How to Make Candles in the CrockPot

Day 323.

Don't look now, but the gift-giving Holidays are just around the corner.

But it's okay, because you can make candles.
Cheaply (or for free!) with your crockpot.

I love candles, especially inexpensive ones, and scented with food: vanilla, cookie dough, pumpkin pie, apple cinnamon, coffee, and gingerbread. I am the happiest after lighting a yummy-scented candle.

For a while, I was getting up at 4am, and drank coffee in the dark with a few lit candles before beginning the day. It was quite peaceful.

Because of this love, I have quite a few candles that don't light anymore, but the jar/glass container still has trapped wax.

Yesterday, I took the wax out of 9 of these candles, and made 3 new ones. Al Gore would be so proud of me.

I also used some soy wax that I got at Michael's to make 3 others. It was a fun project, and now that I know how, one I will do quite often.

The Ingredients.

--old candles in glass containers
(or empty glass containers and wax suitable for candle-making from the craft store)
--3 inch wicks (this size works well for the tiny candles sold at the dollar store, the Glade candles, etc.)
--candle fragrance, essential oil, or cooking extract
--candle coloring dye (not food coloring, sigh.)

The Directions.

Freeze the jars with the leftover trapped candle wax. 

Use a steak knife to pop the wax out of the jar/glass container. 

If your container is tapered, you'll need to chop the wax up with the knife before it can fall out.

Cut away the old wick and discard. Chop the wax into small pieces--about 1/2 inch square or thereabouts.

Wash the containers well in soapy water and dry completely.

Fill each glass with the chopped up wax. I put the wick in, but you don't need to until the wax has melted. 

If you are going to use soy wax, or another store-bought wax, fill the glass container the same way.

Nestle the containers into your crockpot. I got 6 to fit nicely in a 6.5 quart oval.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, checking every 30 minutes.

When the wax is completely liquidy, add your color and scent. 

Food coloring doesn't work. I tried it. 

Mix with a wooden skewer, and lower in the wicks.

Unplug the crockpot. 

Let the candles sit in the cooling crockpot for about 4 hours, or until they have set enough to move.

Do not use for 12 hours.

Light and enjoy.

The Verdict.

I wish I could say that this was a fun project I did with the kids, but I'd be lying. 

One was at school, and the other was in the backyard. 

She poked her head in a few times but I shooed her back out. 

This was my art project. 

I'm looking forward to trying this again, and getting some of the different colors and scents they have at the craft store.

The peppermint extract worked, but I think I'll use an essential oil next time for a more pronounced scent. 

I'm very pleased with the results--even the splotchy ones made with food coloring.

updated: anon just reminded me about crayons! I agree that they might work quite well to create a color. 

I learned from the crayons-in-the-crock experiment that Crayola melt the nicest.

want more FUN STUFF in the Slow Cooker? Here you go!!

Fantastic way to melt down wax from old candles to make new ones! I save all those little glass candle containers then recycle the wax to make brand new ones!

Do you love this article?

Please share it with your friends!

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at November 18, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Now you've piqued my interest! I think I'm going to try this. I have wanted to make candles for a really long time - and I love this idea because it also recycles!

  2. Great idea! I love your blog - check it all the time and have linked it on mine under "Fav Food Blogs" (so far I have two of you...)
    Due to space, I only have one crockpot, but am in love with it and my bread machine.

  3. Anonymous11/18/2008

    I'll bet you have some old crayons around the house, and that they would add plenty of color to your candles.

  4. Wow! I love this idea. Thank you so much!!!

  5. wow! you are so frickin awesome!

  6. What a creative use for the crockpot! I love how you categorized this post as "gluten-free." Haha :)

  7. Anonymous11/18/2008

    You could also throw the old candle jars in the microwave and melt them to get the last bits out. Then you would have a head start on the melting process! ;)

  8. You never cease to amaze me. I started using my crockpot alot more because of your blog. Then my inlaws recently visited and of the 15 days they were here I used it 10 times. Now my MIL liked what I did so much, she went back to WA and bought a crockpot! I sent her your blog to get her started. Thank you for taking this year and getting so many of us interested in using the crockpot. YOU ROCK!

  9. Wow, I didn't think to use a crockpot without a liquid. Great idea.

  10. Wow! I've made candles on the stove before, but this sounds so much easier, esp. since you can walk away!

  11. What a great idea! I can't wait to give this a try!

  12. I love your blog! You have been awarded. Thank you for all the wonderful information.

  13. I just discovered your site.....this is sooooo's crockpot for dummies! You've made my day...hope you continue through 2009!!!

  14. fabulous! great way to recycle candles.

  15. Very Cool idea. I can't believe you've gone this long using your crockpot. You're amazing
    Stop by my blog tomorrow...I'll be having a giveaway. Take care

  16. WOOT! This is going on my list of clutter free gift giving. I was planning on making my signature cookies for my gift list recipients, and I'm eyeballing my 6 year old's mangled crayon collection now that you've shared this with us.

  17. Wow, we're having a mind meld today. This morning I was reading about a candle making craft and I was wondering, hmmmm I wonder if I could make this in the crockpot??

    Then I read your post.

    I just love your site, and have tried several recipies and they have all turned out fabulous. Our favs are applesauce chicken and the lima cassoulet. yummmm.

  18. Ok, so I have a question. Do you have a separate crock pot for non-edible projects like this, or do you just use your normal one, since the wax is contained in glass jars and you are just using the pot for a water bath?

  19. Anonymous11/18/2008

    Thank you!! I am always looking for good projects for Big T to personalize for gifts to his Grandparents and Godparents. This fits the bill very nicely!

  20. Great idea. I think I'll try this today. I have a bunch of candles that no longer light. What a great way to recycle them. Thanx for the creative idea.

  21. Cool. I think I will try this too!

  22. Anonymous11/18/2008

    Please be careful when chopping at candle wax with a knife. Years ago, I froze a glass votive and had to chop at it to get the wax out. The glass broke and I needed several stitches in my finger.

  23. Anonymous11/18/2008

    Instead of freezing the old candle jars, it is easier (and safer) to submerge and soak them for a few minutes in a basin of really hot water (use dish gloves to protect your hands) until you can slide the softened candle bits out of the jars and then both can be reused.

  24. Oh, I'm so very excited about this one! I thought you were going to say you used crayons, but this is just as good - maybe even better! I've been reading back through your blog - I didn't find you until ... um ... later in the year (how did I not hear about you sooner!?!?) - so I hope you'll keep the blog up a while so I can try bunches of the recipes! Or - maybe a book?

  25. do you think you could make soap in the crock pot? I have never made soap before but I know it looks fun.

  26. Anonymous11/18/2008

    I'm going to agree with the commenter who said it's safer to soften the wax in old candles with very warm water. I burn votive candles a lot, and this always works. Since you're washing the candle jars anyway, it doesn't hurt.

    Now I am feeling a bit like a tool for buying candles at the Yankee Candle store yesterday. Hrmph. This is a great idea!

  27. no water between the candle jars?

  28. thank you for the comments about melting the wax in warm water. I haven't had good luck with that, probably because I'm most impatient, but my mom has, and I believe her and you all!

    trucks4gurls, nope. I didn't add any.


  29. Anonymous11/18/2008

    Please, please, pretty please publish a book soon! How about next year?

  30. Anonymous11/18/2008

    I have been doing this on the stove top for years. I save the little bits of candles that don't burn down and remelt them in the glass votives all the time. Just did a batch last week!

    I love the idea of the crock pot. My dil is going to love this idea too.

  31. Anonymous11/18/2008

    Oh, wanted to also say that if you have a tiny bit of wax coating on the inside of a glass votive jar and you want to clear it out, a run through the dishwashe works well.

    So, if a tiny bit of wax got into the crock liner, it should also come out in the dishwasher.

  32. Anonymous11/18/2008

    amen to the other anonymous....i too am anxious to have you do a book w/ all your good ideas and innovations. you actually dare to do what some of us might think about but are toooo cowardly to even try. thanx crockpot lady. i love your blog.

  33. Wow. Candles in a crock. Is that "out of the crock" thinking or what?

  34. Homemade candles are awesome - that's how I got started with my business. On a safety note: DO NOT USE potpouri liquids when making candles unless you can confirm that they are 100% oil. Same with extracts and "oils" sold in craft stores. If there is any water or other fillers this can create a serious fire hazard in your home as the water or fillers will separate and flare up :) Happy candle making

  35. You can also use an all natural yarn (such as cotton that you would make dish clothes out of) for the wick - it's worked quite well for us. Just use a broken chop stick or tooth pick to anchor the wick above the jar.

    Any time I see candles at the thrift shop or yard sales I pick them up just for this type of thing. I also recycle veggie cans for the containers.

    LOVE your blog & all the recipes!!

  36. Thanks for posting this, I recently hand washed 48 glass baby food jars and their lids, which had expired in our food pantry because I couldn't stand to throw away the perfectly good jars. I've been trying to decide what exactly to do and did candles before melting wax on the stove. They were a pain! I may try again, now. I wonder if the gel food coloring would work?

  37. A friend 'led' me to your blog and WOW! I'm super excited!! I can only cook by crock-pot for health reasons, so finding someone that uses their crock-pot every day is so encouraging! I can't wait to try some of your recipe's out!

  38. WOW!
    What an awesome idea!
    I am constantly buring the "glade" candles and find that there are always bits left in the jar!
    This is a PERFECT way to recycle the candles
    I am saving this idea I love it!

  39. Anonymous11/18/2008

    When I was in high school art class we made candles using simple parafin wax and crayons.. I wonder if it's as good as what you buy for candle making. Hmmm I might give it a try and see.

  40. Stephanie! I just came across this site. How cool is this?!?

    My family has long used a recipe for Crock Pot Mud Cake from a years-old issue of Family Fun. I'd like to share it with you as it's devilishly wonderful!

    Here's the link:

    Make sure you serve it with a scoop of ice cream or a glass of milk. You'll need it. Trust me.

  41. You have the greatest ideas! Here's an award!

  42. Anonymous11/18/2008

    I would suggest using separate crock pots for crafts and food. The thought of those candle, crayon, etc chemicals and food combinations make me nervous. Think twice about softening old candles in the microwave. That little metal piece that sometimes anchors the candle wick can arc and make an interesting firework-type display in the microwave. MKW

  43. Fantastic...It miffs me when candles stop lighting and I have to throw them more with this recipe and as for Al Gore, do you really think he or Tipper would do this to conserve ? In your dreams !

  44. Anonymous11/18/2008

    Love your recipes!! Nothing to do with the crock pot but if you want to use your old candle wax like you did but not in the crockpot....candle warmers are the BEST! I get to use up all that candle wax after the wick is gone and but the scent is still there! And there a little safer than candles too....!!

  45. This sounds so easy. Got to give it a go, especially before Christmas

  46. Anonymous11/19/2008


    i like this idea a lot and would be interested to try it in glass ramekins with three wicks instead of i usually get some small pilar candles and wedge three of them in it anyway,they tend to melt all into one big candle with three wicks when i light them anyway.

  47. Has anyone tried to make candles using one of the crock pot liners to melt the wax? I was thinking of doing this to make fire starters with pine cones.

  48. Anonymous11/19/2008

    Please be careful when reusing jars, even baby food ones, as they can easily break! Make sure to keep an eye on them...better yet, use new canning jars instead!

    Don't use crayons...they will clog the wicks, since they are made with pigements! If you want to use color, just go to Michaels, pick up some candle colorant. It's cheap! Get the wax blocks of it and just shave some off and melt it in with the wax. Better uses for crayons include melting leftover down and putting them in a

    Also, use candle safe fragrance! Also, something you can get at Michaels (even though it's way cheaper on the internet). Like another poster said, do not use potpourri oils. Essential oils often don't burn great, save yourself the $$ too with those.

    Yes, you can make soap in a crockpot!

  49. Love your blog! My friends pick on me for loving on the crockpot. It's the best tool that keeps me from slaving over dinner when I come home from work! Can't wait to catch up on the other posting I missed!

  50. This sounds fun. My little guy loves helping bake stuff, and would think it's cool using broken up crayons.

  51. Anonymous11/19/2008

    Sweet! Can you show us a pic of what your candles look like after you finished?

  52. Anonymous11/19/2008

    Great Idea for using up those old crayons... I keep finding them in the bottom of the baby bag. We always get a couple of sets when we take the kids out to dinner with us...

  53. anon, the candles lit in the picture *are* the homemade ones!


  54. How fun! I'll have to give it a try. I just wish now I hadn't chunke my old crock pot just a couple of weeks ago ;-( it would have been perfect for this! (So I could multi task, cook in one, candle in the other. Glad I found this site!

    ALSO, I would like to invite you and your readers to participate in my blog's giveaway @
    Thanks for sharing!

  55. What a great idea!!

    I love the thought of coffee with the candles. That sounds like something that would help me relax in the morning, I'll have to try that!

  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. Hi!
    I have tried to make the candles three times now. Very few of them turn out right... they always cave several inches down in the middle. What am I doing wrong??? I am recycling wax from old candles and following your instructions. I am sad. :-(

  58. Hi Amy,
    I don't know! I'm sad too. I googled candles sinking in the middle and got this.
    here's another one(scroll to the very bottom.) I have no idea why I didn't end up with a sink hole; I certainly didn't do a second pour. Could it be because I fussed with them so much? I melted the wax with the wicks in, then moved the wicks around quite a bit when the wax was hardening, (for no real reason, I was playing)---and maybe that released air?


  59. Anonymous1/10/2009

    The sinking is caused by the wax shrinking as it cools - and different waxes shrink different amounts. That's why one might shrink and another might not.

  60. Anonymous1/10/2009

    Oh wanted to add that if you use wax from pillar candles you may end up with little bubbles or caves in your wax instead that might not show up until you start burning it. You can mess around quite a bit to fill them in but that wouldn't be crock potting... So stick to wax from container candles for best results.

  61. Your site is very informative. thanks for the great content! Our site is very similar and we will plan on sending traffic your way. Our site includes loads of Candelabra information including pictures, videos, tutorials, and more:

  62. Here's a thought to save even more money - you can find glass containers for your candles at thrift stores as cheap as 10 cents!

  63. Anonymous11/19/2010

    This is one project that the crock liners work great with...avoid accidents.

  64. Not sure if this was said, but you can use birthday candles as cheap wicks! i bought a package of white candles when I did it on the stove top and almost set my house on fire (gas stove, bad idea to melt wax & then poor it near the flame)- who knew wax was so flammable! You can also buy fancy saucers & cups, but the candle in the cup, and add wax to make pretty favors for a shower!

  65. webbergail11/19/2011

    This is awesome!! I've been wanting to make candles for a long time, I have super sensitive skin and allergies, so unless I buy the fancy ones (which I can't afford), I either break out in hives (yuck) or go without. I have a couple of questions:

    1) This might be a "duh" question, but beeswax would also work, right? I love the toasty-honey smell :)

    2) I always save the glass jars from jam (both store bought and home canned), do you think it'd be safe to reuse those?

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  66. Stephanie, why don't you try the coloring from you soap making "kit". I'll bet it would work. :)

  67. To recycle the wax I've either melted old candles on a baking sheet covered with tin foil in the oven or crock pot! Well, in my crock pot with about an inch of water on the bottom, and the candles nestled safely in a glass pan covered with tin foil on top of tin foil balls. Although it's likely that the candles would be okay in the crock pot on low--again with tin foil to protect the ceramic insert. Of course, I find myself using oven mitts and kitchen tongs to handle the heated glass or metal cups.

    Did you know you can make candle wicks with borax, salt, string, and water? I've seen tutorials on the internet where a decent sized screw was used for the base of the wick, as then the wick itself doesn't touch the bottom of the candle's container and leads to less cracking of the vessel.

    With all the money I could save on candles can I justify a trip to IKEA? LOL