If you are anything like me, over the years you have collected a ton of candles. My love of candles has me burning them almost daily. Guests at my home know that I burn votives or elegant, tapered candles at dinner parties for ambiance. I burn aromatherapy candles for rejuvenation, and I love to burn lightly fragranced candles all around my home and office for a sense of calm and warmth. My love for candles makes me an easy person to shop for gifts.
Also, like me, if you love candles, you’ll want to get the most from each of them. That means learning everything there is to know about how to trim wicks, how to avoid tunneling, keeping the flames away from moving air, and the benefits of buying multi-wick candles. Then, what you have remaining after doing everything right with your candle will make you wonder, what I do with this beautiful empty candle jar?
Don’t worry. I am a huge proponent of recycling old candle jars for other uses and never consider them junk. In this article I will give you steps to thoroughly clean your old candle jars and ideas for repurposing them.
To recycle used candle jars for home use, decor, or holding another candle, you will have to clean your jar. Noticeable dark soot marks from flames and that ½ inch of the candle may be left in the jar. If your candle came with a lid, that usually only requires soap and water to clean, and remember to dry it thoroughly before re-using.
Cleaning used candle jars
First, I will discuss and give step by step for cleaning and using empty candle jars.
Some materials needed to clean and then decorate old candle jars are:
- We will decorate three different sizes of used candle jars
- 1 small jar (2-4 oz.)
- 1 medium jar (5-7 oz.)
- 1 large jar (8 oz. and up)
- Dish soap
- Butter knife, spoon, and fork
- Access to a freezer
- Hot/boiling water
- Paper towels
- Wax paper
- Small paper plates (at least 4)
- Newspaper or magazine
- 1-inch ribbon in your favorite color, approx. 20 inches long
- Liquid glue
- Book (for weight)
- Small paintbrush
- Dollar Store pillar candle holder
- E6000 glue
- Individually wrapped candy
- 3 shades of glitter
There are two very easy ways to remove debris and leftover candle wax from a used jar.
The first is by using hot water.
- Place candle jar in a clean sink.
- Use a fork to poke holes in the remaining wax.
- Pour boiling water into the candle jar.
- Let candle sit/soak with hot water, and old wax will melt and float to the top.
- Once the wax has settled to the top and hardens, use a spoon to scrape hardened wax away to toss out.
- Use warm water and dish soap to clean the jar thoroughly.
- Place cleaned jar on a paper towel to dry.
If your candle was soft wax or soy, you can use hot water (not boiling) to melt the wax. Follow all steps above, except you don’t need to boil water for soft wax.
Another modern method of removing debris from used candle jars is by placing old jars in the freezer.
- Place used candle jar in the freezer for several hours.
- Once the candle is frozen, use a butter knife to loosen hardened wax and remove.
- Wash jar using dish soap and warm water.
- Place jar on a paper towel to dry.
Use a paper towel to make sure that every inch of your old candle jar is completely dry, inside and out, before beginning to decorate or reuse.
What you can make from old candle jars
Think about what you want to do with your old candle jars before you begin to decorate them. There are hundreds of uses but here are some projects that I have done with old candle jars have been:
- Makeup brush holder
- Teabag holder
- Body scrub jar
- Desktop pencil/pen holder
- Marker holder
- Large kitchen utensil holder
- Safety pin holder
- Flower vase
- Toothbrush/toothpaste holder
- Coin collector
- Candy jar
- Hair accessories holder
- Dog treat containers
- Pantry item containers (flour/sugar)
- Toolbox small item holder
- Prayer jar
- Seashell holder
- Gift holder
I usually begin by sizing up my cleaned jars for the project that I have in mind. Larger used candle jars are great for kitchen items, and larger objects and smaller used jars are great for personals or toiletries.
Here we will showcase and explain how to use recycled candle jars to make a safety pin container, a candy jar, and a makeup brush holder. Remember, all the materials are listed above.
Safety Pin Container
I will be using my smallest cleaned candle jar for the safety pin container – the 2 oz. jar. It came with a beautiful silver lid, so storing pins in it is practical. The steps for making a beautiful jar to hold safety pins are:
- Measure the jar by height, from top to bottom.
- Using newspapers or magazines, look for articles or print that are interesting to you. The printed paper could be an advertisement, favorite fragrance picture, headliner, or just some random printing.
- Measure and mark the newspaper or magazine page 1 inch less in height than your jar. For instance, if your jar is 3 inches high, you will measure the paper 2 inches.
- Cut a long piece of paper along your measurement line.
- Test the paper against your jar to make sure it is precisely the look you want.
- Add a quarter size amount of glue to a paper plate.
- Using your small paintbrush, dab the brush in the glue.
- Paint the bottom 2 inches of the jar with glue.
- Working fast, place the paper around the jar until the ends meet.
- Use scissors to cut the excess paper off.
- Put the empty, now decorated jar on a piece of wax paper until it is completely dry (approx. 1 hour).
- Once dry, add safety pins and the top before storing with your other sewing items.
Wendy Rhalls, Pinterest
Candy jars make beautiful desk and home decor, and great gifts for family and friends alike. Recycling and decorating a used candle jar makes giving it as a gift all the more remarkable for anyone who loves candy and who doesn’t love candy. The steps to creating a candy jar from my middle-sized used candle jar are:
- Remove tags and thoroughly wash your tapered candle holder (from Dollar Store).
- Hand dry or let it dry completely before using.
- Carefully open your E6000 glue.
- Notice that your tapered candle holder will have a top where the tapered candle would go and a bottom that flares out more prominent than the top.
- On the top side of the tapered holder, trace the rim with your E6000 glue. E6000 is made for glass to stick to glass. Do not over glue but completely cover that rim.
- Put the tapered holder down so that the glue side is up.
- Hold your used candle jar over the glued side of the tapered holder, getting it to the center of the bottom of the used candle jar.
- When you are satisfied with the placement, put the used candle jar down on the tapered candle holder’s glued side.
- Put a book or weighted item on the top of the used candle jar until it is dried – approximately 3 hours.
- Once dried, use your ribbon to measure around the center of the jar two times. Cut the ribbon there.
- With glue and steady hand, add a line of liquid glue all around the center of the jar.
- Fold your ribbon in half so that the ends are even.
- Place the ribbon around the jar directly on top of the glue one time and tie the ribbon tight.
- Let the ribbon/glue dry (approximately 30 minutes).
- Once it is dry, tie the ribbon in a bow.
- Follow steps 10-15 to add ribbon to the base of the tapered holder.
- Your beautiful candy jar is ready to be filled with candy and gift to a loved one or friend.
Makeup Brush Holder
There is nothing like the luxury, glitz, and glam that makeup can bring a woman. And to be completely honest, I love makeup about as much as I love candles. Even when its not being worn, looking at my makeup stash brings me great joy and makes me want everything around me prettier, including my makeup brush holders.
Used candle holders are perfect for recycling as makeup brush holders. To make one of these glammed-out brush holders, you will:
- Cover your work surface with newspaper, so glitter isn’t everywhere when you finish.
- Use a larger-sized used candle jar. I will be using my 10 oz. jar.
- Since the brush part of my brushes will stick up, you can use any color glitter you like – since you can see what’s in the jar because it’s sticking up. I used three different shades of blue.
- Determine where you want your colors to go on your jar and use your highlighter to make small markings as your guide.
- For an ombre effect like the jar shown below, mark your jar in 3 even sections from bottom to top.
- Pro tip: you’ll want to start glittering this jar from the bottom up.
- Add a dollop of liquid glue to one of your paper plates.
- Hold the jar with one hand and the small paintbrush in the other, paint glue all around the jar from the bottom up to the first line marker.
- Get the color glitter that you have decided to begin with and open it.
- Again, holding the jar with one hand over your paper plate, sprinkle the glue-covered bottom portion of your jar with glitter until that bottom portion is completely covered.
- Gently put your jar down with the open part (mouth) down on paper.
- Let that glittered portion completely dry (approx. 1 hour) before moving on.
- Fold your paper plate to put excess glitter that fell off the jar back into its container.
- Repeat steps 7-13 for the second color of glitter.
- When the second color is completely dry (approx. 1 hour), hold the old candle jar at the bottom to brush glue on the jar’s top portion and around the rim.
- Sprinkle the upper portion of the jar with your third color glitter and shake excess off on your paper plate.
- Put candle jar down right side up so that the top can dry (approx. 1 hour)
- Once all sections of your makeup brush holder are completely dry, use a dry paper towel to wipe the inside of the jar to avoid excess glitter getting all over your makeup brushes.
- Your makeup brush jar is now ready for use.
As you can see, creating beautiful recycled pieces from used candle jars is simple and you can get so creative with making different kinds of holders. Continue to burn your candles and know that there is a whole world of recyclers who do not think of empty candle jars as junk but as wonderful, refurbished pieces for the home or office.