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How to Recycle Old Church Candles

Updated April 17, 2017

Churches use candles for liturgical ceremonies, votive services and acts of personal devotion. This leaves a lot of leftover wax from candle stubs. Instead of throwing all this used wax out, you can recycle it to make a new generation of votive candles or keep it on hand for creative parish projects.

Take used candles out of their holders. Send disposable metal holders to a local recycling company. Clean and store glass or plastic candle holders for future use.

Separate the wick stubs from the wax. Some candles have the wick attached to a small metal tab at the bottom of the candle. Use a knife or other sharp object to separate the metal tab from the candle. The wick should come out with the metal. If there is no metal plate, slice through the wax to free the wick. Throw the wicks away.

Melt the wax. Remove any dark spots or other blemishes from the liquid wax. Prepare the wax for its new use. To make new church candles, pour the wax into the appropriate size candle moulds and allow to cool. Insert new wicks while the wax is still soft. Put the candles back in the church candle holders after they have set completely.

To save candles for craft projects, pour hot wax into storage containers to be melted again when ready to be used. Add dye to melted wax to create a range of colours and stir before setting. Use the wax to make sculptures, plaques, ornaments and other decorations.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Candle moulds
  • Wicks
  • Candle holders
  • Dye (optional)
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About the Author

Ellen McCormick has been writing education, family and religion-related articles since 2003. She has contributed to Mater Ecclesiae institutional publications, Circle Press and a variety of websites. McCormick has a Licentiate (a U.S. Master of Arts equivalent) in educational development from Anahuac University and a second in religious sciences from Regina Apostolorum University.