Candles are one decor item that we can never have enough of. There are too many lovely scents and pretty jars to stick with just one or two. Once your candles are long past their burning days, however, you may be left with a quarter-inch of wax in the jar. Thankfully, it's easy to learn how to remove candle wax from jars and vases to upcycle these containers. The tricky part is finding a method that's not messy or unsafe—but you can clean out old candle jars without scratching them or risking burns from melting the wax.
Here at The Spruce, we found the perfect trick that only requires two items: a freezer and a knife. It’s far less dangerous than it sounds. Simply take your almost-empty candle jars and stick them in the freezer. It should only take a couple of hours to freeze the wax, but for best results, leave them in overnight. After you’ve frozen your candles, take a knife and begin gently cutting into the wax. Because it’s frozen, only a few hits should be necessary for the wax to clatter out in clean pieces. If there’s any leftover residue, simply use hot, soapy water to clean it out—just allow the glass to return to room temperature first.
Once your candle jars have been rid of wax and bits of the wick, there are multiple ways you can upcycle them into useful items for your home. We’re plant people here at The Spruce, so we absolutely loved the idea of turning a candle jar into a planter. It doesn’t take many supplies and requires little effort to make these jars useful again. Watch the video above to see the trick in action and learn the steps to turn your jar into a fun succulent planter. You can also create terrariums with mason jars if your candles were originally in jars with lids.
What You'll Need
Here's what you'll need to remove candle wax and repurpose your jars into pretty planters.
- Nearly empty candle jars
- Succulent or plant of choice
- Potting soil
- Paring knife
Place Empty Candle Jars in Your Freezer
Scoot your ice cream over and make some room for those nearly empty candle jars. Leave them in your freezer for at least two hours. It's best to freeze the wax overnight for the best results, which will make the wax break off into clean pieces.
Retrieve the Candles
Once you remove your candles from the freezer, take your paring knife and carefully start cutting into the wax. It should only take one or two pricks from the knife for the wax to clatter out.
Start Making Your Planter
Pour some potting soil into your bowl and spoon a bit of it into your empty candle jar.
Plant Your Succulent
Take your succulent or plant of choice and gently squeeze the plastic planter to help break up the roots. Remove the plant from the container. Place your succulent into the jar and adjust it until it sits properly in the planter.
Style and Enjoy
Make one or several of these planters and scatter them throughout your home for a little bit of greenery that was made sustainably!