Upcycled candle jars are simple to make. They can be craft projects for the kids or something a bit more elaborate to fit into your home decor. A personal touch is what makes them special.
Empty candle jars seem to accumulate quickly around my home. The good news is they are the perfect vessel for many uses. I enjoy reusing them to illuminate spaces in style. Now that the candle is gone, you have free-reign to get creative. Often the outcome is better than original.
Upcycled candle jars can be made from any size jar. Even small votive-type candles provide a glass container to rework. Various shapes and sizes keep it all interesting. The following upcycle ideas may inspire your creativity with those empty candle jars you have hidden away.
All of the following ideas involve repurposing your candle jars as decorative tea-light holders. Tea-lights are a safe, mess-free way to illuminate your creations! Flame-less candles work well too.
Make The Turquoise-Bejeweled Jar Shown Above
Tissue paper, Mod Podge, a brush, and a clean jar
provide the basics for this lantern project.
Brush Mod-Podge onto your glass in the area where the tissue paper will be placed. Do one side at a time.
Tissue paper rips easily when damp. To adhere the first side to your jar, place the tissue paper (pre-cut to fit your jar) on a flat surface. Brush adhesive on one side of your jar and place that side against the tissue paper, making sure to center it left-to-right and top-to-bottom.
NOTE: You will not be able to reposition the tissue paper
as it will rip, so aim and center well.
Brush adhesive onto the next side. Make sure to work it carefully into the corner where it meets the first adhered side.
Carefully lay the tissue paper over the adhesive making sure it is taut. Slide a finger along the dry side of the tissue paper as you place it.
Lightly brush edges flat. Excessive, dried Mod-Podge can be carefully scraped off the glass with your fingernail. Be sure not to hit the tissue as it may rip if it's still damp.
Note: Mod Podge was only used on the backside (to adhere the paper).
No top-coat was brushed over the tissue paper.
OPTIONAL: Iridescent Medium can be applied (painted)
over the tissue paper for a subtle effect.
An Iridescent Finish
Optional but recommended: Apply a protective finish over the entire jar once all other finishes have properly dried.
Quick Idea: Flat (or matte) clear acrylic finishes such as that shown above also can be used on clear glass to provide a frosted finish! You can apply painter's tape or shaped decals to the jar, spray this finish over them, and then remove the tape/decals to reveal clear, un-frosted glass in those areas.
E-6000 adhesive and trendy turquoise elements provide further decorative detail. Use any accents you have on hand!
Decide on a layout and carefully place pieces. Tweezers
are handy for small pieces and fine detailing.
Silver wire wrapped around the top
provides a finishing touch.
A tea-light glows within.
These upcycled candle jars work well
for shabby-beach and coastal decor.
Brilliant color pops against the neutral background.
A variation of the tissue paper lantern. Cut squares of tissue paper are patch-worked together and slightly overlap.
Cut squares of old-time newsprint on craft paper slightly overlap. This project retains lantern-type qualities as the glow of the inner candle lights up the paper.
Mod-Podge was used just as with the tissue paper version except it was also applied over the paper.
Burlap is coated with spray-adhesive and then wrapped around the jar. Scrap metal spring provides further detail.
Scrap metal spring is clamped around a clean glass candle jar. A piece of rusted metal, adhered with E-6000, creates a central decorative statement.
A Craft Paper Upcycled Jar
Plain craft paper, adhered with Mod Podge,
is wrapped around a jar.
A smaller band of decorative paper
is adhered with Mod-Podge.
A rubber stamp is used to create a decorative pattern on a final square of adhered craft paper.
A piece of metal spring adds detail to this upcycled candle jar project.
I have read various procedures online for removing wax from candle jars. Some involve pouring boiling water into the jar to melt the wax which will float to the top as the water cools or placing the jar into a pot of hot water, again to melt the wax. These methods seem a bit too messy and potentially hazardous.
The process I always use involves placing the candle jar in the freezer. This works best if you have already burned most of the candle down to the bottom of the jar.
I typically leave my jars in for a week or so. Any moisture in the wax will freeze which makes the wax brittle. Once you remove the jar from the freezer, it should easily crack apart with slight pressure from a butter knife.
Caution: Do not beat the knife into the wax as the entire jar may crack. I have had this happen before. Place the jar flat on a hard surface like a cutting board and press the knife carefully. Remove the broken chunks of wax easily.
Save your old wax! You can store it in an open jar or can as an air freshener for a closet, and also can save it to make future candles!
Use a butter-knife or flat-head screw driver to remove the wick base. Apply steady even pressure and carefully pop or slide it off. Remember to use caution as you don't want to break the glass. If you have issues removing this, I could now see the opportunity to place the jar into some hot water although I have never had to resort to this step.
A coarse paper towel works well to remove the initial layer of creosote and wax residue from the inside.
An old sponge, dish detergent and warm/hot water will easily clean your jar. Any waxy streaks can be removed with a clean paper-towel. Use caution when sticking hands into jars! Air drying is best to provide a lint-free jar to work with.
I hope you enjoyed these upcycle ideas for empty candle jars. Seeing as I am continually confiscating them from friends and family, I know I'll be creating more upcycled candle jars soon. Please stop by again and good luck with your own creations!