My grandmother was a great keeper of stuff. When my Aunt cleared out her home they found important things: like old certificates and papers, unimportant stuff: like unread mail and newspapers, and a few gems like a jar full of knitting needles and a whole bunch of old broken candles. This bundle of broke candles made their way into my home, where they've been waiting patiently for a bit of inspiration from me.
Old broken candle can be reused to make new candles
A few weekends ago, Dave and I decided to have a date night at home and gave candle making a try. Isn't this what everyone does on a Friday date night? If you don't happen to have a supply of broken candles, look at yard sales, or other places for candles people don't want.
We started by melting the candles down in reused jars inside a large pot of water. Be careful when melting old candles that you are using the same kinds of candles (don't mix the wax type since they can melt at different temperatures) We tried to keep similar colors together, and added more candles until the wax reached the top of the jar. Ideally you would use a taller, narrow container, since these jars were just tall enough to dip a small candle.
Melt wax in old jar or tall containers in a pot of hot water
When the wax melts completely, we removed the jars carefully from the water onto a safe surface. Using the old wicks from the broken candles we started dipping the candles. After each dip into the wax, we paused for around 5 seconds before dipping the candle again to allow the wax to harden, pausing to hang the candles periodically to completely cool. If the wax started to harden, we simply returned the jar to the pot until it melted.
Dip wick into wax and hold up for 5 seconds before dipping again
VERY, VERY slowly, candles began to form. As the wax cooled, the candles formed faster and became a bit lumpier. All told, we spent the entire evening dipping around 8 small candles. The next morning we reheated the wax with the kids and poured small candles into old cups and jars.
Although we didn't make many candles, those candles we did make are soft looking and beautiful and will serve as the centerpiece of this year's holiday celebrations. As we move into winter and the light fades outside, these lights will illuminate our homes, giving us peace and a much greater appreciation for those people before us who relied on making their own candles to light their way.
The light of a new candle