Introduction: Recycled Container Candles

Hi all!

Who doesn't love having a candle around to add some romance to an evening, to cover up bad smells, or to add a nice touch to your decor?

Once I learned how to make candles from home, I realized how many jars and containers I throw into the recycling bin that are perfect for candles! I found my new life purpose in re-purposing containers.

For these three candles, I actually used recycled containers AND recycled wax which was collected from candles that had burned to the end but still had wax leftover.


  • containers
    • glass jars/bottles that are thick enough to withstand the heat of a candle
    • metal cans
  • bottle cutter (I have a Kinkajou bottle cutter)
  • safety gloves & safety goggles
  • sandpaper
  • hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • pre-tabbed wicks
  • wax
  • wax paper
  • chopsticks
  • thermometer
  • large pot
  • pouring pot


  • Goo Gone (or equivalent)
  • nail polish remover

Step 1: Choose Containers & Remove Labels

For my containers, I chose a can of chickpeas, a wine bottle (very good wine FYI), and a salsa jar.

Container Tips

  • I've found salsa jars to be the easiest and lowest maintenance so far
  • wine/liquor bottles are the highest maintenance due to the cutting which can go wrong in a lot of ways BUT they look the best in my opinion
  • aluminum cans can fit a lot of wax so they seem to last the longest but they can get very hot and you have to watch out for sharp edges at the top

Removing Labels

  • The can and the salsa jar were easy to peel off the labels but I soaked the wine bottle in soapy water for about 10 minutes to help loosen up the label
  • All 3 had a sticky residue left after the labels came off which I used Goo Gone to remove. Some Goo Gone alternatives that I have heard work well are hand sanitizer or a paste made from baking soda + oil
  • The salsa jar had a Best Before date stamped on it which I removed easily with nail polish remover
  • Lastly, I washed each one with soap & water and dried thoroughly

Step 2: Cut Bottles

If the bottle neck of the bottle is too narrow, you'll have to cut the jar as I did with my wine bottle. I have a Kinkajou bottle cutter which came with 2 silicon separation ties, a glass finishing tool, and sandpaper.

  • to keep the bottle cutter level, I've stacked books until they are completely level and rest the bottle cutter on top (see photo)
  • once that setup was complete and the bottle cutter was snug to the bottle, I lowered the glass cutter and created a score line all around the bottle by twisting the bottle
  • I removed the bottle cutter from the bottle and placed each silicon separation tie on each side of the score line
  • I poured some recently boiled water over the score line followed by cold water, alternating back and forth until the glass separates completely
  • as the last step, using water proof sanding paper, I've sanded the cut part of the glass to smooth it down.

Sadly, this particular wine bottle shattered while I was scoring it which has never happened to me before! This is where it is important to be wearing your safety gloves and goggles. I've swapped in another wine bottle that I have previously cut and was similar in colour to the bottle originally photographed.

Step 3: Glue Wicks

When buying wicks, it's important to know what kind of wax you'll be burning and the diameter of the container. In this case, the wax is recycled so I have to guess. I only had wicks for soy wax, so I'm going with that. The diameter of the containers varied from 2.5-3 inches, so I've used wicks made for 3 inch wide containers.

I used a hot glue gun to glue the pre-tabbed wicks to the bottom of each container, trying to get it as centered as possible.

Step 4: Melt the Wax

As seen in the photo, I have 3 bricks of melted down recycled wax, and another bowl full of wax chunks from old candles. I'm using the top dark grey brick for this project today.

Using a large pot, I've poured a few inches of water in and placed my pouring pot inside of that pot. Place them on the burner at medium-high heat and wait for the wax to melt completely.

Step 5: Pour Wax Into Containers

Once the wax is completely melted and ready to pour, I hold each container over the heat to warm it up before pouring the wax in. This helps prevent the wax from separating from the sides of your container. Place the containers on wax paper in case of spillage, then pour the wax into your container. I left some room at the top in case of pitting in the wax, which I was glad for as you'll see in the next step!

Center and stabilize the wicks by wrapping them around a chopstick.

Wait for wax to cool down and harden.

Step 6: Level the Surface

From my experience, recycled wax tends to be much more temperamental and unpredictable than new wax. As you can see in the photo, this wax cooled with deep pits. I always leave some wax leftover for these scenarios. Re-heat the leftover wax and fill the pits. Let them dry and repeat if necessary. I did it twice in this case.

To completely level out the surface and fix any small imperfections, a heat gun works great! If you don't own a heat gun, a hair blow dryer can work as well. Just aim it at the surface of the candle and melt down the surface until it is nice and smooth.

Step 7: Cut Wick & Add Label

Once the wax has cooled and dried completely, cut the wick to a couple centimeters above the surface of the wax. In my case, I've used an aluminum can which can get quite hot once the candle has burnt about halfway down the container. So I decided to add a warning label to that one.

Step 8: Light It Up!

Set fire to those candles and enjoy!

Thanks for reading, and I welcome all questions :)



Recycled Speed Challenge

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Recycled Speed Challenge