I stopped burning scented candles years ago for a number of reasons. The primary reason is their negative impact on indoor air quality. With that said, I had a handful of partially burned candles in pretty jars that were not really donate-able but certainly up-cyclable. Below, I am sharing ideas for what to do with old candle jars.
How to Remove Wax from Old Candle Jars
Before you can repurpose empty candle jars, you need to remove the candle wax. Follow these steps to remove candle wax from old candle jars:
- Place partially used candles in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Once frozen, the edges of the candle wax should start to separate from the walls of the candle jar.
- Use a butter knife or small spoon to carve the frozen candle wax and wick out of the candle jar.
- There will likely be small wax remnants left inside of your candle jar. Once the jar is no longer frozen, fill it with boiling water to the brim. Let it sit until the boiling water is completely cool.
- The boiling water will melt the remaining wax. The melted wax should float to the top of the water and slowly harden as the water cools.
- Pull out the bits of floating wax, then wash your candle jar with soap and water until it is completely clean and ready to repurpose!
Best Uses for Old Candle Jars
Now that you have a clean, wax-free candle jar, it’s time to repurpose it in your home. So if you’re wondering what to do with empty candle jars, here are a handful of ideas.
- Repurpose as a planter
- Fill with flowers and use as a small bud vase
- Add a tea light
- Use the jar to store and display pretty candle matches
- Turn candle jars into candy jars
- Use to corral food items like nuts, dried fruit, or crackers on a charcuterie board
- Lidded candle jars can be used for loose tea or ground coffee storage
- Use to corral small snacks in a pantry
- Repurpose as drinking glasses or special cocktail glasses
- Fill lidded candle jars with DIY sugar body scrub and store (carefully!) in your shower
- Display a candle jar on your counter as a toothbrush and toothpaste holder (here’s how to keep your toothbrush super clean)
- Use as storage for makeup brushes, lipsticks, eyeliners and mascaras, and other makeup products (learn how to clean your makeup brushes using products from your kitchen)
- Repurpose for hair accessory storage to corral hair ties, bobby pins, barrettes, or other hair clips
- Other toiletry storage ideas include cotton balls, cotton pads, or q-tips
- Use for manicure tool storage. Keep items like nail clippers, nail files, an orange stick, and cuticle clippers in one place (learn how I use these tools to do an all natural manicure)
- Display on your desk as a pen and pencil holder
- Corral small items like paper clips, staples, tape dispensers, rubberbands, etc.
- Dedicate a candle jar to collect spare change to use for coffee runs
- Store small items like nails, nuts, and bolts in pretty candle jars
- Small tools like screwdrivers can be stored together in a candle jar
What to do with Leftover Candle Wax
- If you aren’t opposed to burning scented candles, you can always melt wax remnants together to make a new candle. Just tape a new wick to the bottom of the jar first before pouring in the melted wax.
- Rub wax on stuck wooden drawers to help them open and close more smoothly.
- If you’re into snail mail, you can repurpose colorful candle wax by melting it to seal your letters. Very chic.
- Fix frayed shoelaces by dipping into melted wax or dripping melted wax on the frayed ends.
- The most popular way to repurpose candle wax is to make fire starters. This is a low waste way to use up extra wax if you have a wood burning fireplace or if you go camping often.
DIY Firestarter Using Leftover Candle Wax
- Cardboard egg carton
- Dryer lint
- Melted wax
- Place a little dryer lint at the bottom of each egg compartment in your cardboard egg carton.
- Cover the dryer lint with the melted wax.
- Cut apart each egg compartment, and light one in your fireplace or fire pit each time you want to start a fire.