10 Ways to Reuse Old Candle Jars

Candles often come in nice jars. Some are plain but hefty, while others are really intricate and pretty. When the candle is spent, it can be tempting to keep these nice old jars and repurpose them for other things. There’s no reason to toss them when they can be up-cycled and reused to make something new for little to no additional cost.

10 Ways to Reuse Old Candle Jars:

  1. Make New Candles
  2. Turn Into Succulent Planters
  3. Organize Small Objects
  4. DIY Snow Globes
  5. Store Cosmetics & Hygiene Products
  6. Repurpose as a Flower Vase
  7. Fill with Spices
  8. Shift into Potpourri or Simmer Pots
  9. Hang Decorative Lights
  10. Hold Small Candies

Instead of tossing out an old candle jar once the fire is gone, consider instead cleaning it out and repurposing it. First it will need to be cleaned out of any leftover wax, and then it can be used to make clever upcycling projects. Read more for ideas on both how to get old candle wax out of their jars, and for some fun project ideas that feature them.

How Do You Get Old Candle Wax Out of a Jar?

Getting wax out of an old candle jar is simple and likely will not need anything special to make happen. Just be careful not to pour any wax down the drains, as it will clog them quickly. Microwaving is also a no-go, as it can easily damage the very same container that’s trying to be saved. 

Here are five ways to get that old wax out of the jar so it can be used for something else.

Hot Water

Reheating the candle wax with hot water brings it back to a liquid state and makes it so the leftover wax can simply be poured or wiped out. Then just wash it out with some soap and water and it’s good to go.

Pour Directly on the Wax

For wide-mouthed jars that a rag can be stuck into, all that needs to be done is pouring hot water directly on the wax to let it soften. Then the wax can be easily poured out, with any residue easy to wipe out.

Using a Double Boiler

For small-mouthed jars where it’s not going to be easy to stick a hand into, setting up a double-boiler to safely liquify the wax works great. Once the wax is liquid, it can be poured out. Any residue can then be washed out with hot, soapy water.

Freezing

Freezing out the candle wax works best when there is a lot of wax leftover, but also can be used when it’s almost gone. Stick the candle in the freezer overnight and then sometime during the next day, flip the jar over and give it a little tap. Freezing will cause the wax to shrink slightly, though much more than glass and therefore typically makes for simple extraction.

Baking

Glass is safe to put into an oven, otherwise there would be some issues with certain baking equipment pieces. Line a baking sheet with foil and put any spent candles on it upside down. Stick the sheet into the oven at 200 °F for roughly 15 minutes, or until all of the wax has dripped to the foil. Then take out the candles and let them cool somewhere safe. If there is any residue leftover, cleaning it out with soap and water tends to do the trick just fine.

Heat

Wax has a low melting point, something seen very clearly every time a candle is lit. Therefore, warming it back up with a hair dryer, lighting another candle underneath it, or with a hot lamp can also liquify the leftover wax so it can be poured out of thin containers. Once the majority of it is gone, use hot soapy water to clear out any leftover residue. 

Sharp Blades

While time consuming, using a sharp knife or a razor blade can also be used to chip away at old wax. It is also more dangerous than the other options, but if the plan is to reuse the jar for making a new candle and the old wax was probably just going to be used again anyway, scraping out some of the wax with a blade works well enough.

Ideas for Reusing Old Candle Jars

After the jars have been cleaned out and dried, the only real limit is as far as the imagination can go. The best jars to try and repurpose are the thick class ones as they are going to hold up to a lot more than the flimsier ones. However, even those can have a use with a little creativity.

New Candles

The simplest idea is to make a brand-new candle out of the old jar and even old wax. Getting ahold of some new wicks and wax is all that’s really needed. It also makes for a fun activity to do with the kids, as old crayons can also be used to make the candle itself. Then add in any essential oils for the desired scent if any, and then voila! New candle in place of the old one.

Succulent Planters

Succulents are great plants for small containers as they rarely need a whole lot of space, and they don’t need a lot of water or tons of drainage. Clean out the jar, fill it up with some potting soil, and stick a succulent into it. Now the thing will have a nice little planter instead of the ugly little black boxes they tend to come in.

Small Organizers

Old candle jars lend themselves awesome for holding all of the tiny little bits and bobs. They work great in offices where they can be used to hold thumbtacks, paperclips, or rubber bands. Not to mention they are going to be infinitely cheaper than anything marketed towards office storage, while also being able to keep up with a clean look.

They also make awesome craft storage for all the little things taking up space such as needles, embroidery floss, measures, buttons, rhinestones, glitter, or anything else that has tons of tiny little pieces. Consider using old jars that have fun shapes or designs on them in addition or decorate their exteriors to match that already present crafter flair.

Snow Globes

Making snow globes is an extremely fun project, especially with small children. If the candle jar had a lid, it makes for a perfect future snow globe. Get a bottle of distilled water, some chunky glitter or snow globe snow, a little centerpiece decoration, and a hot glue gun ready. 

Glue the decoration onto the underside of the lid and let it dry. Put the snow and the water in the jar, then glue the lid onto place. If the lid can be twisted tight enough, it might not even need glue, but it does help seal. Just be fast, as hot glue dries very quickly.

Additionally, adding in a few drops of glycerin or oil will make it so the floaties fall slower. Too much however and they’ll all start sticking! Light objects such as beads or plastic confetti also work to put in, and a drop or two of food coloring will add some color to the mix.

Cosmetic & Hygiene Storage

Candle jars are the perfect size for storing cosmetic supplies such as cotton balls, cotton swabs, makeup brushes, and sponges. Anything small like that can be put into old jars and used to tidy up the vanity. They can also hold bandages, toothbrushes, cleansers, and other hygiene products nice and neat.

The glass jars also have the added bonus of being able to be easily washed and are not as porous as plastic. Therefore, it’s much easier to keep them sanitary. Not to mention, cosmetic storage tends to be on the pricier side. Save some cash by just reusing the old candle jars instead. Plus, they can be really cute.

Flower Vases

Those tall, heavy jars some candles come in are the perfect size for some fresh cut flowers. Not to mention, they almost always come with some good designs on them, making for a great container to repurpose as a vase.

The only thing is that they are not always very heavy on their own, so adding some rocks or glass marbles to the bottom will help them from getting top-heavy with the flowers.

Spice Jars

Spice jars are another one of those things that are a pain to get a bunch of that all look the same without spending an arm and a leg. Old candle jars on the other hand are great and come in a variety of sizes to suit needs while also fitting into spice racks perfectly.

The small candle jars with lids really lend themselves well to being repurposed into spice jars. Just make sure that the container is completely clean and dry before trying to fill with the goodies, otherwise it’s just going to end up a clumpy mess.

Potpourri or Simmer Pots

Making Potpourri or simmer pots is a nice way to reuse an old candle jar for very much the same purpose. Potpourri and simmer jars release a constant aroma much like a candle does, just typically without active flame. They are also beneficial when using around animals or people that are sensitive to strong scents and are fun afternoon projects.

Typically, they rely on drying old fruit zest or flowers and then simmering in liquid and oils low over wax warmers or other low-grade heat methods. If the mouths of the candles work out, they can even be used over a newer scentless candle most times to waft a gentle smell across the room.

Hanging Lights

Sometimes candle jars have a lip at the top that makes it easy to tie a ribbon or some twine around. Some already even have a little handle that could be used to hang it too, making for a cute collection of hanging string lights or fairy lights. Fill them up with artificial tea lights, fairy lights, or other small battery-operated décor and then hang them around for a nice effect.

They can also be decorated outside with glass paint or translucent mosaic pieces to make interesting lighting effects while they hang. The best part is they work great either indoors or out depending on décor. 

Candy Jars

Old candle jars make for great containers to hold little treats such as candies. Since they are often very cute, they also make for fun containers to turn into simple candy gifts too.

Fill up the smaller jars that have nice lids with hard candies such as peppermint or lemon drops, put a ribbon around the neck, and now they are some very cute candy jars. The larger jars can hold softer candies too, and the wide-mouthed jars without lids can double as little treat bowls for mints or other little candies to give to guests.

Conclusion

It’s easy to clean out and upcycle an old candle jar, so instead of throwing it out when there is hardly any wax left at the bottom, consider turning it into something else. Even broken jars can become the next mosaic project, so there is little reason to let go of the pretty containers that would cost a fortune otherwise.

Just be careful not to let wax get into drains and never microwave a candle, as both of these can cause trouble. Be careful when using sharp objects or high heat as well, but also don’t let the fear of getting hurt prevent creativity from flowing. Those candle jars can be a variety of things with little limitations on what the imagination can do with them.

References

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