Zero Waste Candle Making

Candle-making 

is a great way to stay busy while creating something useful. Generally, buying candle wax means buying wax packaged in plastic. If that’s the only way you can find candle wax, try to buy the biggest bag possible and reuse the bag as much as you can.

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But there are plenty of other waxes you can use for candles that you might already have lying around the house.

Where to get wax:

If you already have some mostly-used-up candles home, you can accumulate the wax and make a brand new candle.

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Wax crayon nubs can be melted down as well:

crayonphoto: @nadydelarosaphotography

I’ve even heard of someone making candles from red, wax Babybel cheese casings.But if you are purchasing new wax, try to chose a sustainable wax that suits your ethics. Soy and coconut oil waxes are much more environmentally-friendly than paraffin wax which is highly unsustainable due to it being a non-renewable resource

Where to get wicks:

If you don’t have a supply of wicks laying around, perhaps you have a ball of cotton string. Using a cut piece of hemp or cotton string and some melted wax, you can easily make your own wicks, and quite cheaply I might add.Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 2.33.36 AMInstructions:

  • Cut the string to the appropriate size, allowing for some extra room for the wick holder you are using (see below)
  • Melt wax and soak the string in it for 20 seconds.
  • Carefully remove the string and let the wick cool off.
  • Once the wick is cool and hard, it’s ready to be used.

Any unusable wick pieces can be composted — that’s why its important to use natural materials and not paraffin wax or synthetic threads.

Jars:

What jars you will use for your candles is entirely up to you! But whatever style you choose, make sure you DO NOT use anything thats plastic. As tempting as as plastic container might be to reuse, as it will probably melt and could injure someone! Instead, opt for strong glass containers, like salsa jars, baby food containers, spice jars, or even other used up candle jars.

You can also used cleaned out tin cans. I love finding vintage cans and turning them into candles. Even these cute Muir tomato sauce cans look rustic-chic.Once you select a jar, place a wick in the center and make sure it reaches the bottom of the jar. If you don’t have a wick holder, balancing it might be difficult.

picsart_03-24-034036028820532889902.jpgMetal wick holder and stick holder

 

But don’t worry, you can easily jerry-rig a wick holder just by using a stick.Simply wrap the wick a few times around the center of the stick, and position it in the middle of your jar:

Melt wax:

I’ve you’ve had glass or tin candles before, you might notice that when the wick burns out and the candle is mostly gone, there is still a layer of wax at the bottom of the glass. This chunk of glass can be difficult to remove as a solid.

Place the glass in a shallow sauce pan filled with about 2 inches of water. Simmer the water over medium-low heat until the wax is melted.Once melted, carefully pour the wax into your jar, making sure to keep the wick center. Repeat as needed.

OR if you are using wax bits, crayons, or other bits of wax, make sure to melt them in a container you do not mind getting waxy. Now I have an aluminum wax melting container:

 

But in the past, I would use a 64 ounce mason jar. Just place the container in a shallow pot of simmering water, about 1” deep, and the wax would melt in about twenty minutes or less.

You can also use a metal coffee container to melt the candle wax in, I’ve had a lot of success with this, and it is actually the way I learned to make candles.

Be careful! Especially if using glass. if the glass isn’t strong, it could break.

Once the wax is completely melted, carefully pour it into your candle containers, making sure the wick stays as close to the center as possible:

Allow to wax to cool and that’s it! You have a ready-to-burn candle at virtually no additional cost! Way to reuse and upcycle!

 

Common sense warning:

Always use good judgement whenever you have a lit flame and never leave burning candles unattended.

 

More resources:

Cruelty-Free and Eco-Friendly Wax Sources You Should Be Aware of

Make candle from used cooking oil!

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