I am writing this post for three reasons.
1. Because I am a hoarder and hate throwing away anything.
2. Because in a couple of weeks, I am going to show a craft project that requires leftover wax as one of the materials. I like to save my wax from old candles (see reason #1) but I couldn’t find any comprehensive posts about this on Pinterest that I could link back to. So I am demonstrating it here. Back to the future….again.
3. Because Bath and Body Works had a candle sale last weekend and I had to mentally justify the cost of purchasing more candles by using them to pose for a pretty picture for my blog. Like this…
I have a thing for candles in general, but Bath and Body Works candles are like my crack cocaine. Like fragrantly delicious crack cocaine. The fact that they come in these nice glass containers does not help my addiction.
Before I dive into this, I want to say that there are lots of ways to remove wax in these situations; freezing the glass, heating the glass, scoring the wax and taking it out chuck by chunk… All of these methods work, yes, but I have found that they tend to leave a residue or small bits of wax that I end up needing to scrub off by hand in the sink. Not a big deal, but I like to avoid it because 1. I don’t want wax and crud all over my sponge or down my plumbing, and 2. glass like this is not made to withstand a lot of handling and could easily break (as I have learned on numerous occasions). All of this is to say, my method here might take a little more time but it is fool proof, requires zero elbow grease, and leaves the glass sparkling clear. Sound good? Read on.
What’s nice about a lot of scented candles is that they come in these handy glass containers. The sides are usually straight-up-and-down and are good for storing all kinds of goodies. As you can see, I am using this one to corral my colored spoons. I have a thing for colored spoons.
Side note: The green candle there is called Fresh Balsam. It smells better than real fresh balsam, which is saying something. The scent is super homey, not-too feminine, and neutral enough that you can burn them all winter long – not just Christmas. That is why they make a great Christmas gifts; the recipient can enjoy them in January. If you ever need to get a no-think $10 gift for a holiday gift swap, this is it. Stock up.
Another note: Just to clarify, this post is not sponsored by Bath and Body Works. Although, I can’t blame you for thinking that. I am doing a really good job of kissing their butt right now.
Okay. On to the tutorial!
About Labels: It occurred to me after I took these photos that maybe I should have included something about removing the labels off the glass. Nice one. Well, here is what I know: most candle making folks realize we want the glasses so they are making it easy to remove the labels (Glade has a whole series of commercials based on this). Still, some labels are stuck on with crazy tough adhesives and can be very difficult to remove. If that is the case, soaking them in a bowl of hot water with blue Dawn dish detergent is about as good as it gets. If you remove 95% of the label but find that dried up paper crud later on, smear it with coconut oil, let it rest for a few minutes, then go back with a scrubber. That should do it.
Okay. Now let’s get on to the tutorial. I mean it this time!
VERY IMPORTANT: Set the wax aside in a plastic bag to save for future projects.
The key is to get that paper towel in there when those last bits of wax are still liquid. They should cling to the towel without effort. Swish swish swish. Presto!
If you have to scrub, add more hot water and wait a minute, then try again. Except for a little windex or vinegar at the end (optional), there should be no rubbing or elbow grease at all. Rubbing = smearing, and the last thing you want is wax smeared all over your glass container.
Side Note: You don’t have to boil water just for this purpose. Hot water poured off a pot of rice or pasta works just fine. This process need not be pretty.
Also note: Don’t do this process in your sink or on your nice counter top. Lay down an old rag or newspaper. You don’t want to have to scrape hardened wax bits off your table or your drain.
Random tip for all those candles that come separate from the votive (and you want to keep it that way).
The candle will melt but the water will form a barricade between the wax and the glass (remember from science class: oil and water don’t mix). Eventually the candle will extinguish itself and you can just plop it out of the container and empty the water. No fuss. Neat stuff, right? This is a trick I picked up working at an Italian restaurant in college. Saves sooo much time. No picking wax out of a hundred votives at the end of a long shift.
And while I’m talking about candles, here is a trick for making them last much longer. Or, if you are in a pinch and need to do some scrubbing, this is the best scrubbing device I have ever encountered (and it was totally free). Woot!