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Wax on with these new upcycling hacks.

By Hana Hong
May 22, 2020
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Two candlesticks of glass with tea lights
Credit: Getty Images

One of my biggest weaknesses in life is a good candle sale (Bath & Body Works’ 3-wicks, am I right?). I’m a sucker for some burning wax, and if you are too, then you also know that your candle affinity comes with a particular conundrum: what to do with the jar after the wax burns out? It seems like a shame to toss it, but hoarding a collection of empty jars seems pretty useless. That is, unless you have a use for it. 

For starters, make sure to clean your candle out. The secret to cleaning glass candle jars is to freeze them for at least a few hours. All those wax scraps will solidify and harden so you can scoop it out without crumbling. Then, go in with a butter knife, crack the wax to remove, and give it a good wash. Once you have a beautiful jar ready for new life, try these handy hacks below. 

1
Pop in some flowers 

If you have a bigger candle jar, one of the easiest ways to repurpose it is to turn it into a vase. Simply fill it with water and cut the flowers short depending on the size of your jar. You can always remove the label if you don’t want your candle label ruining the floral aesthetic—try hot soapy water to get it off, but if it’s being really stubborn, try a bit of Goo Gone ($4; homedepot.com) on the lingering residue.

2
Organize your vanity

The clean, simplistic look of glass candle jars will blend right in with the aesthetic of your beauty supplies. Use larger candle jars to hold makeup brushes, and smaller ones to hold things like Q-tips, bobby pins, and cotton pads. 

3
Use it as a planter

Candle jars are the perfect size for housing spring bulbs or small succulents. Scatter a layer of small stones on the very bottom to allow for some drainage, add your soil, and plant your seed. Your tiny plant pots will add just the right element of greenery to your window sill.

RELATED: 10 Clever Ways to Reuse Planters After Your Plants Die

4
Drop a tea light in it

Looking for the right lighting for a romantic vibe? Give your tea light candles an elevated look by dropping it into an empty candle jar to create a chic visual effect—indoors or out. Hot tip: Paint your clear candle glass with your color of choice before dropping in the light to emit a colored ambience. The sparkling shimmer of filtered candlelight will instantly make any setting feel more homey.

5
Set up a desk caddy

Perfect your WFH space with a bevy of empty candle jars turned office desk accessories. Use larger containers to hold taller items like pens, pencils, and scissors, and shorter ones to store erasers and paper clips. 

6
Make a new candle

Perhaps the best use for an old candle? DIY-ing a new one. You can purchase wicks ($4; michaels.com) and soy-based wax ($23; michaels.com) at most craft stores. Microwave the wax in a microwave-safe bowl to melt it down. Once the wax is liquefied, glue the wick to the bottom of your container, hold on to the wick with one hand, and slowly pour the wax into the jar with your other hand. Place the candle in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to solidify your wax—and voila! You’ll have yourself a whole new candle for much less than one would typically cost at a specialty store.