Let’s Make: Homemade wax melts!

A butter jar with a black handle sits on a counter top, branded Milkhouse Candle Company, contains a batch of homemade wax melts.

Have any of you ever had this happen before? You’ve got a candle you love to pieces, you’re running it on a regular basis, and you reach the point where it’s no longer safe to use? It’s that point where it’s nothing but wax and wick, and the flames may start flickering wildly. What do you do with a candle that’s reached its’ end?

Been there. Especially with the seasonal or limited edition scents. The former’s preferable to the latter, imo.

But what do you do with the candle when it gets to the end? Chuck it in the trash, wax and all? Try to stick it in the freezer to pop it out, like I’ve seen one hack for?

This is what I used to do with candles that reached the end of their lives, until recently. I was at a party one time, and saw someone melting candle wax in a crock pot for a craft project. This was before the pandemic started, btw. Anyways, I’d totally forgotten all about it, until I got to thinking one day, and it suddenly came to me. I’d been putting my nearly-empty candles in the freezer to try to pop the wax out, and the wax wouldn’t come out. I tried a box cutter, a screwdriver, and a pair of scissors to no avail.

Here’s why: the freezer trick only works for paraffin and paraffin-blend candles. You know, the kind you get from a certain big-name shop that’s basically in every mall in the solar system, with the scents overpowering enough you could smell ’em from the state lines.

Speaking of which, their candles actually cause migraines for me. It was enough to where someone running a candle from there in an apartment complex, and I felt nauseated smelling it from the sidewalk. The one scent that didn’t cause this for me, they discontinued it ages ago.

But back to the party I was at. I racked my brains trying to come up with ways on how to clean soy candle jars. I got to thinking about the party, and it dawned on me that maybe this could work to melt the leftover wax from my candles. The freezer trick didn’t work, since these were soy or soy and beeswax-based. I was bored one day, and was at a lull in my day job. I figured I’d try it out for shits and giggles, and see what I came up with.

Hold up. How do I make wax melts from candles?

Glad you asked. Without further ado, let’s get started.

First, fill up a saucepan with water, and let it boil. I’ve found success in placing the candle in the water right away and letting it boil on low heat. Depending on the type of glass (i.e., soda lime) you don’t want to place it in as it’s boiling, since that’ll result in a huge mess.

This has been in the boiling water, and we’re in the home stretch. Not quite done yet, just a little bit longer.

Slow and steady wins the race. Keep it in the water until it’s completely melted, like so:

Now we’re talking! BAM!

Now’s when you really gotta be careful not to burn yourself. Trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way, and it sucked donkey balls, big time. This particular candle has a handle, but it’s still too hot to take it out safely bare-handed. Grab yerselves a potholder or an oven mitt, and fish it out of the pan.

Now comes the fun part. Don’t worry, readers. This is a janky muffin tin I haven’t cared about in years.

Ready, set, let’s pour! The important thing is to use a pan you don’t care about anymore, like so. This way, it’s no loss if you wreck it. I’d imagine the fragrance from the candles would impart odors in any baked goods made in the same pan, but I wouldn’t risk it either way. Silicone pans would also work here, since they’d just pop out once they’ve hardened. Be careful not to over-fill them so you don’t make a mess, since it’ll be tougher to pry out of the pan.

After the pour comes the wait. If it’s winter, and you live in an area that gets hideously cold that time of year, like yours truly, you can speed up the process by setting it outside. Works like a charm, imo. If it’s any other time of year, then the waiting is the hardest part.

But don’t worry. It’s so worth the wait. Now that we’ve reached the point where the wax has completely hardened, it’s time for the moment of truth. Let’s start prying them out of the pan, or if we’re working with a silicone pan, popping ’em out, and into a container. I’ve found that a lot of times, the candle vessel itself works great as a storage container for these. I’ve also done this for candles that came in small containers, so I grabbed whatever I had knocking around the house that would hold them for storage.

Now you’ve upcycled and given your old favorite candle a new life as a wax melt, ready for the warmer. Bonus part is, you didn’t have to spend any money on it! Over to you, readers. Have you tried this out? Got any other candle upcycling ideas? Sound off below, and let’s talk.

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