Whether you’re looking to update your style, spruce up a space that’s a little lacking, or simply to be a little more environmentally conscientious, there are few things as satisfying and finding a great way to repurpose something you would otherwise throw out.

If you know that feeling when you burn a candle and afterward, there is nothing left but the wax on the outside of the glass? You're not alone. With so many candles being burned in this world right now, it's no surprise that there are tons of old jars just sitting around taking up space. Luckily for you, we have some creative ideas to help turn these containers into something special!

Here, we’re going to take a closer look at what to do with old candle jars, including how to clean out a candle jar, and the various ways it can be used throughout the home.

repurpose candle container

What to do with old candle jars

If your home is practically tripping with empty candle pot containers of all kinds, then you might be wondering what on earth you could possibly do with them. If like many, you can’t muster the heart to throw them away, then you have nothing to fear!

Those gorgeous lavender, cherry, and vanilla candles still have a purpose even when they’re all out of way to burn. From planters to desk tidies to perfect vignette containers, there are all kinds of uses for those old candle containers and we’re going to cover a lot of them right here.

Nellamoon is dedicated to helping the world live through a brighter tomorrow with the help of candles, of all things. As such, aside from tips on how to make use of your candle bowls when you’re done, we offer a wide variety of eco friendly candles with different scents, suited to a range of different moods and needs. Take a look at our products and enjoy free shipping on all orders over $99.

How to clean out a candle jar

If you have looked inside your candle jar after you have finished using it, then you have most likely wondered how to clean candle jars in the first place. Thankfully, it’s not quite as difficult as you might first imagine.

The first thing that you want to do is take a teaspoon, with which you can simply scoop out the remaining wax that is stuck to the sides and the bottom. Many candle containers will have metal tabs beneath that you can use to pry up some wax.

After you have scooped out as much of the wax as you can, you will find there is still a little residue there. For that reason, you want to wash it out with hot soapy water.

The alternative method

You don’t have to spoon it all out, either. Instead, you can heat water in a pot until just below boiling point at a height that is lower than that of the candle pot. Then you put the candle pot in the water with tongs. The wax inside will melt and, when it does, you can lift it out again (being careful as it will be hot) and pour the melted wax onto a paper plate or into a disposable cup. After the wax has been removed, the wick may come out on its own or you may have to remove it. This can usually be done simply by pinching it (when it has cooled enough) and tugging it.

Once again, you should wash out the residue inside with hot soapy water.

Does the freezer work?

If you’re feeling like opting for a less labor-intensive method, then you might, instead, want to try putting the candle jar in the freezer. The candle wax should contract away from the sides of the container, which will make it much easier to simply remove. This will not work for all types of candles, however. If it doesn’t work with yours, then you will simply need to shovel it out with a spoon after all.

Making a candle pot planter

If you want to get really green with your candle pot, then what could be greener than using it to give a home to a plant? You don’t need to do much else after you have cleaned out all the wax as recommended in the tips above. You can add dirt and the plant of your choice as soon as you want.

However, you might want to ensure your planter has some drainage for those plants that need it. You need a drill bit, but you specifically need one that is suited to the material that you are drilling through. As such, if you’re drilling through the glass, then you need a glass/tile drill bit. Otherwise, if you’re using a ceramic or terracotta candle pot, you are going to need a ceramics drill bit. Drill a circle of holes an inch or so in from the edge of the base.

Once you’re done, you just need a saucer or a plate beneath the planter and you are all set. You can also add some small stones to the base just under the soil to give the plant a little additional drainage space.

If the candle pot has a label, then you can remove it with hot soapy water, usually. If the label is particularly stubborn, there are adhesive removers that can entirely get rid of any sticky residue.

candle pot planter

Turning candle containers into desk storage

If you spend a lot of time at your home office desk or if you even want to take something cute and crafty into your desk at the workplace, then some of the taller candle containers out there can be the perfect desk storage for your pens, pencils, other stationery and even loose notes that you want to keep a hold of.

All you have to do is clean out the candle pot as mentioned above. There’s no additional work needed to make it ready for storage.

Using candle jars in your vignettes

Vignettes can be a fantastic way to help establish a style and set the scene without needing too much space. A vignette is, essentially, a collection of items that are supposed to fit a certain theme or aesthetic, often arranged very deliberately to present a scene in the most effective way possible. As such, it’s called a ‘vignette’ because it’s supposed to tell a sort of a story, purely through the selection and organization of certain items.

You might find that small objects could fit well within your vignette, but it might be hard to keep them from moving around the place. This is especially true of things like potpourri, small stones, marbles, or anything else that typically comes in multiples due to their very small size. A cleaned-out candle pot, especially the transparent type, can be just what you need to keep those smaller vignette items bound together so you can set the perfect scene.

Using candle bowls as vanity storage

Whether it’s on a shelf, by a mirror, or elsewhere, a candle pot makes for a great addition to a vanity, no matter what shape it is. The squatter kind can be a perfect place to hold your makeup brushes, for instance. If you have a taller one, then it might be a better fit for mascara pencils, tweezers, and other thinner, taller items.

It’s easy for a vanity area to become cluttered and untidy with the sheer amount of items you might have in your beauty routine arsenal. However, by using an empty candle pot, you can create a quick bit of storage that helps you keep similarly shaped items together so they’re not rolling around the place stray.

Easy lighting for the garden and indoors

Clear candle holders can make for a great and simply light fixture. Even ones that aren’t fully transparent but are instead translucent can add a glow of color to any light that you put inside. You can turn old candle bowls into tealights. 

Once they are clean of wax and dry, all you need to do is place the tea light inside and light it. You can also use electronic tealights and glue them to the bottom of the jar with a suitably strong craft adhesive.

If the electronic tea lights have wiring, you can drill a hole in the bottom of the candle jar to make way for them. Be sure to use a glass/tile drill bit for glossy, hard surfaces, and a ceramics drill bit for any terracotta or ceramic jars. You can make as many of these as you have lights and candle containers.

These work great for adding some ambiance to outdoor dining, socializing, and relaxation areas. However, they can be just as good at adding that extra glow to the indoors. You can even use a nice permanent paint marker, preferably in a light color or white, to make your own designs that will brighten up whenever the interior is lit.


With the tips above, you have hopefully come to get a few ideas of how you can use all of those empty candle bowls in your home. We have looked at how to clean out a candle jar, as well as the many uses for empty candle containers. The above are just examples, too. If you can think of any situation that would demand a little additional storage, be it in the bathroom, kitchen, or otherwise, a cleaned-out candle pot could be precisely what you need.

Do you have any of your own ideas of what to do with old candle jars? Have you upcycled any, yourself, or can you think of any other tips that might enhance the ideas laid out above? We would love to hear what you could do with a cleaned-out candle pot.

If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you might even want some more candle pots to use in the kind of crafts mentioned above. We have a huge range of different candles. Whether you want to indulge in a vanilla candle, relax with a lavender scent, or freshen up the home with some grapefruit and peach, we’re sure to have the right candles to help make the home that you want. Take a look at the store and shop by scent to find your perfect match.


You may also like to check out our latest blog posts:

5 Tips To Choose The Best Eco Friendly Candles In 2021

7 Ways You'll Benefit from Burning Candles

The Best Candle Scents This Spring 2021

March 31, 2021 — Arielle Ricci