Recycle Old Candles and Make Ice Candles

How to Make Ice Candles | Enjoying the smell of a favorite candle is one of life’s little pleasures. To make our rental house more homey I’ve been using candles much more often. Along the way I discovered I’m a bit of a candle snob. Not only do I want my candle to smell good – I want it to look good too. Which is a problem because I’m a total sucker for any cheap coconut or vanilla candle I find that reminds me of being on the beach.

How to Make Ice DIY Candles | If you find a candle you love but don’t like the container – or just want a way to give new life to a half used candle – you can recycle your favorite scent into an ice candle. Have you ever heard of ice candles? Yes, you actually use ice! Using ice gives the candle a unique – and slightly unpredictable – texture.

How To Make Ice Candles

How to Make Ice Candles | To make your own ice candles you will need:

  • Old candles you want to recycle or soy wax if you want to start from scratch.
  • Cardboard containers, like a milk carton.
  • Wicks.
  • A pencil.
  • Waterproof glue.
  • Ice cubes.

Step 1: To recycle an old candle in a glass container, tie it in a plastic grocery bag and smash it till the glass breaks. The driveway works well for this. Yes, it’s very therapeutic to break something but be very careful! After the glass has been removed, rinse off the candle to get rid of any shards. Then cut it into thick chunks.

How to Make Ice Candles | Step 2: Cut the top off an old milk carton and thoroughly clean it. Then glue the wick to the bottom of the carton with water proof glue. Wrap the top of the wick around a pencil and set it on top of the carton.

Step 3: Melt the wax using a double broiler. When it’s ready to pour, fill the milk carton with ice cubes. (Try not to use too many small pieces of ice or your candle might fall apart in the middle.) Then pour the melted wax into the carton and cover the ice.

Step 4: Let the candle sit for a couple of hours and pour out the water from the melted ice. Then tear away the carton from the candle. Depending on how the ice melted in the milk carton, you might have some missing pieces from the candle. This adds character!

How to Make Ice Candles | Forget cookies, my house still smells amazing from making these candles. Now I’m craving a pina colada.

Have you tried candle making?


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  1. Mario Chávez says

    Stephanie, your idea is worth trying to get textured candles, but your instructions are somewhat confusing. The bit about breaking a glass container to free wax doesn’t seem to belong in the process of making ice candles. Also, there is no intermediate step to explain how the ice cubes should be arranged at the bottom of the milk carton. I am assuming small ice cubes or broken pieces of ice are better, as the hot wax might not melt the ice right away.

  2. Serena says

    Why would you smash the glass to get the candle wax out? Can’t you just melt the wax from the beginning? And then the glass container can be used for something else. It’s kinda barbaric to just smash it… And don’t the shards of glass cut through the plastic bag or something? I don’t know. It just seems dangerous, and there are less wild and more effective alternatives.

    • Jacqueline Kisielnicki says

      When you have wax left in a jar and you want to reuse the jar. Simply take the jar with the candle wax in it, pop it into the freezer. Wait 20-25 minutes and the frozen wax pops rite out. The more wax in the jar the longer you leave it in the freezer.

      • Mario Chávez says

        That’s what I do with mugs and ceramic containers. Frozen wax shrinks a bit, and a frozen piece of candle just slides right off. No need to break anything to pieces.

  3. Dinah says

    I’m confused. 1st, what is the purpose of making Ice Candle vs. regular candle? 2nd, when you can “fill the milk carton with ice cubes” then to cover the ice with melted wax, does this truly mean FILL the carton, as in to the top?

  4. DebbieKay says

    You can get wicks at stores where they have candlemaking supplies. A word of caution. The cheap (made in China) wicks have a wire in them that is made of lead. Not a healthy thing to burn. :) Yes, they make the wick stand up while you pour but you can use a good old fashioned clothes pin to hold your wick up while you pour your wax into your mold.

    • Odalys says

      Weight the wax before melting it. For every pound of wax you need to add 1 oz. fragance oil. I noticed that using only 8oz of wax gives you a decent candle size using this technique. In that case you will only need to add 1/2 oz or 2 tbsp of fragance oil.

    • Mario Chávez says

      Or you may use a) one of those metal wick centering devices, or b) a piece of cardboard with a center hole to hold the wick straight.

  5. DebbieKay says

    This brings back fond memories from my childhood. My other favorite candle to make was a sand candle at the beach. When it comes to melting wax in glass jars I use my candle warmer that I got from Walmart. They are also available at Hobby Lobby, especially around the holidays. They are very inexpensive, around $5, if I remember correctly and a lot safer than some of the other methods offered by other folks out there. :) Have fun, be creative, but most of all be safe! :)

  6. Tony W. says

    Very cool but I’m missing the part where, when and how much scent to add. Also, like Charlie from Dec. 30pm, where do I get the wicks? Can you make them from anthony around the house?

  7. Catherine Nunez says

    I recycle all types of the waxes, the scentsy wax melts can be reused for your candles also. I have found that using up my left over wax using a wax warmer has double duty the house smells good while I am melting the rest of the wax in the glass jar and when it is melted I add my favorite scent from michaels craft stores to shore it up to my favorite level of scent then you can pour it out into your “mold” for the new and improved candle then quickly wash the glass jars they are wonderful for q tips, cotton balls or even your crafting supplies.

    • Carla says

      Hello…I like this craft and I think it’s easy and beautiful…but there is no need for smashing glass containers to get out the candles, smash them in a plastic bag? This is so can recycle or repurpose your glass containers and still get the wax out! I saw this on a Martha Stewert show years ago…all you have to do is put any candle container, glass, copper, plates what ever into the freezer for about an hour or less….the candle will fall fright out of the container and then you can use a sharp knife to to easily scrape any wax on the container so you can reuse that container again..!

  8. Laurene says

    We’ve made ice candles for years. If you do it in winter and put the candles outside in the snow as soon as the wax is poured, the wax will harden before the ice can melt much. It makes more fantastic designs. Also if you have uncolored wax, or want to change the color, just add a bit of color crayon when melting the wax. You can even make them with several layers of different colors by doing one layer at a time.

  9. Sarah says

    No need to break the glass container. Just stick the candle in your freezer for about an hour. The wax will shrink and then you can just break it up inside the container and dump out (I use a butter knife. Then you can reuse your candle jar to store all kinds of things!

  10. Amber says

    Another way to get wax out of a glass container, you can pour boiling water into the container an leave it over night. The wax will harden at the top of the water and you can just pick it up.

    • Dinah says

      Amber: I’m having a hard time imagining this process of pouring boiling water into the glass container with part of a candle left in it, right? Then after leaving it overnight, what happens to the water? Somehow wax rises to the top it sounds like, and then hardens? And then the rest of it all shrinks enough that it can be pulled out of the jar? Is that what you’re saying?

  11. shawna richards says

    Instead of breaking a glass candle jar, get out your electric skillet, add a couple inches of water, and set to simmer. When the wax is melted, pour into prepared containers with wicks. I’ve used my electric skillet instead of a double boiler for several recipes, including melting chocolate for candy-making.

  12. Beverly says

    Nothing new to me. Made these with Cub Scouts more than 40 years ago. Still like making them esp. for Christmas candles.

  13. says

    Ice candles? It’s the first time i have heard of it. What a great idea! With the steps here, i can give my own candles a new and different look. I can’t wait to get started on my own ice candles.

  14. says

    This is such a good idea! I can be a little bit weird about lighting candles because I love them but I never want to “waste them.” Now that I know I can recycle the candle after I use it maybe I will start lighting candles more often!

  15. Susanna says

    this is amazing–I don’t know where you get your ideas, this one I love since I also love candles. Think we get that from our mom, the vanilla and coconut smells remind me of her too :)

  16. jane d says

    I remember making these in Jr. High! Here’s a tip I learned from a very frugal lady: place your glass candle jars on a cookie sheet and place in a 200 degree oven to melt the leftover wax. When melted, CAREFULLY (perhaps using tongs or potholers) pour out the melted wax. If you’d like to then clean the glass candle holders, just immediately wipe them out with a paper towel. It works, I’ve done this many times. Just remember that the glass containers will be hot from the oven heat!

    • says

      What I do to melt the wax from the old container is fill a small pot with water and heat it on the cooker; put the old candle (if in a glass container, for example) in the hot water, making sure the wax is above the water :).
      The trick with wiping the glass with paper works like magic, indeed. :)

  17. says

    Oh I love this DIY project – looks simple enough for me! Although I’m not really a candle snob (don’t mind how it looks as long as it smells good) .. I am fussy over smells so I reuse my old candles in a burner and when its cooled I have my very own wax melts/tarts. This method of recycling is much more stylish, I’ll give it a try :o).

    • gerbermom says

      Ohhh, ombre is a fun idea!! But the color came from the old candle – it already had some color in it.

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