You spent $30 on a scented luxury candle.  You burned it every night for a week and it was the happiest week of your nose’s life.  But now it’s gone and you’re contemplating the fact that not only did you lose your best friend, you literally watched your money go up in smoke.  Insanely good smelling smoke that made your nose hairs do the tango.  Now what?

Most people do one of two things at this point in their candle’s life.  The true grown ups will throw the burned candle out right away.  These are the same people who throw out leftover Halloween candy.   Avoid them at all costs. These are not fun people.

Everyone else will stick the remnants of the candle in a drawer and forget about it until they have to open the drawer for something else. They will then stick their nose in the candle, sigh, smile, remember the good times and put it back until the next time they open the drawer.

We are the ones who are unwilling to part with the dead.  We are the Norman Bates of the candle world.  We are the fun ones.

My name is Karen and I hoard my used up luxury candles.  These are different from a regular scented candle (that you can pick up at a dollar store) because they actually scent a whole room when they’re burning. Plus they cost way more than a dollar.  Illume, Anthropologie, Thymes … they’re all luxury candles because their scents are complex and beautiful and because they actually do what they’re supposed to do; scent a room.

Here’s a bit about why some candles smell good when they’re cold but don’t seem to smell like anything when you burn them.

  • Candle scent is categorized as having either cold throw or hot throw.
  • Cold throw is when a candle smells strong when it’s cold (not burning)
  • Hot throw is when a candle smells strong when it’s hot (while it’s burning)
  • Creating a good hot throw (especially in a soy candle) is harder and more expensive process. (at least that’s what I’m telling myself to justify the $30 candles I sometimes buy instead of the $2 ones at Dollarama)

So it isn’t your imagination that your cheap (and sometimes even expensive) candle smells great when it isn’t lit.  It’s common and maddening. So when you shell out a whack of cash on a luxury candle you want to make sure you get all the money and scent out of it that you can.

I do eventually end up throwing those spent candles out by the way.  I just don’t do it until I’ve had at least a year of mourning.

Last week I couldn’t take it anymore and did something so simple I’m poking myself in the eye for not having done it sooner.

I made another candle out of my old candle.

I told you about one of my favourite scented candles, the Illume Woodfire scented candle. I burned through that sucker in a week and when I was done there was a ton of wax left in the bottom and around the sides of it.

So I dug out some wicks and a votive holder from my craft cupboard and made a new candle in about 4 minutes.  And you can too my luxury candle buying friend.

How to turn one luxury candle into two.

Reusing luxury candle wax to make a new candle.

  1. Leftover scented luxury candle.
  2. Wick.
  3. Pot.
  4. Old can.
  1. Scrape out the old wax from your candle and put it in a tin can.  An old coffee can, vegetable can … anything like that.  Make sure it’s clean and leakproof.  If your candle came in a can you just have to scrape down the sides.

Reusing old candle wax to make new candles.

2. Place the can in an old pot and fill it with a couple of inches of water.  Place it on the stove over low heat to melt.  ONLY use low heat otherwise you could burn off the scent you love so much.  Plus high heat is dangerous with wax around.

Reusing old candle wax to make new candles.

3. While your wax is melting  hot glue your wick base to the bottom of another candle container.  When you’re buying the wicks make sure you get the right size and type for whatever kind of wax and container you have.


4.  Remove the can of melted wax from the pot of hot water once it’s melted.


5. Pour the wax into the prepared container and let it cool for 8 hours before burning.  Trim wick to 1/8th of an inch.

NOTE:  I light my candle wick, let it burn for a minute or so, blow it out and then trim the wick to 1/8th of an inch.



If your wick is tippy, stretch a rubber band around the jar on either side of the wick to hold it steady.  You can also use a couple of pencils, or in this case a skewer.

I realize this looks like a lot of steps, and there’s instructions and a multitude of photographs, but seriously, you melt a candle and pour it into a new container.  That’s it.  Don’t be so lazy.  It’s way better to be cheap.

I’d love to stay and talk but my new best friend is waiting for me in the other room.


  1. SusanR says:

    My nose doesn’t allow for strong candle scents. There are some stores I can’t even go into because of the immediate and continued reaction of strong sneezing. There are some stores, that just passing them by causes a reaction.

    When I weighed less, some of my sneezes almost made me airborne, and the people around me were always so startled to hear such a loud sneeze from such a small human, and see my arms and legs fly out and about. Now that I’m older, I have to wear something to avoid wetting myself.

    Woe is me.

    I mention this to point out that not everyone can handle strong candle scents, so if you’re planning to burn some at a gathering, you might query the guests in advance to see if they’ll be able to tolerate them. Same with strong perfumes. Some people have noses that a sensitive to pretty much any particles in the air.

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I’ve been doing this for years Karen…I have a nice little electric pot for melting wax in and it even has a pour spout on it to transfer the hot wax into what ever container you are using to make your new candle in…very convenient!

  3. martha brown says:

    Where do you buy your candle wicks?

  4. LibrarianNancy says:

    Rather than make a new candle and spill hot wax all over myself and the dogs (I have klutz issues), I chisel the remaining wax out of the container when it gets to the bottom and melt the chunks in a wax melter/tart burner. There is a small lightbulb at the bottom that provides just enough heat to melt the wax. Usually I get another couple of weeks of fragrance out of the melted wax.

  5. Brenda says:

    Rather than scrape the leftover wax out of the original container, I just put the original in the pan with the water and turn it on low and keep an eye on it (usually these are glass containers of some type). Typically I do this to clean out the original container which I try to reuse, so the leftover candle goes in the trash. But this last time, I melted out the leftovers, put it in a container to hold it for the moment. I have more than one of the same scent, so when the others get to that same point I’ll dump them into my hold container as well. When it’s all stockpiled, I’ll remelt the whole lot together and put in a wick, I should have enough for a decent sized new candle.

  6. jaine kunst says:

    I have been hoarding my medium expensive Hobby Lobby candle remnants and now I know how to make new ones! You saved the day, Karen!! Gotta go, got some melting to do.

  7. Wendy says:

    Someone I follow on instagram recently posted how to burn candles evenly, so you get a longer burn…and your money’s worth! I’ve been doing it all wrong for 20ish years.

    I found an article online that explains it…

    • Karen says:

      Yup. I know those rules. :) But sometimes it isn’t always possible. Like the other night my neighbour asked if I wanted to go for a walk at about 9 o’clock at night. I said yes and had to blow my candle out before it had got to the edge of the jar (therefore tunnelling). And I trim my wick every time I use it. They’re great tips! But sometimes it’s impossible to be a perfect candle burner every time. :) ~ karen!

  8. Joan Fowler says:

    I love woodfire candles as well – my very favourite. I used to be able to buy them at Chapters – as well as Crumbly Fudge but they no longer sell either. I was going to take your recommendation and buy myself an early Christmas gift so followed your link. Oh my god!!! I might like the smell of woodfire but buying a cord of wood and a match for my fireplace would probably be cheaper. That sucker costs $117.00

    • Karen says:

      That’s a recent increase in Amazon pricing for some reason. You can buy the same candle at Chapters I think! ~ karen

      • Joan Fowler says:

        Got it and I also got a mini one from True North called Campfire. Looking forward to lighting them – oh, and saving the leftovers.

  9. Alena says:

    I have about a kilo of leftover candle wax (the non-scented variety). I go through a lot of candles so maybe I should finally start making new candles like I always intended to.

  10. Melissa says:

    When I was a kid, I saw a feature on the Today Show, or Good Morning American about a frugal gal who saved all her soap slivers until she had enough to warm them up and make a new bar of soap. Years later, I still remember that segment… although I have never bothered with doing so because the soap is… well, pretty darn inexpensive.

    But I get it with the spendy candles. And since I just bought my first spendy candle ever, I’d say this information is perfectly timed!

  11. Heidi says:

    A very lovely idea and I love making candles.
    Not sure about the wax content you use but I know most of them are paraffin or diesel fuel based which affects the air. Some countries even use lead wicks.
    As a beekeeper etc I am biased and will suggest buying and supporting our bees by buying local beeswax.

    • Karen says:

      I think most candles nowadays (especially the expensive ones) are soy. I love beeswax, but I’ve always found it’s a bit more difficult to burn than other types of wax. ~ karen!

  12. Mary W says:

    The expensive ones are truly worth the money – because they work AND they smell so good, not like a bottle of cheap perfume from the dollar store. When I say expensive, I mean the $20 Yankee candle type. You are sooooo smart.

  13. maura says:

    The Illume Woodfire scented candle on Amazon is $117.70, I almost had a stroke!

  14. Susie Rockey says:

    After the candle burns down, I put it on my candle/cup warmer. They usually last about as long as it did when I burned it.

  15. Elaine says:

    Thank you very much, Karen, for this information. I used to make the ice chunks, empty milk carton candles years ago when I was a young mother. I’m going to ask a silly question which is: I guess the only way you know you have a “cold throw” candle is if it smells quite strong when you buy it at the store … right? 😳

    Then I have one more question that’s maybe just as silly and that is: I find that when I burn a 3” candle, the melted wax tends to smother and burn out the wick so I’m relighting it in front of company instead of looking like a cool hostess. Question is: is the melted wax supposed to be poured out after a few hours or maybe I’m the only one that has this problem because I don’t buy really expensive candles. I usually buy mine at Homesense.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elaine! Yeah, it’s just a bad candle. Probably the wrong wick/wax/size of container. You definitely shouldn’t have to relight the candle. :) ~ karen!

  16. Suzanne says:

    This reminded me of watching my mum (in the fifties) melting down old lipstick scraps on a dessert spoon, and refilling one container out of many. They learned some very thrifty ways during the war. Thanks for the memory stir. xox

  17. Bo says:

    How do you get the candle out of the can after it has dried?
    How can you tell if a candle will be a cold throw in the long term? It seems that most candles have a strong smell when first opened.

  18. Annie says:

    I/m a hoarder of candles too! I haven’t had much like reusing the was as a candle but I sometimes I melt the wax and dip the end of pine cones in it for fire starters in my fireplace or gift a bag of them to a friend.

    I just so look forward to your blog! Keep them coming.

  19. Kim Gilpatrick says:

    I can never throw away those lovely smelling bits of candle either but I do something a bit different. I turn the left overs into wax cubes. I bought an electric candle warmer and when the candles burn down to where the wicks are gone, I melt the wax and turn them into little cubes by pouring the melted wax into a silicone mold. I have an old ashtray that holds 2 cubes, so I set the ashtray on the warmer, pop in two cubes. I get every cent back I spent on those candles! Oh and if the jars the original candle came in are nice, they get a good cleaning and get re-purposed too……….

  20. Thandi says:

    I have birds, which means nooooo nice candles. Also no aerosol sprays. Or teflon. Suddenly my life sounds terribly sad…

  21. Valerie says:

    I have made candles but never thought to recycle the tag ends of the few neat candles I had purchased – brilliant. Here is a little idea to make the candle have an interesting shape and shadowing when lit. You would have to use a slightly taller receptacle than your have pictured to achieve a good effect. BEFORE you pour in the hot melted wax put a fair number of ice chips (not cubes) in the bottom and then pour in the wax on top of the ice chips. The ice will gradually melt, float to the surface of the hardening candle and in doing so create an interesting lacey patterning throughout the body of the candle. Once the candle has hardened you simply pour off the residual water and let the candle air dry to dry out any droplets of water. – a day or so.
    Smaller milk cartons are useful in candle making as once hardened the milk carton can be cut away without disturbing the shape. Ice chips can also be added to the bottom of the small milk container.
    Keeping the wick in place is the most challenging using the cardboard milk container. I was able to rig up opened paper clips on four sides to hold it in place while I poured in the ice and wax.

    • Tina says:

      That’s such a great idea!

      One of my favorite candles is one a friend made. She tried to dig the semi hardened candle out of the container with a couple of odd knives. The candle ended up twisted and oddly shaped but unusual and pretty and it burned with interesting patterns.

    • Lois M Baron says:

      Awesome. I love that lacy effect & will definitely try this.

  22. marli says:

    ….orrrrr get an essential oil diffuser…. and make your own ‘luxury’ scents. :)

  23. TucsonPatty says:

    I hoard the used luxury candles my salon burns and would throw out, then melt them down together for a new one in one of the old jars. It is overpowering sometimes, but has a very multi-layered scent. ; ) I use the other candle wax to make very nice smelling firestarters. Egg carton, dryer lint and a little shredded paper. Somethime a twig of mesquite for fun and lighting purposes. I give these “uglies” away, but they are well loved…

  24. “When you’re buying the wicks make sure you get the right size and type for whatever kind of wax and container you have.”

    Huh? Please give us more info on buying wicks. I think I read (somewhere) that you can make a wick by cutting a piece off an old mop. Now, I’m not so sure.

    Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      It’ll say right on the package of wicks what they’re meant for Susan. Thicker wicks for bigger candles for instance. Also thicker wicks sometimes for soy candles. They need to be a certain size so you get the right amount of heat to melt the wax a certain amount. For instance a wick that’s too tiny for a huge candle will result in a tiny well/tunnel down the candle instead of it burning out to the edge. That’s an extreme example but it’s what I’m talking about. Don’t worry there aren’t like 50 different wick sizes, lol. Just pay attention when you pick up the package to read it. ~ karen!

  25. nancy w says:

    Awesome. I’m gonna send you all my unused luxury candles…

    • nancy w says:

      Because when I buy them, they smell great! But when I burn them, it’s overpowering.

      • Alena says:

        I wonder if you mixed the scented wax with unscented one (from regular candles) if it would be more palatable.
        I have a bunch of small scented candles (tealight size, but not in the aluminum vessels) that smell nice but the scent is so strong that I actually had to put them into the garage. And there they have lived for at least 5 years. They are in a sandwich plastic bag (with the lock) and I can smell them even through the plastic – I don’t have to be ‘sniffing’ – the scent is that strong. So a part of my garage smells nice but I think I should try melt one and mix it with a regular wax to see if it will be usable then.

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