Shards of Golden Light

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I wrote this post over a year ago, but it still holds true today; we gather and store burned down remnants of candles all year long, and we turn them into new candles in the fall. The box we store the bits and pieces in may be larger than when we first started, and the collection of fire safe containers has definitely grown, but the process of making light for winter remains the same–melt, pour, set, light. 

I love the glow of candle light. It casts a warm comfortable feeling over the entire room. From the first hint of fall’s chill until buds burst in the warm spring air there are candles burning in my little farmhouse.

They are on my mantel, set in a collection of thrift store candle holders on my hearth, on the window sill of my kitchen, in my bedroom and even along side my bath tub.  It’s amazing how much that little flickering flame of light can calm and restore and bring peace at the end of a busy day.

But, what once was a necessity for lighting a room, reading a newspaper, or illuminating a path has become almost a luxury. Years ago I could buy candles for a few dollars, but now they cost more than I spend on a bag of chicken feed. Being the frugal farmer that I am however, I have found a few tricks to keep my love affair with candles without breaking the bank.

One is to use the department store gift cards I receive in the mail. You know the ones I’m talking about…where they give you $10 off of a purchase to entice you into the store, hoping you’ll spend more. I’m too savvy for their ploys, though. I am usually able to find 3” pillars, or jarred candles or 6 votives for just under the minimum $10 (which I am still able to use my card to purchase). More times than not I walk out of the store with beautiful scented candles for no money at all. How’s that for farm girl frugality?

My second method to keeping the candle flames flickering is to save all the little bits and pieces of burned down candle wax. I keep them in a ziplock bag. When I have gathered enough pieces of the same color (or similar color) I melt them down to make new candles. I save all the old jars from any jarred candles because they are made of tempered glass and safe for pouring hot wax into.

For just a few dollars in a package of wick and a $2.00 pot I bought at the thrift store I can make a new candle in less than 30-minutes and enjoy the glow of my recycled wax for hours. How great is that!

To make your own candles out of bits and pieces all you need is a stainless steel pot (one you don’t mind getting covered with wax), a larger pot, an old jarred candle jar and a package of wicks.

Now—fill the larger pot half way with water and set it on a medium flame. Cut the wick 1-inch taller than the jar, tie a knot at one end, wrap it around a pencil or chop stick a few times so it sets nicely on the bottom of the jar.

Place the wax bits in the smaller pot and set it inside the larger pot–like a double boiler. Let the wax melt, stirring occasionally at first, then constantly as the wax gets hotter. When all the wax has melted, gently pour it into the prepared jar. (if your wax has bits of wick or debris in it, pour it through a small hand-held sieve). Let it set overnight. When you’re ready to burn the new candle, cut the wick to 1/2-inch and light it.

Voila! That’s all it takes to keep the candle glow burning all the way through to spring.

One Response to “Shards of Golden Light”

  1. Peggy says:

    I have a Big block of beeswax and would like to know how to make candles from it.

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