Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Recycled Candles In Canning Jars

I've been making recycled candles for some time now. I buy them cheaply at yard sales and second hand stores and sometimes even get them free. I save all my candle butts, wax and bits as well. melt it all down and make new candles. I've never had any trouble with the mixing of scents and they always turn out quite nice.

Recently I came across a lovely blog where she melted down wax and made a beautiful candle in a canning jar. I see them for sale often enough but had never tried it. I have a bit of a problem using a canning jar ( precious food storage device ) for candles but hers looked so pretty I decided to try it. My usual methods are making votives in metal molds, making loafs in loaf molds and making dipped tapers (which take forever but are my favorites). I experimented a bit with the canning jars and I have to say I really like them. They're easy to make and I love the look.
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Assemble everything needed, including a jar of aloe & comfrey :) break up the old candles as much as possible. They'll still melt if left whole but it takes a long time. I try to pull out and save as much of the wicks as possible but sometimes I can't get them out so I just leave them.
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I use a double boiler made of my water bath canner and an old pot. I have 2 canning racks and turn one upside down on the other to keep the old pot up and fill with water to just under halfway on the pot. I started the wax to melt while I prepared the jars and other things.
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I prepared the jars like canning, by heating them in boiling water. Dried them and set them up with wicks held in place by saved popsicle sticks. I have a bunch of weighted 6 inch wicks but you could use any wick and glue it down with a little melted wax then proceed as usual.
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The candles look funky while melting and take quite awhile to melt. but don't give up on them, even when the color is brown they turn out really cool. I stir them occasionally and work on something else nearby, like a painting or teas.
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When they're melted I pour the wax through a sieve, to remove the caca bits, and into an old aluminum coffee pot. Which makes it much easier to pour into the jars or molds. I also use the coffee pot for the dipped tapers because it's deep enough. It has a handle which I use to hang it on the side of the WBC so it doesn't fall over and keeps the wax liquid while dipping. If I add any scent I do that now, after the wax has been filtered.
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I use an old spoon (saved just for candle making) to scrape out the caca bits and discard what can't be reused. It makes you wonder what the candles will look like.


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Then I carefully pour the wax into the molds and jars. It's not easy to keep from dripping any of the sides and if I do drip I wait until they've cooled completely to try and clean it off. At least the wax and soap spatters come off the floor easier than the paints drips :)


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It's hard to see with this picture but they turned out wonderfully. The wax is clear and rich and the scents are divine. the way I scent the recycled candles is to wait until they're melted together and smell them. I name them after whatever they smell like to me and only add oils or herbs if I think they need it. Very often they don't need anything.
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The finished products. I ended up with 3 different scents tonight. The very dark red is Spiced Pine, I added nothing to it, it just smelled spicy with a hint of pine. The medium brick colored ones are Apple Jack, they had a hint of apple so I added a bit of Ginger and Cloves. And the last, bright red ones are Strawberry Dreams, they smelled like strawberry so I added a bit of Damiana.
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They all came out very well i think and I plan to put some in the market and see if they sell. If they do I may pick up more canning jars and try some more. they would be a wonderful thing to add to a pantry of preps. Who says preparedness nuts can't be chic as well :)
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6 comments:

Clint W said...

This is awesome, thank you. I've been wondering what to do with some of my old candles like this. I don't throw them away because I always dream of doing something like this to them someday. Where about in MO. do you live? I live in Tulsa and frequent the Ozarks, especially Eureka Springs Ark. I think there's a market for your candles, especially with wanna be hippies like me!

Linda said...

Oh wow! That was really neat!

Kim said...

I can't make myself sacrifice canning jars for this. But there is normally a wonderful assortment of cheap random jars (or jars from family recycling) that I'm willing to use for this. Especially those that look like canning jars but have different sized lids.

Grace said...

neat, I might try this sometime after I have saved up enough leftover wax.

JoyceAnn said...

Wow , those candles look great , I've got to make some , I've saved old candles for years now , planning to do this myself. You've made it look so easy with the clear instructions. I need to get busy. Thanks for posting this wonderful information.

~ Warmest Blessings ~

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