First, I want to say I'm not an expert or even an amateur candle maker. I have not made candles since I was a kid making sand candles at summer camp. But while on a quest to clean out and use up what I have, I came across a bunch of partially used candles that were no longer very... attractive. Rather than pitch them, I decided to recycle them into new prettier candles that smell good. Also in the spirit of using what I have, instead of buying wicks w/ the little metal discs I decided to try using some cotton string and pop tabs. With a little trial and error I declare the experiment a success!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
You probably have all or most of what you need:
Some sort of stick (to hold the wick upright while waiting for wax to harden)
Some cotton string
Something to mold the candle in (jar, bowl, old Pringles can, etc.)
Scissors to cut wick
Optional supplies not pictured:
Crayons (for color)
Step 2: Melt the Wax
I would have used an old tin can to melt the wax, except that we just hauled them all to recycling. So I'm just going to hope my bowl will come clean! Put the candles into whatever you're melting them in and suspend it over a pan of simmering water and keep close watch on the wax till it melts. Once the wax melts, you will want to remove any old wicks and papers (the ones stuck to the bottom of the candles) carefully. I used a chopstick to do this. You could also carefully (the wax will be HOT) strain the wax through a mesh strainer, but I didn't bother.
At this point you can add scent (I used scented oils I had already) and color ( I added a couple of broken crayons). I didn't measure ~ just added till I liked the scent and color.
Step 3: Prepare the Wick
Take a length of the string that is several inches longer than you will need and tie it through the pop tab as pictured. Spoon a small amount of melted wax into the bottom of the container you are using to hold/form your candle using the skewer/stick press the pop tab into the wax. Hold till the wax is hardened keeping the pop tab in place.
Wrap the wick around the stick/skewer and until it can sit on the top of the container holding the wick taut.
Step 4: Finish!
Ok, the rest is pretty obvious. Carefully pour the wax to fill the container until the desired level is reached and let sit till the wax cools and hardens. Trim the wick and the candle is ready to use!
I have to admit I'm pretty addicted! This was a fun project and I'm looking forward to making more. What I'm not looking forward to is cleaning up all the wax I splashed all over the counter! Be smarter than I was and be sure to cover your countertops w/ some newspaper or something before you pour your wax. Also, another advantage to melting in a can would be that you could bend the side to create a pour spout. I will save a tin can for my next candle adventure!