Glass ramekins and jars are a staple in people’s recycling bins but instead of sending off the glass to be recycled (at great energy cost) why not reuse them? Upcycled candles are really easy to make and make lovely gifts… for others or yourself! My girls do this – with supervision – and give them to their teachers as end of year presents.
For me soy wax is the only choice: it’s vegan, it burns cleaner (paraffin is derived from petroleum) and it’s easy to clean up. For a similar reason I use cotton wicks as they are non toxic and low smoke. There are specific candle fragrances you can buy which apparently have a stronger fragrance in soy wax than essential oils do. But, I like using essential oils as they are natural and you can use them for their known properties. I use lavender oil on a regular basis for it’s relaxing properties (including during the birth of both of my daughters). Here’s my easy how to make upcycled GU pot candles.
To make the candles you will need:
- soy wax flakes (I use these from amazon– you can buy in smaller bags and white or cream)
- pre-assembled soy wax wicks (as I mentioned I use cotton ones as they are non toxic and low smoke – I use these ones from amazon)
- containers (you can use anything glass or ceramic – it needs to take the heat of the melted wax)
- glue gun
- straw (I keep this with my candle making kit to reuse it)
- saucepan (I got one from a charity shop) and a wooden spoon
- jug (I got a glass one from the pound shop)
- wick holders or washi tape (I use these wick holders from Hobbycraft)
- optional: essential oils and dried flowers to place on the top
Step 1 – Measure out your wax. It’s super simple: double it! Fill your container twice and put it in the saucepan. When the wax melts it reduces by half so you need double the amount to fill your jar. Depending on the size of your saucepan, you can do large or small batches. Put the saucepan containing the wax flakes to one side whilst you prepare the jars.
Step 2 – I use pre-assembled wicks which have a metal base attached. I used a straw to make it easier to hold the wick and position it into the jar. I used my glue gun to attach it to the centre of the base of the jar. Holding it down for a few seconds to dry. These photos are from making jar candles but the process is the same.
Step 3 – Melting the wax. I didn’t use a thermometer – I like to keep things simple. I just gently heated the wax on the hob on a low flame. Obviously keep a close eye on it: melted wax is hot, can burn and if left it can catch fire! I used a wooden spoon to stir the wax every now and again to break up larger clumps. Once it was completely clear – like the second photo – your wax is ready. Easy.
Step 4 – Adding the essential oils. Once the wax has melted let it cool for a couple of minutes before you add the essential oils. The reason you don’t want to add them to the melted wax immediately is that the high heat will reduce the scent of your oils. Depending on how strong your oil is, you can use about 1 ½ teaspoons of essential oil per 500g of wax. Stir well. I transferred the melted wax + essential oils to a glass jug to make it easier to pour it into the prepared jars.
Step 5 – You then need to secure the wicks so that they set straight in the candle. I use wick holders but you can use washi tape: 2 lengths holding the wick in the middle
Leave to cool at room temperature overnight and then trim the wick to 2cm above the wax (or to suit the container).
I made four batches here: (from left to right) French lavender, Bakewell tart, sweet orange and pear. My girls have been collecting and pressing Spring flowers so I added them to the top just as the wax was setting. Et voilà!
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Please comment below if you have any questions and please share your inspired home made productions on social media with the tag #homemadeproductions