Tuesday, October 23, 2012

something old, something new

okay, let's talk about candles. every october, i get obsessed with them. although lots of people have allergies or sensitivity to the smells in candles, so i only burn them when i am here alone. which is almost all of the time. doh.

anyway, i decided to recycle some of my old burned up candles a couple weekends ago. it's SO easy, so i thought i would share. for the record, the candles i used were several years old from pier one...they now retail from $9 to $11 each. the prob with them (and a lot of candles) is that the middles burn down, leaving a weird shell of unused wax.

 which became the basis for my new creations. these guys were pretty much 'shelled.' ha.

 the next thing you need is a new wick - you can get em at hobby lobby, but i ordered these from the internet a few years ago - they are short, coated wicks, which last a little longer than the uncoated kind. candle wicks have a small metal base on them, which you can attach to the bottom of your candle mold (or container).

 this is a thrifted pottery bowl, maybe 5" in diameter and 4" tall. i decided to add three wicks to the bowl, so that it might burn down a little more evenly. there are lots of ways to attach the wicks, i actually used a teeny tiny bit of window putty! but you can also use a chopstick and tape, which you run along the top of the container and lean the wicks up against. it's not too hard to do, trust me. just be careful to get the wicks to stand up as straight as possible.

 the next thing you need is a 'double boiler' - or a way to melt the old candles. i have a small metal pan with a handle that was actually from a craft kit in the 70s, but any small saucepan would do. i do like that it has a 'pour' spout, which makes things not so messy.

put the pan in a larger fry pan half full of water on the stove. the larger pan of water will keep your wax from scorching. heat on low to medium to get it going. wha-la. before long, the old candles are melted and good - you can fish the old wick out with a chopstick at this point.

 be careful when you pour. hot wax is VERY hot. i would not suggest having small children or pets around at this point.

 depending on the size of your container, the wax will start to set up pretty quickly, this photo was taken after about an hour. one thing - most candle makers do a '2 pour' deal - the first layer sometimes settles and makes an uneven surface around the wick. in this case, since i plan to burn the candles right away, i did not care.

i could have done the first pour kind of lower in the container, then added a 2nd pour over the top once the first layer was set. you might want to do this if you are picky, or if you want to give them away as gifts.

and there you go! less than a half hour of work, start to finish, and a whole new candle instead of throwing something away.

recycling is actually kind of rewarding, isn't it?


Rea said...

That's a really cool idea! I'm not much of a candle burner though, so I guess it would take me about 10 years or more to save up enough 'shells' to make a new one. :D

bobbione8y said...

yeah, at that point it might become more a case of 'hoarding' than 'recycling' - it's a very fine line for me ;)

Karen said...

I LOVE this! What about candles in jars? I have quite a stash of those.

Karen said...

And also, this post reminds me that I have a housewarming gift for you. I wonder where that is??

cherk said...

I love those, genius.

bobbione8y said...

karen - i think you can melt candles in glass in the microwave. better google that before you try it, though :)

maybe you could write a descriptive blog post about the housewarming gift, so that i get some of the love, at least?!

sigh. i still have a baby gift in my closet for a 10 year old.

Karen said...

That is awesome. I promise I will get you this gift before ten years pass. I'd love to deliver it in person.

Also, always happy to share the love.

Karen said...

Thank you for the baby gift confession, now I don't feel quite so guilty.

K~ said...

Sammy and I are going to do that this winter :) K~