Easy handmade Christmas gift ideas – candles in recycled jam jars

November 27, 2018
candles from recycled jam jars

In recent years I’ve become much more conscious about stuff: how much stuff I have and how much stuff I’m buying. I particularly feel this trigger at Christmas time when I’m also aware that I’m filling someone else’s life with things that they probably don’t want or need. However, I really love gift giving and treating people so I always make everyone in my family at least one handmade Christmas present.

I also think there is something really lovely about a handmade gift and knowing someone has given their time. In truth, handmade doesn’t tend to be cheaper when comparing to high street goods. One person on their own doesn’t have the buying power of a mass-market corporation. However, I try to buy organic and sustainable materials so I feel the quality is much better. I also try to reuse and recycle where I can with the hope that what I’m giving is more sustainable.

One of the handmade Christmas gifts I like to make is candles. The best bit is that it couldn’t be easier. There is a much more specialist way of making candles. However, I’ve found this to also produce really good results.

The easy handmade candle method

Candle making materials

Something to hold the candle in such as jam jars, vintage cups, spice jars, tins etc. Look for something that’s not too skinny as I find they collect soot otherwise.

Candle wax. I use soy wax.

Candle wicks. I bought a kit from Amazon similar to this one here which contains a wick holder. You can also prop it up with pens too.

Essential oils. I buy them from a shop called Baldwin’s.

Plastic jug

Stirrer. I use an old chopstick.


Scissors or wick trimmer.


  1. Wash each jam jar thoroughly and make sure they are properly dry. You can remove the residue label with baking soda and cooking oil.
  2. Stick the candle wick to the bottom of the jar. I use wicks with stickers. However, you can use a bit of melted wax or white tac. I tend to prod it down with the rubber end of a pencil.
  3. Keep the candle wick in place with the wick holder.
  4. I guesstimate how much candle wax to use and pour into the plastic jug. There is probably a much better way of doing this… However, you can always add more wax to the candle.
  5. Microwave at short intervals. The wax should be completely clear.
  6. I let it cool for a minute or so and then add in essential oils. You need a lot but no more than 8% of the wax, otherwise, it spoils. Stir thoroughly.
  7. Slowly pour the wax in. I tend to end just before the jar fastening.
  8. Leave to cool overnight.
  9. Trim the wick and voila, you have a candle.

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