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How to Make Candle Molds Using Recycled Food Containers

Updated on July 31, 2013

Recycle Food Containers to Make Candle Molds

I've decided that making candle molds using recycled food containers is the way to go. I've done it in the past and they've worked great.

Here's why I decided using recycled containers is the way to go: Yesterday I made six votive candles using a candle mold I'd bought on clearance. "On clearance" is the operative phrase in that sentence. This was a hard plastic mold, and I'm guessing it was a poor design. Here's why.

The instructions called for spraying it with mold release. I don't own a can of mold release, so I sprayed the inside of the six candle slots with a cooking spray figuring it would work just as well. It doesn't or it didn't in this case (see below for more information on this).

The candles are still in the mold. I think I'll burn them in there and maybe the worthless mold will catch fire too. Then I can justify throwing it away.

In the past, I've always used either a silicone mold or made my own molds. I'm going to experiment with how to make candle molds using recycled food containers. In the past I've successfully used old chip canisters (Pringles cans) and any type of carton made of cardboard with a waxy surface like the half & half carton shown here.

I'm also going to try out the various plastic cartons shown, and I'll report here which ones worked and which ones to avoid when you want make candle molds from recycled food containers.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

A recycled yogurt container was used for this candle mold.
A recycled yogurt container was used for this candle mold.

Recycled Food Containers -- Yogurt

Thin Plastic

For the first candle making experiment, I used a thin plastic yogurt container. Here are the specs:

Yoplait Yogurt

6 ounce

Recycle Number (that number in a triangle on the bottom): 6

Because this yogurt container is made of fairly thin plastic (it's a hard plastic but fairly thin), I wasn't sure if it would hold up to the hot wax. So, just in case, I put ice cubes in a ceramic bowl that I put in a plastic dish pan. Then I put the candle mold on top of the ice before pouring the melting wax into the yogurt container.

Okay, here is a photo of the completed candle that I made using a recycled yogurt container. The plastic didn't melt at all, but remember, I did set it in a bowl with ice, which helps the wax cool down right away. When the candle was set, I twisted the edges a little and the candle came right out.

The Verdict: Yogurt containers like this one (see photo below) work great as candle molds.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Candle Making Know How - These candle making books will get you started with candle making.

Recycled fruit cups make small, detailed candles.
Recycled fruit cups make small, detailed candles.

Recycled Fruit Cup

The next recycled food container I used was a thick plastic fruit cup. Here are the specs:

generic brand fruit cup

about 5 ounce

Recycle Number (the number in a triangle on the bottom): 7

This little hard plastic cup is very sturdy, so I didn't think it would melt. It is also decorative, with little designs in the cup. I think it'll make a great looking candle. We'll see how it comes out of the mold.

Here is a photo of the completed candle. With just a twist, this candle popped out of the fruit cup mold.

The Verdict: Yes, use the hard plastic fruit cups as candle molds.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Make Candles Using Recycled Food Containers - Click a small image to enlarge it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A yogurt container and a fruit cup ready for candle making.All photos shown here by Peggy Hazelwood.Poke hole in bottom of fruit cup. (This hole is off center. This is not advised.)Insert wick and wrap it around the hole then add sealer.Melting wax and crayon for color in a double boiler (a small pan and a coffee can).Recycled food containers ready for the melted wax.Candles cooling.
A yogurt container and a fruit cup ready for candle making.All photos shown here by Peggy Hazelwood.
A yogurt container and a fruit cup ready for candle making. All photos shown here by Peggy Hazelwood.
Poke hole in bottom of fruit cup. (This hole is off center. This is not advised.)
Poke hole in bottom of fruit cup. (This hole is off center. This is not advised.)
Insert wick and wrap it around the hole then add sealer.
Insert wick and wrap it around the hole then add sealer.
Melting wax and crayon for color in a double boiler (a small pan and a coffee can).
Melting wax and crayon for color in a double boiler (a small pan and a coffee can).
Recycled food containers ready for the melted wax.
Recycled food containers ready for the melted wax.
Candles cooling.
Candles cooling.

Candle Scent for Your Handmade Candles - If you're going to make candles, make them smell good!

Make Your Own Silicone Mold - A great option for candle making

Design your own candle molds and make them with latex and silicone putty.

Cooking spray works fine to release candles from most molds.
Cooking spray works fine to release candles from most molds.

Mold Release

Figure out what works for you

Okay, like I mentioned earlier, I don't own a can of mold release. It's just not something I've ever bought. If I had a can on hand, sure, I'd use it. I prefer using food containers that can be peeled away, eliminating the need for mold release. Basically, it offers a barrier like when you grease and flour a pan so the candle doesn't stick. Just like a cake doesn't stick.

So, for the two food container experiments I've done so far--the yogurt container and the fruit cup--I used cooking spray. And it worked great! I have learned to take it outside to spray. Another alternative is to cover anything in the kitchen you don't want covered in a sticky film.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Buy Your Favorite Mold Release - to use with recycled food container candle molds

Let me know if you've made candle molds from recycled food containers. - What recycled food container worked well for you?

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    • profile image

      Jayden 2 years ago

      heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Did they send me one of these? Oh crap that's what I get for being behind on my mail. Although they did ask me my opoiinn about the candle & I did send it, but nothing like this I remember. BUMMER!

    • profile image

      Viney 2 years ago

      I like to party, not look arecilts up online. You made it happen.

    • profile image

      Anita 2 years ago

      for the first 2, just multiple the numebr of each choice 1)6*3*2= 362)3*6*9 = 1623) take the factorial of how many letters there are9! = 40320[9!= 9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2)4)Its to annoying to do, i would guess its one of the middle 2im a bit shaky on this stuff but im pretty sure thats right

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I think using recycled containers is the way to go. Bravo to you. Would love to make some candles. Wouldn't have thought to use a crayon for coloring the wax. Great idea. Thanks for all the tips.

    • Zola Mars profile image

      Lydia Workman 3 years ago from Canada

      I am just a beginner with candle making, but I definitely intend to use molds from recycled food containers. I am going to buy some candle wicks and use the leftover wax I have saved from old candles to make new ones. I had a roommate back in my college days who used to make candles in this manner heating the wax up in the microwave.

    • noner profile image

      noner 4 years ago

      I have not made candles yet, but now that I've seen this lens I know that I can use the collection of yogurt and fruit cups I've kept around for kid crafting projects when I'm ready to give it a try.

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

      Very resourceful! I like using cartons I can peel away otherwise, I mostly use metal candle molds.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
      Author

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Virginia Allain: I'm not sure without checking but I just bought some wick at Michael's. I think it was a medium thickness and it did seem to work well. I've also had trouble with wicks in the past. I think they've improved them!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I liked the way you were very specific about the type of container used and the conditions. The fruit cup one turned out really cute. Is there a specific kind of wick that you recommend? I made some candles once but wasn't happy with the wicks.

    • ccmushroom profile image

      ccmushroom 5 years ago

      I remember in elementary school we used to use milk cartons and fill them with ice cubes and then pour the wax in. Once they were set, we would sprinkle them with glitter. Came out looking pretty nice if I remember right. ( Of course it was a long time ago.....LOL)

    • profile image

      Anna2of5 5 years ago

      Actually I did a riff on this once. I made multicolored crayons from a bunch of broken crayons the children had used and I had saved. The original idea came from a Martha Stewart craft, but I used what I had on hand. I used a beat-up muffin tin and some Pam like you did. They came right out and we're a big hit with my children :). The idea to put a crayon in a wax candle makes so much sense! Thanks for sharing the idea :) I may have my Christmas Gift idea for this year, Thanks!!

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 5 years ago

      I love this. I don't know why I hadn't thought of this as a reuse idea! Tweeted.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      Wow, what a great project! I'm filing this away for future use...we have a lot of food containers that we recycle each week, but it would be great to save them for candle molds. Thanks for the idea! :)