Saturday, 14 February 2009

LBYM tip du jour - recycling candles

As part of its new fascination with frugality, a month ago Channel 4 broadcast a program "The hunt for Britain's tightest person". Naturally, I watched it. And learned precisely one thing new: a trick for recycling candles.

The scenario: you have a pretty scented candle that has burned down more in the middle than on the outside, so that there is a bit of unburnt wax left once the wick has gutted out. Select a suitable container for holding a burning candle (I'm reusing a little metal bucket which previously held a candle). Fix a prepared wick into the bottom of the container using a drop of melted wax (you can buy prepared wicks at Hobby Craft). Cut or break the wax up into lumps and pack it around the wick. Place the container on top of a working radiator; the wax will gently melt and consolidate around the wick and voila! You have a new candle.

Points to note:
  1. If you don't have a suitable radiator, select somewhere that gets really warm. I used the top of the gas fire in our lounge. Just make sure that it is a flat surface.
  2. Wax is highly flammable, so put the candle-in-making somewhere you can keep an eye on it and remove it from the heat-source once the wax has softened sufficiently.
  3. You will probably need something to hold up the wick, to keep it straight and upright. I've tied mine to a skewer. The guy in the documentary secured his between a couple of pegs, but it occurs to me you could slide it into a giant paperclip. You cut it off once set.
  4. Once the candle has set, trim the wick to within half an inch of the top of the wax. Use really sharp scissors - wick is quite tough.

- Pam


amy said...

Well that's way easier than melting and dipping! How hard was it to get the wax chunks out of the original container, though?

PipneyJane said...

I applied a little heat and it slipped out easily (I rested the container on the radiator for a few minutes). You could always put it in a small bowl of very hot water.

When I was at Hobby Craft buying the wicks, I found some microwavable soy wax. Since I'm still staking out the charity shops in the hope I'll find a cheap double-boiler for candle making, it seemed like a good alternative. I'll let you know how it goes.

- Pam

Brenda said...

Well I must be very frugal, because I used to do this years ago!