How to upcycle ugly, wax-covered candle jars

I took in a pile of candle jars that someone had cast aside. Where others saw trash, I saw an upcycling opportunity.  


Saving old wax-covered candle jars from landfill

The first step in making these eyesores useable was to clean up the waxy goo, and de-uglify them. As you can see, there was plenty of wax remaining in each one.

I used an old razor blade from my safety razor spent pile to scrape away the exterior labelling from the smooth glass.

To get the wax off candle jars use heat or cold. One trick is to put the container in the freezer to encourage the wax to harden, contract, and pull away from the edge. It’ll make the wax easier to chip off. I think it depends what kind of wax you’re working with.

It didn’t work for me here, so instead I placed them on a tray in an oven on low heat. When the wax had softened, I scraped it out and then wiped with an old rag. As I’m not sure what kinds of chemicals were used for the candles, any chunks of wax remnants went in my landfill container. The last step was to wipe the jars with some homemade vinegar all purpose cleaner until each one had nice shiny glass.

Ways to upcycle old candle jars

And now for the fun part. There are plenty of uses for clean, de-waxed old candle jars, aside from the obvious possibility of reusing to make your own candles. Here are a few things I did and you could too:

Use as a planter for succulents

There is no drainage, so water minimally, or add some rocks to the bottom before you add soil to keep roots from suffocating. Succulents and cacti are a great choice because they barely need watering.

Use as a container for rags

These rags are made from a worn out tee shirt, cut up into small pieces. I use these plus a small bit of coconut oil to remove eye makeup at the end of the day.

Store looseleaf tea

This candle jar can with an airtight lid, so I use it for storing looseleaf tea. You could store anything in it though.

Your turn, what would you do with old candle jars?

2 thoughts on “How to upcycle ugly, wax-covered candle jars

  1. This is a great idea. For some reason I never thought of glass as a planter, but I have used old candle glasses for storing things (yes, like your tiny rags) and as vases when I had short clippings. Nice post!

    1. Glasses as planters work well so long as you don’t over-water. Cacti and succulents seem to do well here in Australia. Anything else and I’d make sure to add some rocks or something as the bottom layer for drainage.

      Vases are another great idea – thanks for sharing 🙂

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