BY NAOMI SLATER HOMEWARES via LIFEINSTYLE shows us how to make candles from old containers….

I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder, but I will admit to having a hard time letting go of pretty things. Nice perfume packaging, beautiful ribbons, used up candle containers: all things which seem like they deserve something more than just the bin.

And usually I do find uses for them. I’ve used the beautiful canister box my recent Acqua di Parma perfume came in as a makeup brush holder, and ribbons, well they can be reused on other gifts or projects so I find they’re good to keep around. Finished candles votives are great for storing q-tips and (or even more makeup brushes), but there’re only so many round glass containers a girl needs. For the rest, it was time to meet their maker: me. They were about to become candles again.

I love anything vaguely alchemist-y* so was looking forward to finally trying the whole make your own candles thing. I ordered some soy wax (it said it was good for containers, I didn’t read too much beyond that) and wicks from an online candle supply store. With wicks, they tell you the recommended container diameter (bigger wicks for bigger containers). I probably should have bought more than one size but oh well. Next time.


What you’ll need for candle making:
• Empty and cleaned candle containers (or other flame safe containers, read what qualifies here)
• Your wax of choice
• Wicks
• Melting jug (you can buy these with your candle supplies, I just went and got a jug from an op shop. Again, ensure it’s heat safe)
• Scent.

You can buy dedicated candle scents. I opted to use some essential oils I already had. As I learned later, essential oils don’t give off as much aroma when burning compared to proper candle scents, so if you want a strong scent it is probably best to go with the proper thing.


Pour some of your wax flakes into your melting jug and partially immerse this in a pot of lightly boiling water (your wax will come with instructions on how to melt it) and stir. In hindsight I would have gotten a bigger jug since this part is about as fun as whipping egg whites (if you’re wondering what on earth my oven mitt is, it’s a tassie devil).

Once the wax melted, I added my essential oil. I went by smell/instinct** here rather than any sort of, you know, “measurement”, but you may wish to follow the instructions on from your wax (they’ll give a ratio per kilo).


(My candle container here looks dirty, but I was just using it measure wax flakes. Which turned out to be completely unnecessary so don’t bother with that.) One advantage to having a small jug was that I could add different oils to different batches, meaning ended up with candles with a variety of scents. Scents like Harmony and Balance (from my hippy essential oils )


You can put your wick into the container, prop it up then pour the wax, or pop it in after the wax. I didn’t find one technique any easier than the other. I will however say keep some props handy to keep the wicks upright, and put everything in a low traffic area since the candles will need to set for a few hours without being moved. After that you can take away the wick props and let them finish setting somewhere else if need be.

Once they’re cooled, trim the wicks, decorate the containers if you wish (I used some cute string I’d saved, see paragraph two) and enjoy your savvy recycling skills.


*And by alchemist I mean stirring a pot of something. My wizard requirements are low.

**My test was, “when it is overwhelmingly strong that’s enough drops”, but given how subtle the scent of essential oils are when lit, it should have been more of a “when you will pass out it’s so strong” level. Hindsight 20/20 etc. Lesson = add more essential oils than you think is strong enough.

For plain jars jazz them up in clever ways and dress up those candles you have created.

candle 7



candle 8


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