How to Make Cute Scented Candles Using Old Wax

Reuse leftover wax and cute seasonal decor to make your own fall candles in just a few steps!

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to upcycle and DIY a couple candles. This was my first try at making my own candles and I learned a few helpful tips along the way. 

I decided to do this last minute, and ran into Dollar Tree to get a couple things. Otherwise I was winging it with items from home, but I’ll share a couple suggestions later in this post that make this project even easier!

I’ve wanted to attempt this candle making process for awhile, and the broken glass jar on one of my favorite candles finally made it happen: 

reusing broken glass candle

I LOVE this scent from Aldi so much, I got three of the candles when they came out (last year or the year before?). This is my last one and I didn’t see a crack in the glass when I lit it the other night when some of the wax spilled out of the cracks. 

I was trying to use what I had for the most part, and if you’re able to do the same this project will won’t cost you a dime! But if you want to avoid the first few steps I’ll share an even easier way to do it at the end. 

I had two pretty containers that I wanted to fill — one was a candle we had used up last year and one was just pretty glass dish. 

My favorite method for removing wax from an old candle is to place it in the freezer for at least a few hours. It will pop out easily and with little mess after freezing!

Assemble your wicks

I had my containers and needed wicks for my two would-be candles. You can find them at craft stores, but I wanted to use what I had on hand. 

I grabbed a votive and a long (broken) taper candle: 

white votive and taper candles

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Obviously the wick in the votive was too short, but I still needed that for the metal base. The taper candle was going to provide my long wick. 

I put the taper in a plastic bag and pounded the wax till I could get the wick out: 

getting wick out of smashed candle

It worked perfectly! I was able to get two out of the one candle. 

I took the wick out of the votive to use the metal base: 

reusing votive wicks

It came out with a slight tug and then I was able to push up from underneath with a nail driver. It fit perfectly inside to open up that small clamp a bit. If you have skinny pliers those will work as well. 

I inserted the new wick and used pliers to clamp and secure the wick in the holder. 

Adhere your wick to the container

I used a dab of high temp hot glue to attach the metal wick holder to the bottom of the jar:
securing wick in candle

The votive isn’t necessary, I just figured I’d fill up some space in there since I had it on hand. 🙂

It’s important to attach the metal base to the bottom of the container so it doesn’t float around as the candle burns. 

There are also sticky wick tabs you can use to attach them to the bottom as well!

As you can see, I used a pencil to keep the wick upright as I poured the wax. You can use just about anything — as long as you don’t care if it gets wax on it! 

Melting the old wax

There are a few ways to melt your wax once it’s out of the candle, but the easiest and safest way (in my opinion) is to warm it in the oven on low heat. 

I used an inexpensive bread pan from the dollar store and heated my candle wax for about 25 minutes at 200 degrees. I wouldn’t go much higher with the heat — you don’t want the wax to boil and make a mess. 

I placed my pan on a metal sheet to protect the oven even further: 

melting wax in oven pan

Extra bonus — our house smelled amazing as I was doing this!

And no, the oven doesn’t retain any of the wax scent. I made salmon ten minutes later and the fragrance didn’t linger at all in the oven. 

Check on the wax every five minutes or so to see how it’s doing. I turned the oven off for the last five minutes to let the last of the pieces melt away. 

Fill your new candle!

I placed my glass vessels on foil and a cutting board, then used a wide-mouth funnel to pour the melted wax into my two vessels: 

pouring wax into candle

I found a set of three funnels at the dollar store and the biggest one was perfect for this. You want the top to be wide so you don’t have to worry about getting the wax into narrow area as you’re pouring. 

I thought this part would be a lot scarier than it was. 🙂 It was quick, easy and I had zero mess. 

If you’re reusing an old candle like me, make sure not to let any of the debris from old wicks get into your new candle. 

You can remove it with a spoon before pouring, but I found it wasn’t necessary. Because those bits sat at the bottom of the melted wax as I poured there were no issues — they stayed in the pan. 

Make sure to go slow and have patience as you pour!

If you have leftover wax, pour it into the metal votive casing with a wick to make scented votives! 

That’s it! I let my new candles harden and dry overnight and then cut the wicks down: 

wick cutter

I kept the excess wicks for future candles, because I’ll definitely be doing this again!

I love that I was able to use something that would have been thrown away otherwise (well, if I hadn’t planned to use the wax for our warmer at least), and I was able to reuse some really cute vessels. 

So many of the old jars from spent candles are too pretty to toss afterwards!:

DIY pumpkin candle with acorns
pumpkin candle in pedestal

I couldn’t believe how easy this was! If you don’t have an old broken candle around like me, you can use the following to make your own scented candles:

  • scented wax melts 
  • a bunch of votive candles
  • soy wax flakes or beads (these melt quickly in a microwave safe container)
  • wax from candles with a scent you love, but you’d like a prettier container
  • similarly scented leftover candles 

I like to use soy wax when possible, but if you’re not particular, this whole project could be completed with items from the dollar store. 

Try using scented votives or basic white candles with some essential oil fragrance. From what I’ve read, you’ll need a good amount of oil to create enough fragrance. 

For an 8 ounce candle you’ll need 3-6 ounces of fragrance oil: 

apple essential oil dollar store
I loved this project so much, I’ve already purchased this candle making set to use in the future. It has the wicks and sticky pads, plus a pot you can warm the wax in double boiler style. (Use a large pan with boiling water and then place the pot in with the wax to melt it.)
If you have an old saucepan or pot already, this wick set will be all you need. Either of these will allow you to prep your container in just a couple minutes, so you can skip my recycling steps at the beginning of this tutorial. 🙂 

I LOVE how these turned out and can’t wait to make more! 

mercury glass DIY candle

Have you tried making your own scented candles? If so I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions!

Original Post – Thrifty Decor Chick