make jar candles {from old candlesticks}

What do you get when you combine daily hot temps with tall candles that aren’t ever burned?

A hot wonky candle mess.  haha  I’ll be here all day.  😉
I bought these candles about a year ago on clearance for pennies … and have just never burned them.  I love the colors and other than their new and not improved shape, there isn’t anything wrong with them so I figured I’d try my hand at making them into functional candles.

Insert lots of internet searching for wax melting tips links here.  I first read all of the safety tips and down right scary wax melting deets here and had second thoughts.  Things like double boiler, candle thermometer and the ever scary ‘flash point’ aren’t really anything I’m familiar with.

But then, I read this apparently easy step by step tutorial here and with some safety goggles, gloves and maybe head to toe clothing, I figured I’d give it a go.

First things first, I was able to salvage the wax and the wick from my wonky candles.  Booyah!
1.  Using a serrated knife, slowly cut into the candle perpendicular to the wick.  When the knife is almost halfway through, the wax will break on its own.  STOP CUTTING.

2.  Now, cut the candle down the middle, in the same direction as the wick, again, until the wax breaks all of the way through.

3.  Pull apart the wax from the wick.  Please note the little starred piece, my first failed attempt at muscling my way through the wax.  I pretty much just got a little wax nub.  Nice.

Ok – now that all of your wax is ready it’s time to pull out your double boiler.
Yeah, I don’t have a double boiler either, so I used a cleaned out aluminum can and sauce pan that we rarely use.

TIP!!! No matter how careful you are, be prepared to get wax in your saucepan and not ever want to use it again for food.  It might be a good time to pick up an old saucepan at a thrift shop. I’m just sayin’.

This part, the actual wax melting part, was the step that made me the most nervous but it proved to be harmless.

With a watchful eye on my slowly melting wax …
 … I prepped my clear little glass jars I was going to make into my new cool candles.
Truth be told, this wonderful little tip came in a little moment of panic and impatience after I had already poured my first batch of melted wax, had started melting batch #2 and still needed to hold onto that silly wick because it’s not like the wax re-hardens in seconds.

You can see the first part of the first candle setting in the background.

TIP!!!  If you don’t have a wick with a little metal stand to hold it up, wrap it around a twist tie laid over the top of your soon to be new candle so you don’t frustrate yourself just holding the silly wick.  😉

Follow-up TIP!!!  If you have any spare tea lights floating around those usually have the little metal stand for the wick.  (Too bad I didn’t learn this until after I made my candles.)

Turns out I didn’t take too many more in-process photos.  Once your water gets hot enough to melt the wax things move pretty quickly.

Melt wax, pour wax, rinse and repeat.
I wanted my new candles to be slightly different so I layered the 3 colors I had at different levels.
When it turned out I didn’t have enough wax to fill my two little jars, I reached into my tea light stash and melted down a bunch of white tea lights. A couple things to note here.
1. This is when I discovered the tea lights had the metal stands for the wick … too little too late.  And …
2. When you pour melted wax over not entirely melted wax it takes on some of the color.  Score for me since it created a nice lighter blue color … the starred section above.

Once the wax does melt entirely, it will be sunken a bit in the center around the wick.  It doesn’t bother me at all, once they get used a few times it will all even out.  But you could add more wax to fill it in if you so desired.

Pin It

I am pretty smitten with these guys, and love how they look in our new rooftop bedroom.

Pin It

How about you, have you ever made your own candles?  How did yours turn out Whitney?

And, if you haven’t seen the whole of the rooftop bedroom pretty please check it out here.

I am sharing this project here and at: BNOTP, DIY Show Off, Home Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, Remodelaholic, Today’s Creative and Sugar Bee Crafts.

TDC Before and After


  1. says

    Looks pretty good to me!! I have bags & bags of tea lights, too. Every time I see them on sale I buy them, if we ever have a flood like in Noah’s time, I’m prepared!!!! lol

    Just sent you a connection request on Hometalk :)

  2. says

    Melting wax on a hot Caribbean island – now that’s impressive!

    Of course, every rooftop bedroom needs romantic candlelight! Fade to black (with the flicker of fabulous candles) … the rest isn’t for blogland to see!

  3. says

    Thanks for the shout! Wellllll……haha I havent made mine yet! I decided to make something else for the Pass it On Project b/c 1. I want it to be a surprise and after I commented I kind of screwed up the surprise part, and 2. I was afraid they’d melt in the mail! But, my plan is pretty different b/c was just going to use the remainder from previous jars and buy a couple wicks but you’ve definitely given me some very helpful tips!! Your’s look awesome!

  4. says

    Hmm, there are so many candles in the clearance sections…especially around the post holidays.

    My latest candle DIY project is super easy.
    Take empty small 1 cup Ball jars.
    Spread around room.
    Insert tea lights.

    Love :)

  5. says

    those are so cool! and i have had that happen to me before when i forgot about some candles and left them in the trunk of my hot car…. now i know i can save them! 😉

  6. says

    They look great! I made some jar candles yesterday too! It’s really not that scary, I don’t bother with goggles or safety clothes, I’ve never had a mishap, that’ll only happen if you put the wax in the saucepan itself. I used a saucepan of boiling water with a smaller saucepan inside (dedicated candle wax pan!) in which I put the wax.

  7. says

    Very neat! I have a bunch of half melted candles in my stash – good thing to know that they can be salvaged into something pretty :-)

    • says

      Bargain-ista — based on your name you are clearly a girl after my own heart. Yes, I reused the wick, frugal should have been my middle name. :)

  8. Andrea says

    I love this. I always see separate candles in colors I like but never the combinations I like. Now I can make my own combination. Thanks.

  9. Gina says

    Cute project. My favorite thing I have done with candles is to press flowers, glue them on the outside and then cover with a little wax- turned out very pretty. Thanks!

  10. says

    Thank you so much for the tutorial and all the inspiration. I wanted to let you know that I featured you on my Fun Find Friday post for tomorrow. I found you on Pinterest.

  11. says

    I thought I might offer some suggestions as a retired candle maker. I would think you might have trouble getting the candles to burn evenly since container candles and pillar candles are two different mixes of wax. its not nearly soft enough. candle making in general – when you get the dip in the middle after it cools, try to go ahead and fill it with more wax. candles need to burn evenly all the way across the container in order to burn evenly down. you’ll have less waist and drowning wicks this way.
    you did great with figuring out the way to hold up the wick while it cools. great post and use of pictures. i’m learning to blog myself so i can use all the help i can get. have a great one!

  12. andrea cammarata says

    Your thrifty find projects are always the best! I mean what you create from so little is plain and simply AMAZING!!!! thanks so much for linking up with junkin joe!!! sending hugs to all and tons of hugs to the M&M team!!! hope they are both feeling great!


Let me know what you think!