from Marta with Love

My Favorite Little Repurpose

Today I thought I’d share a quick “tutorial” (if you can call it that) for my favorite repurposed item.  Nothing fancy, but kinda cool and something I’ve found to be useful.

Bath and Body Works candles.  You have every scent imaginable to choose from, they burn evenly, the wax is of a better quality than most (I think), they are incredibly fragrant (in a good way, not an overpowering way), and they have lids.  They look nice and simple, and you can peel the sticker cleanly off, which really pleases me more than it should.  Oh, and did I mention they’re constantly on sale?  I never buy them unless they’re 2-for-1.

I must’ve gotten the repurposing bug from my mom, who refuses to waste ANYTHING, EVER.  Since I like the simple, clean shape of these I wanted to try to make them stretch past their role as candle, so I came up with this little repurpose.  Once these guys burn out completely, here’s what you do:

  • Put the candle in a small pot and fill the area around it with water, a little ways past the height of the wax inside.
  • Bring the water to a boil.  You’ll want to make sure you bring the water to a boil while the candle is inside, not put the candle in when the water’s already boiling.
  • Let it boil until you see the chunk of wax in the candle start to loosen from the edges.  The goal is to melt only the wax around the edges.  You don’t want to melt all of it.  This should not take long –I’ve never timed it, but I would guess this takes about a minute and probably not more than two.
  • Once the outside of the wax has melted a little and you can see the chunk of unmelted wax loosening at the edges, CAREFULLY remove the candle from your pot (this can be tricky so perform at your own risk!  I use silicone oven gloves and I make sure I have a good grip on the candle before I lift it out of the pot).  Then, you simply dump the chunk of wax into the trash.  It should come out in one chunk and leave very little wax on the inside of the candle.  (This is where the clean and simple design of the candles comes into play.  You couldn’t do this with a fancy shmancy ornate candle that has all kinds of grooves in its shape because the chunk would get stuck and not fall cleanly out.  Can we stop talking about chunks now?)  I digress.
  • Now, put the used-to-be candle in the sink and CAREFULLY pour the boiling water from your pot into the candle.  This should help rinse out any remaining wax.  I usually have enough boiling water in my pot to fill the candle up once or twice to rinse it out.  Once you’ve done this, rinse it with cold water just to cool it down so you can handle it without oven gloves.
  • At this point, the wax should be completely gone, but I’ve found that if I wipe it dry now there will be a little bit of waxy residue on the inside of the candle.  To make it sparkling clean, I throw it in the dishwasher and that takes care of it.  It’s now an empty container (with a lid!) that you can use to hold anything your heart desires.

I use mine to hold notions.  They’re the perfect size for pins or buttons or any other relatively small item, and the lid makes them convenient to pack up and travel with if you’re going to awesome guild meetings and such.  What’s also great is that you have a couple sizes to choose from –Bath and Body has one-wick and three-wick candles that can make different sized used-to-be candles.

I’ve even used these guys to hold… other candles.  They make a great tea light holder you can bring outside without having your tea lights blow out in a breeze.  If you’d like, you could also put river rocks in them for decoration, or potpourri, or CANDY.  Really, do whatever you want.

So there you have it.  My first little tutorial on my favorite repurposed item.  If you’re a sewist, here’s another one for ya:


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  • Anonymous

    I always save my candle containers with intentions to do this!

    April 5, 2012 at 1:09 am Reply
  • mle

    Love it!!

    April 5, 2012 at 1:31 am Reply
  • Aunt Marti

    Awhile back, Bed Bath & Beyond carried a Yankee Candle Co. candle in a jar that makes a perfect "old fashioned" glass (like the drink Old Fashioned, made with bourbon and bitters). I love the candle, he likes an Old Fashioned!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:47 am Reply
  • Valerie

    Just stopping over from Julie's…and so glad I did! I like your work 🙂

    April 6, 2012 at 2:54 am Reply
  • Nikki Kelly

    I save those candle jars all the time too! I usually just set one on my warming section of my stove and turn it about half way up. The best part is it makes the whole house smell good while I’m melting the wax. I’ve even saved the wax by pouring it into a solo cup so I can use it in a Sentsy later, although the fragrance wears off over time. Great idea to use them for notions though, now I need some new candles!

    Nikki Kelly @ the ambitious procrastinator

    November 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm Reply
  • Sue

    i do this, but I also save the candle wax. when i have a bunch, i melt it down and make firesrters out of dryer lint packed into cardboard egg crates. i hear you can use empty toilet paper rolls, too.

    March 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm Reply
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