mixed with the new one.

Once the wax is solid (after one day of rest), it is enough to remove the paper package and cut the wick until it is of a proper length.
I think this, for being the first experiment, was quite good and since I have been using mainly leftovers from perfumed candles, I didn't have to add any essence to the melted wax and the candle still is smelling pretty  nicely (although of a not precise odor).

Good luck!


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