'Don't Throw Them Out!' – Make the Most Out of Your Candles with This Genius Hack for Reusing Wax Stubs

Candles looking burnt out? Try this 'wick'edly clever hack!

A room with art deco style wallpaper and candles in gold holders on a mantelpiece
(Image credit: Future)

If you're anything like us, you will have been burning taper candles all through the festive season. They're the perfect accompaniment to any merry mantelpiece or tablescape, but what can you do with the old candle stubs after Christmas?

They're the type of thing you're always hesitant to throw away, convinced there must be a crafty way to make the most of your wax and allow your best candles to burn that little bit longer. However, like us, stumped with what to do with them, you probably just resort to just tossing them in the trash. 

Well, if you want a nifty way to reuse them, you'll be pleased to hear you're in luck. We've found a clever hack that will change the way you see those stubs of remaining candle wax once and for all. 

It's all courtesy of Kelly McGinty (@jellyandjonny on Instagram) who's on hand with this fabulous hack to make your candles last longer. Simply melt down your leftover candle stubs and re-pour them— it's the perfect way to repurpose an old plant pot or candle holder, too!

What you'll need

christmas table with tall candles on it

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

All you need to do is melt down your candle stubs and repurpose them is:

1. Your candle stubs

2. Candle wicks

3. A pot: you can repurpose one you've got lying around your house or pick one up from a thrift store 

4. Optional scented oil- think lavender or rose, or try something more musky with sandalwood

5. Paint tester pots

6. Baking soda

How to do it

antique gold candle holders

(Image credit: Terrtain)

To make your perfect candle pot, mix baking soda with a paint tester pot, and get painting! This will give your pot a textured, rustic look.

Next, it's time to make the new candle wicks. These can be picked up pretty inexpensively, like these ones on Amazon. Stick the metal bases to the bottom of the inside of your pot, and tie the wicks to wooden skewers to hold them in place while you pour the wax in.

Now it's time to melt the wax! To do this, put your candle stubs into a large saucepan and warm them over a low heat - they will begin to melt quickly and easily. Then, simply pick out the old candle wicks with some tongs. At this point, you can add a few drops of scented oil (scents like lavender are great for making a scented candle stronger).

Next it's time for the main event— the pouring! Simply pour your melted wax into your chosen pot. The skewers will hold the wicks in place as you do so. Then, leave to set until hard before removing the skewers. 

Finally, trim the wicks and your beautiful, homemade and recycled candle is ready for burning. This will not only look great around your home, but it's also completely customizable. You can choose a sculptural vase or bold paint color to make a statement, or go for a more lived-in feel, like Kelly. She also rubs the pot with sand and soil for an antique vibe.

This hack creates a new candle from the old and encourages sustainability around the home. 'I believe such hacks strongly echo the principles of resourcefulness and zero-waste, fundamental aspects of sustainable living,' says Giullaume Drew, the founder of sustainable homeware brand Or & Zon. 'Just ensure the candle stubs are thoroughly cleaned before being melted down, and use a diverse range of stubs for a unique blend of fragrances.'

 Our top picks to complete the hack

Ottilie Blackhall
Trainee Writer

Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.