Any candle maker—or even candle user—will ultimately have lots of odds and ends and scraps of candles left over. You can be frugal and earth-friendly at the same time by recycling the wax.
Now wax scraps should only be recycled for certain candle projects, but here are some tips for recycling the wax.
If you've got used containers, you can recycle the candle containers too!
Time Required: Enough time to put the scraps in a can and melt them down
What You Need
- Scraps of wax or burned out candle bottoms
- Melt Pot
- Tongs, chopstick or fork
- A tub or pail to pour wax (if storing for later) or molds to re-pour new candles
- Separate the scraps and pieces into an unscented and/or uncolored pile and a scented and/or colored pile.
- Starting with the unscented/uncolored pile, trim off as much of the burned wick as possible. Remove any wick tabs or labels as well.
- Brush or scrape off any dirt or dirty sections of wax.
- Put the pieces in your wax melting pot and slowly melt them down.
- Once melted, remove all of the wicks and wick tabs from the melted wax. You can use a chopstick, tongs or a fork.
- If there is a lot of debris still in the wax, you can filter it through an old flour sifter, or another type of strainer—or you can just pour off the good part and discard the rest.
- Once the wax is clean, either pour it into a tub or pail for later use. Alternatively, fragrance and color it to make candles as you normally would.
- If your wax is colored and scented, you can still reuse it, you just have to figure in the extra color and scent. Mixes of colors will usually come out some shade of brown. Mixes of scents can be wonderfully complex, or just plain awful.
- Unless you've only recycled scraps from a particular kind of wax (i.e. just the scraps from votive candles) you may have a combination of different waxes in this mix. This can be a challenge when you re-use the wax. Use recycled wax for projects if you don't mind if they burn poorly, like outdoor bucket candles or dipped candle torches.
- Depending on where the scraps came from, you may not know exactly what sort of wax you actually have, or it may be a mixture of waxes. The best bet would be to pour the same kind of candles as the ones you're recycling.
- With colored or scented wax scraps, you can make torch candles, citronella candles, or use the wax to test out new molds or new pouring techniques.
- Try to coordinate scented scraps into similar scent families (eg. citrus, floral, spicy) - that will help simplify the scent mixtures. You may even find a blend you really like!
- When pouring new candles with new wax, put all of the little drips and spills and extra wax into a large container. You're recycling before the candles are even burned.