How to reuse a candle jar: 15 ways to upcycle your wax containers

Love candles but not the glass waste? Learn how to reuse a candle jar with these creative DIY home accessories

An assortment of feminine decor including candle jar planters and hardback books
(Image credit: Swoon Worthy Blog)

If you're looking to learn how to reuse a candle jar and love the smell of scented wax, we're here to shine a light on recycling. Or, as the cool interior kids call it: upcycling.

One of the ways to achieve a gorgeously-scented home, is with a candle from one of the best home fragrance brands. But with these seemingly addictive buys, comes the issue of glass waste. So how do you go about repurposing candle jars? When you look a the price of designer candles, binning the jar seems criminal, so we're here to show you how to give your vessel a second life.

The use of natural materials such as wood and glass is trending in the home, as we reduce our consumption of plastic and less environmentally-friendly finds. But if you've collected a couple of empty candle containers and your space is getting crammed, we'll show you how to distribute and dot them around the house.

From plant pots to cosmetic canisters, and beverage bins, figuring out how to repurpose candle jars never looked so easy with this plethora of clever hacks.

How to remove the candle wax from the jar

'A tip for getting the last bit of wax out of the bottom of the jar is to put the candle in the freezer overnight- this causes the wax to contract so it should just pop out.' says Kate Crofton-Atkins, founder of Cochine (opens in new tab).

A variety of candle making equipment including jar, wax, wicks

(Image credit: Getty / Bohdan Bevz (#1342122861))

1. Create another candle

The most obvious thing that springs to mind when reusing a candle jar, is to make another candle. To create a wax light with health benefits, combine soy or beeswax pellets, or leftover candle wax with your favorite essential oil for headaches. There's no need to visit specialist shops, because wax pellets (opens in new tab) and peppermint oil (opens in new tab) (for example) can both be fetched from Amazon.

Alternatively, for a more complex aroma that'll rival the best candles, have a read through our essential oil recipes to inspire your own blend.

An assortment of designer candle jars containing cosmetic make-up brushes

(Image credit: @lundaasen)

2. Store your makeup brushes

We all know about the esteem-boosting powers that makeup can have, but 99 per cent of the time – it's all about how you apply it. Make sure your cosmetic tools are kept in reach so that you can have them at hand when you come to use your favorite brand's foundation, blusher, bronzer and highlighter.

Having your makeup storage ideas in clear sight in your dressing room, or bedroom means you're less likely to chuck used equipment in your make-up bag or handbag. This'll act as a reminder to wash your tools regularly to keep your skin clean and free of bacteria.

A bouquet of seasonal flowers in Yankee candle jars with Yankee Candle Tangerine and Vanilla candle in forefront

(Image credit: @sugarandcharm)

3. Use the vessel as a vase

Make your old candle fragrance come to life with a fresh bouquet of flowers. For example, it you had the Cochine White Jasmine & Gardenia Scented Candle (opens in new tab)  emulate the scent with real blooms to fill the air with femininity.

Freshly-picked jasmine and gardenia work well to add classy and creamy white tones to your scheme, and enjoy the benefits of houseplants in a whole new way.

'I upcycle my candle jars when they’re finished burning and use them as vases to hold my seasonal flowers!' says Eden Passante aka @sugarandcharm (opens in new tab).

'After doing this for a while, I have a wonderful collection of empty candle jars  vases that are all different heights. They work so well as a centerpiece down the table, for a party and for every day!'

So if you do want to know how to dress a spring table cheaply, why not have a go at this easy idea? Saying that, you could use this decor hack all-year round switching out different flowers to accommodate for the autumn and winter months.

Two Jo Malone candle jars filled with cotton balls and cotton pads

(Image credit: @diamondcleaningontario)

4. Upgrade your plastic cotton swab container

The classic Q-tip can be used for a multitude of purposes from removing wax and make-up to cleaning and crafting. But if the paper of packaging it came in is a little basic, swap out the box for a candle jar for a bathroom storage idea with spa-like appeal

Empty colored jars, like these Amber variants can be bought from Amazon (opens in new tab), however a standard leftover clear jar will work just as well for cotton balls, buds and pads.

5. Get the job done with a pretty pen pot

Ever been on the phone trying to write down important information, and scrambling for a pen? We've all been there, gesturing to a family member with a squiggle sign in panic, trying to retrieve a writing tool.

So if you're sick of seeking out stationery in drawers around the house, this home office organization idea is one way to stop playing hide and seek, and beats a boring pen pot. Combined with the best desk organizer, you can be productive while your papers and pens are in their rightful place.

A selection of beauty products with dry brush scrub on wooden table

(Image credit: Getty / Alina Nechaeva (#1221211711))

6. Get smooth skin by turning it into a body scrub jar

Candles are great for adding additional ambiance to any area, but if YOU want to light up the room, make your skin glow with a DIY body scrub. 

After removing and rinsing the wax from your candle, mix granulated sugar (brown or white) with coconut oil and a few drops of essential oil to create a coarse product to use in the shower. 

If you can't get to your local health store, all the products we've linked out to are available on Amazon.

You could even use instant coffee (as pictured) as a morning shower scrub to awaken your senses.

A bathroom with reused candle jars as toothbrush and toothpaste holder

(Image credit: Kimberly Duran / Swoon Worthy)

7. Store your toothbrushes and toothpaste

The mad rush in the morning might mean that you leave your brushing material on the basin or bathroom shelf, which can attract bacteria. Worse still – it could fall on the floor (gross).

So keep your items secure by reusing a candle jar as a toothbrush holder. This budget bathroom organization idea looks better than some retail offerings out there and saves you a trip to the recycling center.

Swap out plastic manual toothbrushes for bamboo ones for a sustainable switch that's kinder to the planet.

A DIY plant stand made from candle jar

Discover @black_moon_design's other crafts available on Etsy

(Image credit: @black_moon_designs)
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8. Create a DIY planter

Being a plant parent can be an enjoyable experience and choosing the best indoor plants to adorn your home is one of the best parts.

But, housing your babies can get a little on the pricey side. So if you're not keen on keeping your succulents in their default plastic containers, reuse a candle jar to repot them. 

These DIY plant stands are a lot sturdier and will align more closely to the rest of your interior homewares.

Aery red and white candle jar filled with crushed ice and lime/cherry cocktail drink

(Image credit: Aery)

9. Mix up your glassware

Move over Mason jars, there's a new cocktail glass in town. If you haven't got any quirky canning containers to hand, quench your guest's thirst in an instant by reusing a candle jar.

These cute Aery candles (available from John Lewis) (opens in new tab) have a gorgeous ombre design that would look so chic filled with something fruity. They're the perfect vessel to add color to your alfresco picnics or garden parties and can work alongside other outdoor dining ideas.

Alternatively, instead of filling them with cocktails, swap out shot glasses for these slightly larger liquor shooters. Bottoms up!

A trio of candle jars used to display dried flowers including gypsophillia or baby's breath

(Image credit: @noplasticlucy)

10. Display dried flowers 

If you think potpourri should stay in the past – you'll like this contemporary update. 

Rather than relying on questionably colored and fragranced pieces of petals and bark, modernize your passageway decor with dried flowers instead for a whimsical, bohemian alternative to traditional hallway ideas.

11. Gift DIY candy jars

A trio of candle jars filled with chocolate candy confectionery and labeled with magenta pink vinyl cut-outs

(Image credit: Sustain My Craft Habit)

How sweet is this DIY candy jar idea from sibling duo, Jane and Sonja at Sustain My Craft Habit (opens in new tab)? Instead of gifting chocolate and candy in the original box, decant them into a lidded candle jar to create a unique gift.

Whether you make this as a one-off birthday treat, or as holiday gifts, buying your confectionery in bulk on Amazon (opens in new tab) is one way to make this edible surprise super cheap.

Personalize your jars by investing in a labeling machine (like the Cricut Joy on Amazon (opens in new tab)) to add vinyl prints and patterns to plain jars. Why not add your recipient's name or print off classic candy stripes for a retro sweet shop design.

12. Grow your own salad toppings

You don't need an allotment or farmer's market nearby to access homegrown food. In more cases than not, you can revive your regrow lettuce, celery, leek and spring onion stumps on your windowsill, reusing a candle jar to create an urban balcony garden.

13. Create a crunchy sprouted seed salad topping

Sprouting seeds is a quick way to get more vitamins and nutrients into your lunches. But, buying these pre-made can be expensive, and annoying, many of these healthy food products come packaged in plastic. Here's how to do it cheaply.

You will need:

  1. Rinse and inspect your beans: bring a natural product, you'll want to wash your beans to clean them, and look for any stones or foreign objects that are inedible. Using your fine sieve is the best way to do this.
  2. Fill your candle jar with water: How much will depend on how big your container is. Add a 2-3 tablespoons of your chosen bean to give them lots of room to expand.
  3. Cover with cheesecloth: Use your scissors to cut your cheesecloth to size (enough to fit around the candle jar) and secure with a rubber band. Soak the beans for 8-12 hours at room temperature and watch as they 'grow'.
  4. Drain the first batch of water: After the time is up, drain the water through the cheesecloth, remove the rubber band and repeat steps 2-3. Place the jar upside-down at an angle on a dish rack or wire cooling rack for best results.
  5. Repeat and refill: Rinse and drain the beans with fresh water at least twice a day, up to four times a day if the beans look dry. They are ready when the sprouts reach your desired length/size.

An amber colored candle jar filled with freeze-dried instant coffee

(Image credit: A Little English Garden)

14. Store loose tea and instant or ground coffee

A hot beverage is a WFH and weekend staple, so if you want to enjoy preparing your teas and coffees as much as you like drinking them, swap your cardboard tea boxes and branded coffee jars for a candle jar for a cute coffee bar idea.

If you enjoy the cost-saving and environmentally benefits of buying from a bulk bin store, you'll know that these stores do like to cut down on waste and packaging. So taking these candle jars to get your fill is a thrifty way to transfer your goods from the store to your home. 

What do you do with jars after candles?

'Using old glass jars to make homemade water candles couldn’t be easier,' says Richard Petrie, interiors expert at Thomas Sanderson (opens in new tab).

'Start by taking your empty jar, and fill it with water an inch or so from the top. Slice up some citrus fruit and suspend it in the water to act as fuel for the candle. The heat from the burning wicker will warm up the water below, encouraging the citrus to release more of its scented oils into whichever room of the home you choose to place it in. Simple!'

Christina joined the Real Homes team as a digital writer in June 2021. Prior to this, she worked for Good Homes magazine and home interest events including the Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs Live. She lives close to Epping Forest and is spoiled for choice with lush green spaces, but loves her own English garden that adjoins her ground-floor maisonette, complete with a floral melange of roses, lavender, jasmine, and an apple tree.


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