How to use candles to brighten up your days in new & exciting ways

Uses for candles

Candles are a great way to add a cosy feel to your home, but their benefits certainly don’t end there.

The paraffin wax that they’re made out of has both a low melting point of the wax along and water-repelling properties, making candles surprisingly useful to have around the home for many more reasons that decoration alone.

There are a variety of weird and wonderful ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle your candles that will completely change the way you see them. Here are fifteen of the easiest and most useful to get you making the most out them today.

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1. Candles may be the trick to stopping those onion-inducing tears

Candles & Onion
No more terrible tears!

Onions are a required ingredient in most tasty dishes. They may add a punch of flavour, but our eyes certainly pay the price for it! Next time you’re cooking with onions, try lighting a scented candle near the chopping board.

Next time you’re cooking with onions, try lighting a scented candle near the chopping board. The flame should absorb some of the fumes that lead to teary eyes and make onion-cutting much easier!

2. Use candles to get your wooden furniture looking brand-new

Dented desk or chipped chair? Here’s a handy trick to get them looking as good as new again.

All you need to do is rub an old candle over the chip in order to fill it in. Then go over the wax with a furniture marker whiches matches the colour of the surface you are patching, and that scratched looking table will be polished up to perfection in no time.

3. Entertain the kids with secret message writing

A white candle can be a perfect way to brighten up a boring afternoon in more ways than one.

Using a candle as a pencil, get your kids to write down secret messages and drawings. They can then swap their designs with a friend, sibling or adult, and wash over the designs in watercolour paint to reveal the hidden markings.

4. Unstick drawers to get them sliding easily

Sticky drawers can be irritating and troublesome – grab your candles for an easy way to fix this.

Take the sticky drawer out, rub a candle over the metal runners and the paraffin wax will mean when the drawer is put back in, it slides easily in and out.

5. Get your fire going better than ever with the help of candles

Fire starters using candles
The prettiest fire starters I’ve ever seen! Photo credit: Preparedness Mama

Paraffin wax’s low melting point means it’s super easy to melt down and repurpose. A great way to take advantage of this is by using the wax to create firestarters.

My favourite way to make these at home is using cotton wool pads, which are always in surplus in my house. Dip these into wax, leave to dry, and they’ll get your fire going like it’s not tomorrow – not to mention it will keep burning for much longer.

If you want to try making some of your own firestarters, Preparedness Mama has 5 frugal ways you can do just that on her blog.

6. Make a brand new candle with your ugly leftovers

It’s such a sad sight to behold when our once beautiful candles are burnt down to a disfigured mess, but with this upcycling trick you’ll soon be able to make them gorgeous again.

Take your old candles, pop them in a saucepan and melt them down on a very low heat. These can then be poured into moulds, and glass jars along with a wick to produce beautiful results and give that old paraffin wax a new lease of life.

7. Give your letters a Medieval makeover

Forget emailing, time to go old school! Get out your cards, envelopes and pens and write a letter to your nearest and dearest. When you’re done, add a touch of medieval magic by dripping some melted wax onto the envelope to seal it into place. If you want to go all out, buy a personalised stamp and press it into the wet wax for added authenticity.

8. Make your shoes weather-proof with a candle seal

Our prayers have been answered! Finally, a solution to waterproofing your shoes once and for all. What’s more, it’s so easy to do that you won’t believe you’ve not tried it before.

All you need is a candle and a hairdryer to get started. Rub the candle over the outside of your shoes, taking care to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then, blast over the wax with a hair dryer, melting it into place. The next time you go outside, your shoes will be protected come rain, or shine.

9. Practise Batik dyeing to create cool new fabrics

Pink Batik
This would make an AMAZING cushion cover! Photo credit: Cassie Stephens

Batik is a specialised dyeing method that uses wax to create unique patterns by blocking the dye from penetrating certain areas of the fabric.

This is achieved by using melted wax to draw shapes and lines onto the fabric. The material is then dyed, and once dried, the wax is lifted off to reveal the shielded areas.

If you’re looking for a new craft, Batik is a great one to try. You can create really colourful and effective designs, and they’re relatively easy to achieve too.

If you’re interested in learning some more about the process and having a go yourself, artist, Cassie Stephens, has a DIY tutorial that’s simple enough to do at home. Her results are gorgeous and will definitely get you wanting  go yourself.

10. Candles will help make your labels waterproof

This one is my personal favourite. If you’re concerned about your parcel reaching its destination with England’s unreliable weather, you should try waterproofing your labels after writing them.  Just rub a candle over the writing, and the paraffin wax will prevent the rain from getting through. It will also stop smudging!

This method can also be used for recipe cards, plant labels and all manner of objects, making them dirt and weatherproof.

11. Melted paraffin wax will keep your candles upright

Have you ever tried to move a candle that’s melted all over the surface it’s on? Pretty hard, right? That’s because when solidifying, paraffin wax becomes surprisingly strong.

This strength, along with its low melting temperature make it a great substitute for glue, especially to use on other candles. If you’re lighting some outside and it’s a little windy, or your candles just won’t sit flat, try melting a bit of wax underneath them first. Place the candles you plan to use in the melted wax, wait for it to harden, and they’ll sit firmly in place.

12. Shine up your shoes with this candle & oil solution

Shoes & Candle
The best way to get your shoes shining!

Despite the fact that many of us use leather polish to buff up our shoes, the best thing to use is actually wax. Beeswax is the most common, but paraffin wax can also be used, so your candles are going to come in handy yet again!

Melting candle wax along with some oil over a low heat will give you a perfectly moisturising leather cleaner, which will bring life back to your shoes and get them shining like a solider’s in no time.

Make sure you get the perfect wax consistency by following Instructables comprehensive guide to using paraffin wax as a shoe polish!

WARNING: Take care when heating and lighting candles as hot wax can lead to burns.

I hope these tips have shown you just how much light candles can bring to your life! Don’t forget to follow Expert Home Tips on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with all our tips and tricks.

Editor

Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

  1. 1 Lesley Reeves Reply

    I love candles and always have loads so will be trying some of these tips. I especially like the Batik and envelope seal ideas. Thanks for the tips.

    1. 2 Stephanie C Reply

      Hi lesley😊 I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I’m also a big fan of the Batik – I tried it at school a few times and the results were always fantastic! I hope you enjoy it too.☺️

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