Our Favorite Ways to Upcycle Empty Candle Jars

Transform these used containers into other home essentials, such as storage jars, vases, soap dispensers, and more.  

All it takes is one strike of a match and a freshly lit candle can illuminate a room and infuse it with a soothing scent. Even as your candle eventually winds down to the last traces of wax, you can still make use of the jars in your home. Are you looking for décor pieces, storage solutions, or a home for your plants? Luckily, this is all possible and more with the use of candle jars. Here, we share how to upcycle empty candle jars into new home essentials.

candles and vase sitting on a coffee table in the living room
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Use the last bits of wax and clean the jar.

Before choosing a project for your jar, you'll need to make sure all of the wax has been cleaned out of it first. Anna Olsen, the crafted content manager at JOANN, recommends melting down the leftover wax and dipping a taper candle base into it to make a two-tone taper candle. Need another idea to use up your remaining wax? Consider melting the wax and dripping in on a closed envelope. This way you can make a personalized seal—all you'll need to do is engrave it with a stamp for the finishing touch.

To get the jar sparkling clean after you've made use of the leftover wax, Olsen says to simply boil water and pour it in the jar (leave about an inch of space at the rim). The wax will float to the top, and then you can pour it out in a strainer after the water cools off. She adds that you can use a hair dryer to heat the jar and then scrape out the leftover wax, too. Note that the wick should be removed.

Design a vase.

To upcycle your candle jar into a vase, you will start by tossing out the lid, according to the crafting experts at Michaels. Continue by painting the jar with two coats and letting it dry. Next, cut a length of jute twine ($8, michaels.com)—and secure it around the jar's rim. Simply place your favorite variety of flowers in your new vase. They recommend cutting the stem off the second bundle and adding the shorter stems around the tall bundle for a dimensional look.

Make a storage jar.

You can even add more storage space in your home with upcycled candle jars, and the design you create should complement your home's overall décor scheme. To begin, Olsen says to make textured dots on the jar with hot glue (with this step, you'll want to work in sections to give the glue some time to harden). Next, paint over the glue with a chalk-style paint such as Folkart Home Décor White Adirondack ($25, joann.com) and continue adding coats as desired after letting each coat dry first. Once you finish painting, you will seal the jar with Mod Podge Ultra Matte finish ($15.01, amazon.com).

Add a soap dispenser to your vanity.

In addition to using an empty candle jar in your bathroom to hold your toiletries, you can upcycle this piece to make a soap dispenser. Using a pouncer, like the Martha Stewart Crafts Pouncer Set ($7, michaels.com), add a chalk finish to the container. After letting that dry, the crafting experts from Michaels say to apply a second coat. You'll move on by taking a rag and brushing gel on the jar, then rubbing it to buff the color. Complete the project by twisting on a soap pump as the lid. If you want to personalize this soap dispenser more, you can add letter stickers—such as the Recollections Alphabet Stickers ($6, michaels.com).

Reinvent a garden planter.

After cleaning out your candle jars, you can use these vessels to create garden planters for your home. Simply fill your jars with soil and plants to pot your prized flowers, herbs, and more. Plus, the more candle holders the better. You can use the different shapes and sizes as chic accents to your home's décor, too.

Create a custom candle.

Instead of completely ridding your candle of wax, you can collect the wax and make a new candle of your own. To do this, you can melt and reuse the wax for a smaller candle (or even cut the hardened wax into cubes for small wax melts). Using our melt-and-pour method, you will cut a piece of wicking two inches taller than the votive holder after melting the wax. Knot one end and thread through a wick tab; tie the free end around a wooden skewer. Dip the wicking and tab into the melted wax to coat them. Remove, then press the tab to the bottom of the holder. Rest the skewer on the votive's rim. Pour the melted wax into the votive holder, stopping a half inch below the rim. Let it stand until it sets for about one hour. To even the well at the center, pour more wax into the center until it's one-fourth inch below the rim.

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