Upcycling Coffee and Candles: There’s a Hard Way and an Easy Way

I have great ideas.

However, it’s difficult to make these ideas reality. Oh yeah, the big ones like keeping my job or choosing the right lip color, I can handle those. It’s the ones that involve making unique stuff that trip me up.

Giving new life to coffee grounds and spent candles: I researched Pinterest, gathered everything I might possibly need, ate soup one night so I’d have a clean can. So far so good.

Warning: Do not try to melt wax in a plastic bag in simmering water. I found that on the web and actually tried it. The heat melted a hole in the bag,  wax leaked out into the pan, I spent about an hour cleaning up the mess. I cannot believe I didn’t see that one coming.

gathering supplies

OK, back to business. I lined a pan with aluminum foil and baked the used grounds in it at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 13 minutes to get the moisture out. Set aside.

Melt wax (in my case, taper candles that I’ll never use) in a clean, dry can set into simmering water. Pour the wax into a candle receptacle that already has the wick attached. Let it settle and cool, add about a teaspoon of coffee grounds, pour more wax.

I’m not going to give instructions for the weird looking results because I don’t want anyone trying this. Using old tapers as wicks seemed sensible.  But as the hot wax melted the candles started falling down. I remembered a Martha Stewart trick using cellophane tape to steady flowers in an arrangement and borrowed that for the candles. Overnight, though, they listed to the side.

wax afloat in a jar afloat in a pan of simmering water(wax afloat in melted wax, in a glass jar in simmering water)

The most fun was the pink pineapple. I put a fresh wick in the middle of what held a candle that I used up a long time ago. The bottom layer is unscented taper. Then I melted what was left of a gorgeous-smelling candle I was given and topped off the unscented wax. Cannot wait to use this one! (I poured the leftover into a used tealight to maybe scent a bathroom drawer.)

weird candles

Since I did the coffee candles first, my kitchen had a faint coffee smell. The floral scented one, though, permeated the whole apartment.

Was all this effort worth it? No. I can walk to malls, shopping areas and  pharmacies that sell nice candles, all within a one mile radius. I have enough brand-new candles to start my own religion. I already put spent candles on a mug warmer or, in winter, radiator to disperse the scent.

I think I am now an expert, though, on how not to upcycle candles.

tealight in a dish of coffee grounds(Tealight afloat in a glass of used coffee grounds. Easy peasy coffee candle!)

10 thoughts on “Upcycling Coffee and Candles: There’s a Hard Way and an Easy Way

  1. Here’s a way to use coffee grounds (besides composting or “trying” to make candles!): If you have old medications that have expired or you don’t use anymore, you may be wondering what is a safe way to dispose of them. Put used coffee grounds in a plastic bag and put the old meds inside. The coffee grounds will absorb the pills and the chemicals in them. Then throw them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great response to the challenge!

    I’d never be able to tackle making candles — but I think I’m able to handle the tealight afloat in coffee grounds. What a great idea!


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