How to Make Candles Using Tin Cans

Written by crystal marie
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How to Make Candles Using Tin Cans
Recycle tin cans to make candles. (open tin can image by Melking from

Candles provide soft mood lighting and are good to have on hand during a power outage. You can make candles using tin cans that would otherwise be thrown away. Buy paraffin wax or reuse unburned candle ends, and add colour or fragrance, if desired. Open tin cans with a manual smooth-edge can opener to prevent sharp or jagged edges on the can or the lid.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small pan
  • Water
  • Hotplate or stove burner
  • Paraffin wax or old candles
  • Chop stick or other stirring implement
  • Newspaper
  • Potholder
  • Wick
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Wax dye (optional)
  • Fragrance oil (optional)

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  1. 1

    Carefully wash your tin cans, and remove the labels. Soak the cans in soapy water to loosen the label glue, if necessary. Place the cans upside down in a drain rack, and allow them to air dry.

  2. 2

    Put a few inches of water into a small pan. Set the pan on the burner and turn the heat on medium-high.

  3. 3

    Place pieces of paraffin wax or chunks of old candles in a tin can. Set the can in the water.

  4. 4

    Cut a length of wick about 2 inches longer than the depth of the can. Wrap one end of the wick around the centre of a pencil and tape to secure.

  5. 5

    Melt the wax in the can, stirring frequently with a chop stick. Add more wax, as needed, to fill the can to within a 1/2 inch of the top. Stir wax dye and/or fragrance oil into the melted wax, if desired.

  6. 6

    Place a few thicknesses of newspaper on a stable, flat surface. Remove the can from the pan with a potholder, and set it on the newspaper.

  7. 7

    Lower the wick into the centre of the melted wax. Rest the pencil across the top of the tin can. Leave the can undisturbed until the wax hardens.

Tips and warnings

  • Age candles a week or more before lighting.
  • Use partially-burnt candles to add colour to plain paraffin.
  • Never leave a candle burning unattended.
  • The edge of tin can not opened with a smooth edge can opener is sharp and can cut you.

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