Reuse candle wax to make these fragrant Christmas ornaments and wax melts. This is an easy DIY craft that anyone can learn how to make. If you love burning scented jar candles but don’t like to waste the leftover wax, this is the perfect frugal DIY project for you!
A huge part of hygge for me (and for most people) in the winter is the lighting of candles. The soft glow of candlelight instantly puts me at ease.
I’m also a huge sucker for lightly fragranced jar candles that evoke memories of holiday seasons. I use these candles strategically throughout the year to help create a sense of calm and peace in my home.
My kids know that if Mom is burning her candles, it’s time to be chill – slow down, speak softly, be gentle.
Reuse Candle Wax to Make Christmas Ornaments & Melts
One thing about this candle burning habit that I don’t like is all the leftover wax and containers when the summer comes and I’m done with indoor candle burning for awhile. I turn my attention to citronella candles at summer picnics and canning jar lanterns for Independence Day and other holidays.
The fall and winter seasons leave behind a big mess of old wax and glass containers and I’m always looking for something to do with them! Here’s one thing you can reuse candle wax for…
Candle Wax Christmas Ornaments & Wax Melts
To accomplish this simple craft, you’ll need:
- melted candle wax
- cookie cutters
- a jelly roll pan
- parchment paper or tin foil
- a fork or something to fish out old wick parts
- matches or bamboo skewers
- ribbon or string
More Fun Easy DIY Crafts
Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornaments and Garland
Make Three Types of Candles with Kids for Homeschool and Parties
To learn to make your own candles as home, grab your copy of Candle Making in a Day from our shop!
- Melted candle wax
- Ribbon or string
- Cookie cutters
- Jelly roll pan
- Parchment paper or tin foil
- Fork or something to fish out old wick parts
- Matches & bamboo skewers
- Cover the jelly roll pan in parchment paper or tin foil and lay out the cookie cutters you'd like to use to make the ornaments.
- Follow the instructions in the article to melt old candle wax over a double boiler until just liquid and pourable. Do not overheat the old wax or it will take longer to set up and be more likely to leak* out from under the cookie cutters.
- Slowly and carefully pour the melted wax into the cookie cutters one at time. Hold the cookie cutters down by pressing them firmly onto the pan.
- Fill the cookie cutter 1/3 or 1/2 full, depending on their thickness and your desired final product.
- Allow the wax to cool a few minutes to set up just a bit.
- Place a matchstick into the wax, keeping it straight up and down. This will form the hole to hang the ornament on the Christmas tree.
- Allow the wax to cool until it begins to pull away from the sides. If you work the ornaments any sooner, they might still be warm on the inside.
- Being very careful and pushing evenly, remove the wax ornament from the cookie cutter mold.
- Remove the matchstick carefully by carefully wiggling it around in its hole. Use finesse for this, not force or you'll pop the ornament apart.
- Poke the bamboo skewer through the matchstick hole to widen it a bit and clear it of extra wax.
- Place a ribbon or string through the hole to hang as an ornament.**
* If the wax begins to leak out from under the cookie cutter, don't worry! The wax will set up quickly and you can simply re-melt it and reuse it later. To finish filling the cookie cutter, pour a little slower and wait a bit in between pours for it to set up a bit. Be sure to push down firmly on the cookie cutter to keep the wax inside.
** If you're going to be using these little wax figures as wax melts instead of ornaments, you can omit the matchstick hole and the ribbon.
Wrap these ornaments in parchment paper to keep them clean and prevent them from being scratched. Commercial jar candles can be softer than homemade for a variety of reasons, so be gentle with these ornaments.
If you give them as gifts, be sure to instruct the receiver to hang the ornaments some place warm to release the remaining fragrance oils and scent the air.
Add Decorative Accents to Your Wax Ornaments & Melts
After you’ve made the ornaments and melts, you can decorate them in various ways.
- One way is to simply use the bamboo skewer to etch designs into the surface of the wax. Be gentle and don’t cut too deeply or you might damage the ornament. Blow, do NOT wipe, the wax shaving off your ornament or you’ll re-embed the wax into the grooves.
- You can also use warm wax to create a relief like the scarf on the snowman pictured here. This takes some finesse but keep the wax warm and work quickly to place it where you’d like it. If you drop some in the wrong place, simply allow it to cool and you can scrape it off easily.
- Another thing you can do is to use small objects to embed them into the wax ornaments. Our snowman’s coal buttons and face were made from burned matchsticks we fished out of our old candle wax. You can use small beads, craft jewels, or stones, too.
Troubleshooting Wax Christmas Ornaments & Melts
If a wax melt you’ve made gets a nick, it’s not that big a deal. Simply smooth it over with your finger if the melt is under an hour old. The wax will still be pretty malleable then.
If the wax has fully set up, you can use a knife to carve off the nick and rub slowly with your finger until it’s smooth. You can use a hair dryer to warm the wax before you smooth it.
Wax melts end up completely melted anyway, so the important thing is that they smell good!
If a Christmas ornament gets a small nick, follow the same process. You may not be satisfied with the fix, though. If that happens, simply re-melt the wax ornament and pour it into the mold again. No fuss, no muss.
Like I said, to scrape off decorative wax that has fallen onto your ornament in the wrong place, allow it to set up for about 20 minutes and then pop it off with your fingernail. You can also scrape it off, and then simply smooth the surface of the wax with your warm finger.
Different waxes will adhere together differently at different temperatures. Each situation is different, so just do your best to pop off the extra wax in one piece and buff to smooth.
FAQs for Reusing Candle Wax
You might have a few questions about reusing old candle wax and I hope I’ve anticipated them below. Bottom line, this is a really simple process, so don’t overthink it.
Can I Reuse Leftover Candle Wax?
The answer is yes, you can use leftover candle wax to do a number of things like:
- melt down your old candles to make new ones
- clean out and reusing the glass containers for office supplies, hair bands, and homeschool unit study tidbits
- rub white wax over recipe cards to water proof them
- make toboggan and drawer edges run more smoothly by rubbing wax over them
- create wax and pinecone fire starters
And these are just a few ideas to get started!
How Many Times Can You Reuse Melted Wax?
You can continue to reuse leftover candle wax for as long as it lasts. The fuel for the fire of the candle is the wax, so when you’re burning candles, you end up consuming it over time.
The beautiful thing about these wax candles and melts is that, if you decide you want to do something else with them, you can simply melt them down again. You can even add more candle fragrance or colors!
You could turn them into candles once more or you could use the wax for any of the ideas in the section above or linked in this article.
What is the Best Way to Melt Old Candle Wax?
The best way to melt any wax is with a double boiler, which can help prevent the wax from overheating and catching fire. The real best way to prevent that is by always staying near your melting wax.
To Melt Leftover Wax from Candles
- Place the old wax into the pot of a double boiler.
- Place the double boiler over medium heat and stir now and then until it’s melted.
- If you’re adding candle dye, add it now and mix until incorporated.
- When using candle fragrance, add it to the wax mixture following the instructions on the package. If you’ve misplaced the instructions, simply smell/sniff the mixture. Start by adding less, rather than more.
How Do You Melt Leftover Wax in a Jar?
- If the old wax is still in the candle jar, then place the candle jar with the wax into the pot of the double boiler.
- Once the wax is liquid and can be poured out, either pour it directly into the cookie cutter molds or into the double boiler pot to mix in more color and fragrance.*
- Clean the old candle jar out by holding it with an oven mitt and swiping the inside with a paper towel or old cloth. While the wax is warm, it will wipe off easily. It will slowly harden as it cools, so work quickly.
- You can then wash out the old candle jar with soap and water to remove the residual waxy, oily film. Wash the lid, too.
- Use your old candle jar for holding your treasures!
*I’ve rarely had to add color or fragrance to the old wax that I’m using from commercial jar candles. If I’m melting down white taper candles, then I’ll add some of both!
Double boilers work wonderfully well for melting leftover wax inside the jar but the method I use most often is to place the jars on top of the fire bricks that surround the wood stove. As we keep our woodstove going throughout the winter, I simply melt the leftover wax as I have it which makes it super convenient.
You can NOT place the candle jars directly onto the woodstove because they might breaks and leak hot wax everywhere. The fire bricks work as a buffer that diffuses the direct heat from the woodstove much like the double boiler and hot water do.
This would work if you have cobb surrounding a rocket stove or bricks around a masonry heater.
Are There Natural Waxes to Use for Christmas Ornaments & Melts?
Yes, yes, there are natural waxes you can use instead of paraffin for a more natural craft!
Paraffin, the commercial white wax you see most often, is a refined petroleum product and not what you’d call natural. However, there are several natural waxes you can look for to purchase when buying candles or candle making supplies.
- Bees Wax is a truly sustainable, clean wax being made completely by bees! Homestead Honey can teach you how to make bees wax dipped candles.
- Bayberry wax comes from bayberries, which seems magical to me. Joybilee Farm can teach you how to make DIY bayberry candles from foraged bayberries.
- Coconut wax is supposed to be the healthiest and cleanest burning option for candle wax. Stone Candles can teach you how to make coconut wax candles at home.
More Resources for Reusing Candle Wax to Make Christmas Ornaments & Melts
If you discover you enjoy making candles, you might want to learn to make your own candle molds for pillar candles. You have to purchase cookies cutters for these Christmas ornaments, but these candle molds you can make from materials you’d otherwise throw away! To get a FREE printable tutorial for making your candle molds, simply join our newsletter family below!
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