The Brilliantly Frugal Way to Reuse Old Candles to Make Wax Melts

Candles and wax melts are so incredibly expensive. Too expensive in my opinion, but I’m obsessed with them. I love to have candles lit or wax warmer on at the end of the day to make the house smell really nice and relaxing, but also provide some nice relaxing low light to wind down. During my season of getting laid off and being unemployed a few years ago, I really wasn’t able to justify purchasing new candles or wax melts for my house at full price. For many of them, I used coupons, but sometimes I would be out and didn’t have any coupons to buy more. It also frustrated me that I would have a decent amount of wax left at the bottom of some of the candles or in my wax warmer when the scent was gone. It seemed like a waste to throw that wax and jars away. I knew that people get out the wax and reuse the jars, but I still felt guilty about throwing the wax away, so I figured out a way to reuse old candles to make wax melts from the leftovers.

1. Gather all of your old Candles.

Ask your friends and family for more if you can. You’ll be surprised how many people have hoards that they’re happy to give. You can also ask in Facebook groups, like your local Buy Nothing Project, or on Nextdoor. Again, you’d be surprised how many of your neighbors also keep these and aren’t sure what to do with them.

2. Order cheap pre-waxed wicks on Amazon.

I like these. I purchased this pack 3 years ago and haven’t had to buy another pack yet.

3. You need to get the wax out of all of the old candle jars.

You can freeze the jars and try to pop the wax out with a knife once they’re cold. I don’t find that method super effective myself and I feel like I’m going to accidentally hurt myself that way. Instead, I boil water in my electric kettle (if you don’t have an electric kettle, you can just use a regular pot) and put boiling water in each jar, filling it up to as close to the top as I can. The wax will heat up and bubble up to the top like in the video above. Let the wax cool at the top and then just pop it out. You may need to do some of the jars more than once to get all of the wax out. Sometimes they’re stubborn.

Brilliantly Frugal Tip: Put the jars on a few old towels. I tend to spill a bunch of water when I do this.

4. Clean the Jars.

You’ll need to scrape or pop out the leftover wicks and any bits and glue at the bottom. Then scrub the jars inside and out with hot water, and abrasive Scrub Daddy and Dawn dish soap. This may take some scrubbing to get all of the glue, wax, oil, stickers, and soot off. I also then like to run them through the dishwasher after for good measure.

5. Gather Your Other Supplies.

You need an old pot that you don’t mind getting wax in, pencils to prop the wicks, and a clean tin or aluminum can (I used an empty and cleaned refried bean can with the label taken off), and tongs. And a mold to put the remelted wax in. I use a silicone ice cube tray that I got from Family Dollar.

6. Group Your Waxes.

You want to try to put like waxes together. For example, you want all of your soy wax together, regular wax, and then beeswax separate. Then group again by scents. So, you want summer scents together, winter or fall scents separate, etc. The reason for this is that different wax types don’t necessarily mix well. Also, you’ll probably need to mix the wax from more than one candle to make sure you have full molds.

7. Put a cup or two of water at the bottom of the pot.

Then put the first chunks of wax that you’d like to be the base of your first candle into the tin or can. Then put the can into the water and pot to melt the wax. Use the tongs to maneuver the can if you need to because the can will be HOT. You may need to swirl around the hot wax every once in a while to help the wax melt down.

Pro Tip: Put a lid over the tin can to push it down to the bottom of the pot and keep it from floating. This will help the wax melt much faster.

8. Pour your wax.

As the wax melts in the can, use the tongs to lift the can and pour the hot wax periodically into the mold. Keep melting wax and pouring the waxes into the mold until they are full. If the wax doesn’t have much sent left, feel free to add a drop or two of your favorite essential oils. This is a project that I usually do on a weekend over a couple of days and I listen to podcasts, or music, or play Netflix on my tablet while I’m doing it.

10. Enjoy your new wax melts!

Feel great about the fact that you recycled and reused old candles to make wax melts instead of throwing all of that away or your friends, family, and neighbors throwing it all away. The best part is, that you can do this several times over, this wax can be reused again and again. You also saved several dollars per mold that you didn’t have to buy! Your original candle or bar of wax melts can go so much further now.

Wax melts are also a great way to elevate your space with very little money. You can read more about decorating on a small budget here.

If you want to read more about how to reuse old candles to make whole new candles, check out the post here.

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