Playing with old candles

I love candles. A gray rainy day, light that candle and curl up with a book and now its just cozy. 

Cooking dinner, light a candle and now the kitchen is a little more homey.

Special dinner party and no time (or desire to spend more money) for flowers, put candles out on the table and wah-lah it looks all fancy.

Which is why they are usually the first thing I look for at yard sales in particular. People tend to get rid of whole bags or boxes of candles they haven't used - and have obviously decided they are never going to - for a dollar or two. Because as much as I like candles, I like not paying retail for them even more.

But my love of candles often means my home is littered with the dregs of them in glass jars or ends of tapers or pillars.

As I had a rainy Sunday and was feeling a desire to make something, I looked at my candle left-overs and wondered if I could combine them with the little bowls/mugs/ramekins I have sitting on my craft room shelf.

A quick check on Pintrest and I found that the answer was yes.

There were several different tutorials on Pintrest for getting the wax out of the glass containers. I decided to go with putting them on an old hot-plate until they turned liquid, and then pouring the wax into a saucepan (which is now forever my "candle making" saucepan).

The left over tapers and pillars went directly into the saucepan.

Reason ten-million and one why I love Pintrest, because not only were there ideas on how to get the wax out/melted, but more ideas like adding old broken crayons to add bright colors. 

I have a drawer full of broken crayons, and now Pintrest just told me why.

An added bonus for this craft was the lack of having to go buy additional craft supplies (which I really appreciated because I didn't feel like changing out of my pajama pants, or putting on a bra, or generally leaving my house at all). 

I reused wicks and wick stands from some of the old tapered candles and, on a few, used long match-sticks soaked in olive oil for wooden wicks. So, a very low cost re-purposing. The candles I used where ends that were headed for the trashcan, and their new containers were all from a thrift store or yard sale - and its rare for me to pay more than a quarter for anything like that.

So with a little melting, reused wick and a couple pencils, this old diner coffee mug combined with the remains of a coffee-scented candle...

 became this cutie which is now sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be lit while I make dinner.

This pink candle was a combination of the remains of two different scented candles that smell even better together, and is adorable in an old juice glass. This one I'm saving for the next rainy day.

Who knew a plain old ramekin I picked up at a thrift store could turn into such a pretty little candle on my book shelf.

This one is out on the porch and took the most time, but used up a lot of old crayons! Reminds me of the colored-sand sculptures we used to make at the shore when we were kids.

I bought this little enameled bowl at a church sale years ago for .50 just because I loved the color, but was never really sure what I would do with it. I think the fuchsia crayon/wax goes great with the chartreuse of the bowl. This little guy just makes me happy and is now residing on my bedside table.


Next time you look around and notice those almost-empty candle jars or half-melted pillars, maybe find an old saucepan and a mason jar or mug and make yourself a new candle to enjoy that costs next to nothing. My favorite kind of candle!


Carol Ann's Corner

Carol Ann's Corner
Tips from our favorite shop keeper

Real or Reproduction

As you are hunting around for treasure at yard sales and flea markets, you will come across things that make you wonder if they are original or reproductions. It can be hard to tell.

These are a couple tip offs.

One, does it look a little worn? It should if its really antique or vintage. Even the best kept china got moved around in the cabinet, the doll's vinyl body and hair faded a bit, or the lunch box got a little rust around the hinges. If it looks shiny and new, chances are it is.

Two, are there a lot of them? If you are in a shop or flea market stall and there are ten of the items you've been looking for and haven't been able to find...they have probably been manufactured. Unless you are at a reputable dealer who specializes in that item, then you may have hit the jackpot for your particular collectible.

A good way to gauge if it is a reputable dealer is they will be happy to answer your questions about if the item is authentic or not, and how you can tell. A dealer with a passion and knowledge about that item, will enjoy explaining that all to you. A disreputable dealer, not so much.

Carol Ann Miller
Proprietor, Miller's Fine Antiques

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