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How to Make Recycled Candles in a Solar Oven
Recycled Candle Made at Home
Sources for Candles and Candle Holders
If you too like candles, then you most likely have a ready source of both old candles and candle holders. Personally, we prefer buying candles in glass holders so that the candles are contained with very little possibility of mess. This provides us with both candle wax and holders that can be recycled. Those candles that do not come in holders can still be used, of course, but you will need to search for your own glass pillars or other containers.
Alternatively, thrift stores can be a great source for both old, used candles and holders. We have purchased bags of candles at our local thrift store for a fraction of the cost of one new candle. Many people will donate broken candles that can easily be recycled. Too glass pillars, glasses, or other containers can be found; just be sure to choose well-built holders that will stand up to heat.
Love Candles but Not the Expense?
If you're like us, you like to save money wherever possible. Being frugal doesn't necessarily mean that you must eliminate all of the little things that you enjoy. With some ingenuity and creativity, you can keep those elements that are your luxuries and still stay in your budget.
I especially enjoy candles, but purchasing them regularly can be quite expensive. Too we found that many of the cheaper candles didn't burn all the way, leaving a candle “stub” at the end. Although I particularly love candlelight, I didn't want to throw money away on purchases that were either expensive or wasteful. Wanting to do something nice for me, my husband found a frugal way to give me what I enjoy.
By melting those candle stubs or candles found at home or the thrift store, you can easily make your own candles for little cost. Using a solar oven makes recycling these candles that much greener and simpler for you. With very little work, you can have new candles to enjoy at home.
Before you begin this craft, you will need to gather some supplies. Below is a list of the bare minimum of what you will need.
Old and broken candles, candle stubs to be melted for recycled candles.
Wick material to be used in the new candles. This can be purchased at your local craft store.
Solar oven. A box oven would be the best choice for this type of project.
Long, thin stick or metal bar. This will be used to align the wicks in the candle holders.
Large binder clips. These will be used to secure the wicks on the above stick or bar.
Old, black pot. You will need to use a pot that is only for melting wax.
Recycled candle holders, cleaned as much as possible. You can either save the holders from purchased candles or buy them at thrift stores.
Small weights to keep the wicks straight. These can be anything that you have lying around, but they should be able to stand up to the heat of the melted wax.
Candles in Pot
Favorite Scents for Candles?
What is your favorite scent for candles?
Step One: Put Candles in Pot
This part is perhaps the simplest part of the entire process. You can break up the smaller, taper candles, but others may be put in the pot whole. Don't worry about choosing all candles of the same color; the wax will blend together, usually taking on the color of the brightest candle placed in the pot.
You will want to use an old, black pot for this craft. Obviously, this should not be the same pot that you use for cooking other foods, such as rice. The pot that we use is a black, light-weight Dutch oven. It is ideal for use in a solar oven and will easily melt the wax for this craft without any damage.
Pot in Solar Oven
Step Two: Put the Pot in the Solar Oven
As you would with anything else, put the pot in the solar cooker and wait. The time needed for melting the wax will vary depending on the temperature outside, the strength of the sunlight, and the sizes of the various candles. Today was rather hot but overcast; the time needed for melting the candles was over one hour. In our experience, though, you won't need to watch the oven carefully as you would when cooking some food products. You can simply set it and forget it, coming back to the wax when you're ready to complete the candles.
Solar Oven Alignment
Step Three: Aligning the Solar Cooker
To align the solar oven perfectly, look at the shadow cast by the oven. It should be as square as possible. This will only be of use, though, if you are constantly moving the oven to align with the sun throughout the day. This may eliminate some time needed for the melting of the wax, but it will require more “babysitting” of the oven.
If you want to do this craft with minimal work, set the oven so that it would be aligned an hour or so from the time that you begin the process. This will keep the solar cooker in the sun's track over that time and allow you to go about your day. As you can see from the picture, the shadow is slanted for this reason. We set the oven so that it was ahead of the sun's current alignment, allowing us to run errands while the wax melted.
Preparing the Wicks and Holders
Step Four: Preparing the Wicks
The easiest way that we have found to accomplish this task is through the use of a bar or stick that is laid across the recycled candle holders. You will then need to follow these steps for preparing the wicks:
Cut lengths of the wick material that are the right size for your candle holders. Be sure and cut them longer than what you might need as you will be wrapping one end around the bar or stick.
Tie a small weight to one end of the cut piece of wick material. This end will be placed in the bottom of the holder so that the wick will not float up to the top of the candle as you pour in the wax.
Wrap the other end of the wick around the bar or stick. You can either tie it at this point, or you can use a binder clip to secure it.
Repeat these steps for all holders.
One thing to consider as you prepare the holders and wicks is that you may have some wax left over. Preparing an extra candle holder will allow you to pour the excess wax into this container. Although it wouldn't serve as a candle right away, you can add wax to it over time as you do future batches. This will produce a striped candle and eliminate any possibility of waste.
Melted Wax in Solar Oven
Step Five: Remove the Pot from the Solar Oven
The wax should be completely melted by this point. You can strain the wax to remove the old wicks or other debris, but you can eliminate that step by pouring the wax carefully. The wicks from the original candles tend to stick to the bottom of the pot, and so it shouldn't be a problem to create recycled candles that are relatively clean. However, you may screen the wax to remove all possibility that this debris will fall into the new candles.
Pouring the Wax in the Prepared Candle Holders
Step Six: Pour in the Wax
There are two important things to consider before you begin this step:
The wax will be hot! Be careful when you do this, keeping any children or pets out of the area.
This step can be messy. If you do not have an easily cleaned surface on which to work, then put down some paper or plastic beforehand.
As you will see in the pictures, we made a scoop to funnel the wax into the containers out of a butter container. You can, of course, do it without the scoop. The most important thing is to find a way that works for you.
Trimming the Wicks
Step Seven: Trim the Wicks
Once the candles have cooled, you can trim the wicks to the desired length. First cut the ends from the stick or bar, resulting in what you see in the picture. You can then trim the wicks to whatever length is appropriate.
Step Eight: Enjoy!
Allow the candles to cool completely before you light them. After that, though, you should have frugal, recycled candles that you can enjoy!