Ultimate Guide to Recycled Glass Jar Crafts

Recycled Glass Jar Candleholders

There are two ways to turn a glass jar into a candleholder. One way -- which permits the new candleholder to be reused -- is to insert a candle that is smaller than the jar, as we saw with the jar lanterns. The other way -- which is less reusable -- is to make a candle by filling the jar with wax. You'll need to decide if you want the jar or the candle to be the main focus.

To make your own candle in a jar, you'll need a wire-core wick, candle wax and dye (or paraffin and crayons), an old coffee can and a 5-quart saucepan. Craft stores have wax specially formulated for glass containers.

Heat water within the saucepan, and set the coffee can within it to create a double boiler, making sure to keep the bottom of the can from touching the bottom of the pan. Melt the wax in chunks in the can, stirring it and adding dye. Let it cool for 10 minutes [source: FamilyFun].

Heat the jar in hot water. Pour a little wax into the bottom of the jar, and set one end of the wick firmly in the wax. When it sets, gently pull the rest of the wick vertical, and pour the rest of the wax in around it. Leave at least half an inch (1 cm) at the top of the jar.

To decorate the outside of the jar, you have many options. Etching creates a subtle, sophisticated frosted pattern. Stained-glass paint adds luminous color. Beads, shells and mosaic tiles provide texture and color; however, because they are not translucent, you may sacrifice luminosity. Try funky, flamboyant touches such as sequins, fringe and feathers (a safe distance from the flame, of course). Think about the time and effort involved in decoration, as well as the cost of the materials, when you're deciding whether to make this a single-use candle or a reusable candleholder.

If you're gluing anything to the outside of the jar, make sure to use glue with high heat resistance. If your decorations will reduce the amount of candlelight, think about using a scented candle, so the focus is on something besides light.

Clearly, all these crafts have major holiday potential. On the next page, we'll look at how to create gift bundles using your recycled jars. Read on.