I burn a lot of candles during the winter, but start in the fall at the first sign of a cloud 🙂 I’ve been known to light up a few in the spring and summer too! 😀 I only buy organic, candles with safe wicks, such as cotton or hemp. And only vegan wax, of course, but I also make sure they are waxes that are safe such as soy, or palm wax — basically, any vegetable-based wax — and not combined with other chemicals, etc. Beeswax which is popular is not vegan. Paraffin is a no-no, even though it’s vegan, at least in the sense that it is not derived from animal fat (remember the fat from whales was used for burning oil lamps; and seals are still bludgeoned for their fat as well 😦 )
There are some paraffin waxes “okayed” for eating, yikes. It’s in a lot of cheap chocolate. Anyway, I stay away from it; it’s a petroleum derivative and setting it on fire in your house isn’t very healthful. As well, the wicks contain chemicals similarly, and often they use metal wiring to hold the wick straight, however, it was discovered that it was lead! So, if purchasing candle wicking, make sure it has a safe metal, if one at all. I prefer no metal.
These hemp, soy, palm and other natural candles are EXpensive! Quite. So I save most of the containers — always the glass and the glass or plastic holders for tea candles — AND all the wax that doesn’t burn! I really hate when I buy a $20-candle and then 1/4 of it is left at the bottom unburned
One exception is palm wax: I never have anything left from burning these tapered palm candles from Aloha Bay. They burn beautifully, steadily, SLOWLY, and with a gorgeous flame too. And they just burn down to nothing and extinguish themselves! (note: never leave a candle unattended) I get these locally. They can also be found online and the price is actually very good, even on their own site in comparison to beeswax tapers, for example — same burn time as beeswax tapers, same dripless burn too; yet MUCH less for the palm! So a very comparable, vegan exchange 🙂
Back to recycling — I save the unburned wax! I’ve got a few bagsful of chunks of wax since I’ve been saving for several years now. These expensive waxes are always really good quality as far as ingredients and the essential oils used; so they remain fragrant, even years later. For a while I tried to keep them separated into groups of waxes that had similar fragrances, but then just started throwing them all together 😀
I’ve made candles in the past (years ago when I was a kid before I knew that soy could even be a wax )with paraffin wax and fake fragrances — by the way, don’t those fake fragrances just scream out at you now? I notice it in a lot of perfumey crap like when you use a public restroom and they have some chemical liquid in a bottle you’re supposed to use to wash your hands…Ugh! Did I really used to like those fragrances?!! Eegads, I used to have them in MY home.
Okay, so knowing how easy candles are to make, I simply got a few things together and they look like brand-new candles!
Above: Some safe candle wicking (it’s cotton); 2 candles I made with tealight containers I saved and filled with the recycled wax; and a few chunks of wax I saved from old candles that I later melted to make new candles.
I tried reusing the tabs simply by pulling the wicks through the holes, and that works. I did have to re-open the holes because they are squeezed close to tighten around the wicks. But since these tealights are so small, just holding the wick and pouring a bit of melted wax on it till it hardens, sets it right in place just fine. Either way works. I may buy a bag of tabs, though, at some point; they’re very inexpensive.
So…just melted the wax in the microwave, no less ;)– hey, it’s good for something at least! (it was okay for small amounts; bigger, I’d use the stove and an old pot) in a microwave-safe container (not the plastic molds!). I poured it, made sure the wick held to the center and put them in the freezer to rush the hardening. Done!
And they burned beautifully as you can see in the picture above, and they smelled grrrrrreat too!
I have hemp twine that I hope to experiment with soon. I think this would be a very inexpensive way to make my own wicks. There are a lot of ways to make wicks online. I’ve read how to make them with old pieces of cotton fabric! Not sure I’d do that, lol. But the hemp twine I have should be fairly easy.
Hemp twine I bought for my sprout bags 🙂 :