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Making candles
#1
Have any of you made your own candles? I've recently found a source of 'used' candles. The are coming from church candelabras, and have been set aside as they are getting "too short to safely burn". These are taper candles that are (now) 6"-8" long.

While I could use them as they are, I'd like to melt them down and make new candles, using half-pint canning jars to hold the new candles.

I know I can get wicks at places like Joanne's, and I know using a double-boiler is a good way to melt the wax safely. I've also seen suggestions to use a cheese grater to make the source wax easily melt quickly.

The biggest thing I'm trying to figure out is how to efficiently repurpose as much of the wax as possible while easily removing and disposing of the existing wicks in the process.
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#2
Put them in a plastic ziplock bag and then smack them with a mallet a few times. Should break them up enough that you can just pull the wicks off the pieces.
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#3
I use an industrial heat gun to harvest wax from unwanted candle jars and pour the wax into an aluminum mold (example: old ice cube tray). Immediately place in a freezer, and when cool the wax ingot will shrink to the point of falling out of the mold ("mould").

Old plastic fruit cup containers work for this too, float on cold water during pouring for best results. Lacking a cold water cooling bath, the containers can partially soften & bond to the wax.

BTW, my mother-in-law is very experienced in country living. She'd use coffee pots or whatever for melting wax. When done, she would wash out all the containers with very hot water & soap. Nary a trace of wax left behind. Impressive.

Making candles...not as much experience. I have been considering a tube mold, right now it's been mostly sawdust firecakes for our fireplace.
Subject matter expert on questions no one's asking.
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#4
Snap candles in half. Put in mason jars. Put mason jars in a pot with water (half way up jar) when melted pluck old wicks out. You know the rest...
I did two the other day.
Shrug Ive got my eyes on you
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#5
If the candle stubs you're getting are 6" - 8" long the wicks should be more than long enough to use in your ½ pint canning jars, (should be 2" - 4" extra to secure for the process of setting the wick into the new candle, ½ pint jars are only 4" tall). Metal bases/anchors for wicks are available but paper clips will work too, you only need enough weight to hold it straight while the wax is hardening. The candle stubs broken into pieces to retrieve the wicks can be put directly into the jars and heated in water over a mild heat source until melted, drop in the weighted wick(s) with something attached to the top to keep it (them) from falling in, (think dowel rod, pencil, drinking straw, etc.) and set aside to cool.

A single wick should burn OK but something of that diameter should support double or triple wicks, depending on the diameter of the wick material.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#6
ETA: Something I've not tried but the thought just crossed my mind.
Melt a jar full of wax and put a candle stub directly into the melted wax after you take it off the heat and it's starting to cool. The residual heat will easily soften or start to melt the wax of the stick you're inserting to get a good bond. If you're lucky the stub you put in shouldn't melt completely therefore not letting the wick float aimlessly before the wax sets up. You might even get an interesting configuration with a 6" high candle sticking out of the middle of a 4" jar.
I just might have to try that with a few of my "worn out" candles.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#7
I asked my wife to find out what the church does with their candles. If we can get a bunch from them, I'll probably make some of our candles as well.
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#8
Great resource that I never thought of. Thanks for the idea Greg.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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#9
mauser;58694 Wrote:A single wick should burn OK but something of that diameter should support double or triple wicks, depending on the diameter of the wick material.

I was wondering about that. Where can I find more specific info on when multiple wicks can safely be employed?
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#10
gnbrotz;58878 Wrote:
mauser;58694 Wrote:A single wick should burn OK but something of that diameter should support double or triple wicks, depending on the diameter of the wick material.

I was wondering about that. Where can I find more specific info on when multiple wicks can safely be employed?

I don't suspect it to be so much of a safety issue as efficiency. More wicks will burn the fuel faster and give off more light and heat. The more heat issue could possibly be a safety issue if you go overboard with it.
My mom made candles a long time ago and I remember seeing some of the things she learned from. Too little wick in too big a candle would smother the wick to the point that it would barely burn, if at all. You have to burn the melted wax around the wick before it accumulates too much and suffocates the flame. There are different wick diameters to consider too. A thicker wick will tolerate a bigger candle, think of a citronella bucket as opposed to a birthday candle. A taper candle such as used in a church candelabra would be about medium duty.
A half pint canning jar will be sufficient with one medium to fairly heavy wick or 2 medium to fairly light wicks. The diameter of the jar is slightly less than 3", that should make a long lasting single single and should support a double without burning all of the fuel too quickly.
I would be somewhat concerned about excess heat cracking the glass even though it stands to reason that canning jars are made to withstand a fair amount of heat, we're talking about open flame rather than boiling water but double wick shouldn't be excessive.
I'll drop it here in favor of advice from someone who has actually used canning jars.
There are three types of people in the world:
Those who make things happen,
Those who watch things happen,
And those who wonder what happened.
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