Making Reclaimed Candles, Part One

All candles in my shop, with the ONLY exception being beeswax ones, are made from reclaimed wax. Although paraffin wax is a by-product in and of itself, it is quite bad for the environment, and is produced is such quantities that it ends up in charity shops or on car boot stalls, where the colours and scents become faded. Once that candle is unattractive, and therefore useless, it surely ends up in landfill.

I hate the idea of anything ending up in landfill, and I’m always looking ways to prevent the odd or unusual items that we just don’t think of as rubbish in the conventional terms, ending up there. There are plenty of people who make inner tubes into bags, for example. I wanted to do something different, plus the ability to make my own spell and/or ritual candles whenever I wanted to, and to my exact specifications has intense appeal to me.

I’m a Virgo. It will be done my way or not at all.

So, first in the process is collecting your waxes. First, be aware that all waxes are not the same. If two pieces feel, look or smell (aside from added fragrances) different to each other, don’t melt them together. It makes your finished candles look lumpy and scarred at best.

Second, never overlook opportunities. Most of my sources of wax are stuff that usually ends up in the bin, because a spent candle is surely rubbish, right?

Nope. I can, will, and have picked out the tiny remnants of those little tin foil tealight cap things. And promptly recycled those.

(One of the beautiful things you guys do for me is send me donations of rubbish. I love it when you send me broken and/or used candles. When I get physical premises, I plan to open a scheme whereby if you give me x grammes of candle waste you get x percent off your next candle, but that’s a time in the future.)

Places to obtain reclaimed wax:

  • Family and friends: Ask for both used and unused and unwanted candles. Everyone’s got a candle that was once too pretty to burn, so they displayed it on their windowsill like a lemon, and now it has no colour and/or scent.
  • Car boot sales. Weird looking candles must be one of the world’s most unwanted gifts.
  • Charity shops. Don’t dismiss Halloween or other novelty candles, or those big packs of tealights.
  • Speaking of Halloween, it’s often worth purchasing a small amount of black dye, because black candles are hard to come across.

Once you have collected your candles, and trust me if you say you are collecting unwanted candles you will drown under your friends and family’s sun-bleached horrors soon enough, you need to sort and clean them.

If you have candles of a certain colour, and the colour of the candle goes all the way through the wax, keep these aside to use in place of expensive candle dyes. They will dye white or cream coloured wax a lovely paler version of their colour. This sort of candles is either something expensive like a Yankee Candle, or those cheap witchy tapers that you get from metaphysical shops.

If you have candles of a certain colour, and the colour is actually wax painted or glued onto the outside, you get the joys of stripping all of that outside off and boxing it up to also use as a dye. This sort of candle is what you usually find in Asda’s or similar places.

If the candle looks like this, however: (I will insert picture when WordPress decides to behave)

That’s probably paint or some other noxious substance which will stick to the bottom of your dish and/or disintergrate and ruin your candles. You’ll need to scrape that off and dispose of it. Sorry.

If there is a black substance in it from where the wick has been extinguished incorrectly, that’s got to be scraped out too.

If you’re lucky enough to pick up any Yankee Candles or something of that ilk, whether whole or otherwise, if they’ve kept their scent, keep them for their scent. That means, especially with white or cream coloured ones, that you can scent other candles without having to purchase a huge collection of essential and fragrance oils .

Break large candles up to remove the wicks and sustainers, but you can pull the sustainer and wick out the bottom of a tealight once you’ve removed the casing and you don’t need to break it. Save any usable wicks.

Next time, we will look at tools and equipment you will need to make candles and wax melts.

Remember, the September sale at TwiceResurrected is still on – use the code September15 for 30% off.

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