Love: in a Jar = Candles in Baby Food Jars

Last spring, I made candles for the first time as part of my Adventures in Homesteading series. While it was easy and fun, the forms I spent on those candles were pretty spendy. Today I’d like to share a way of making candles that’s not only less expensive, I think it’s easier (and cuter!). Today’s instructional was inspired by and adapted from this tutorial over at inspiremecrafts.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Candle Wax (I used soy candle wax – it’s easy to work with!)
  • Old baby food jars, cleaned (one tub of soy candle wax fills 5 stage-2 size jars)
  • Wicks (make sure they are for soy candles if you’re using soy!)
  • Tacky wax
  • Fragrance & color (optional)
  • Decorations for your jars such as ribbon, lace, stickers, etc. (optional)
Start by cleaning your jars of the old labels (and of course, of any old food!). I soaked mine in very hot, soapy water and then scrubbed off the residual glue with a scouring brush. If anyone has any solutions for making this a less painful process, please speak up! Perhaps using a product such as goo-be-gone?

The next part is to affix your wicks. I found these very to easy wicks at my local Michael’s store (sold in a 12 pack). It’s important if you’re using soy wax as I am in today’s post, that your wicks are for soy candles. I used a bit of tacky wax to affix each wick to the bottom of the jar.

Now I’m using soy wax for today’s post because it’s easy to use, and also practically speaking, because I had a bunch left over from my candle making project back in April! If you’ve never made candles before, it’s a great entry. You simply melt the flakes over your stove or your microwave! A 1 lb tub will run you about $8-9 at Michael’s, but you can always use one of the 40% off coupons they regularly put out in the weekly ad to help offset the cost. (Tip: my Michael’s did not carry the ad in store and I forgot mine with me on my last trip….and they were unwilling to help me out. So heads up.)

Here’s what the soy flakes look like:

I microwaved mine for this project and it worked out really well! Just nuke for 30-60 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval. When it’s all melted and clear, you’ll know you’re ready to roll. At this point, you could add some fragrance if you want. I opted to add lavender (also found at Michaels).

Pour into your baby food jars. Careful! It’s hot! I propped up my wicks a bit using butter knives as they were titled off to the side. I left them in place until the wax had hardened.

I then went for a three mile run and when I came back, my candles were nearly done!

Once the jars are cool, you can decorate them! (My favorite part.) You have a couple routes you could go for this part. You could use ribbon and Mod Podge, or you could use some stickers, or any combination, really. Check out these awesome stickers I found at Fred Meyer!

See that Smash tape? It’s really, really awesome. It’s like a thick tape with a design on it. I thought it would be perfect for this project. So make sure to poke around the crafting and scrapbooking section of your Fred Meyer store for ideas, too!

If you’re going the Mod Podge route, well then, the sky’s the limit! Make your own labels, find any sort of ribbon you have laying around and voila! There you go! (And by the way, if you’ve not discovered Mod Podge yet, you’re missing out – the stuff is AWESOME! You’ll also find it at Fred Meyer.)

Once all your decorations are dry and you’re ready to light your candles, make sure to trim down the wicks.

This project is easy, not terribly expensive, and it’s also surprisingly quick! I think this project would be a perfect introduction to candle making or a fun project for baby shower gifts, small wedding or party favors, or to decorate your home. I hope you’ll give it a try!

And a huge thanks to Inspiremecrafts for the inspiration and guidance on this one.

For more on this series, see my Love: in a Jar page. Watch this Friday for another craft involving baby food jars!

Bought at Fred Meyer for this post: Mod Podge, Stage-2 Baby Food Jars, Stickers, Mash Decor Tape.

Disclosure: Fred Meyer has not compensated me to run this series, but has teamed with me by providing me with store credit to use to purchase and highlight items throughout this series. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information on how this site makes (and does not make) money, there’s no mystery there – just visit my Disclosure Policy.


  1. wendi says

    I save all my wax from the ends of all the candles and then remelt them into new candles (you don’t waste and its cheaper than buying new wax). We have also made candles in cookie cutters as Xmas gifts.

    • Debbie says

      Hi Wendi I would Love! To know how! To make Candles using Cookie cutters!! Please! Will you email me back with how to make these! I think they would be fun for Christmas gifts! 😀 God bless you! And Thanks!!!!! Deb.

  2. Lindsey W. says

    I am so ridiculously excited about these little gems! I save all of the jars from the cheap Glade candles I’ve gotten throughout my couponing adventures. I’ve been getting quite the stack and I never wanted to just toss them because they are so nice. I never knew how easy candlemaking could be but now I can just refill them and cross dozens of people off the Christmas list! I have often accused my other half as being a garage “jar hoarder” for nails and other such items that never make it into them but now it seems I’m going to have to humbly apologize and thank him instead! This jar series is definitely in my top 10 Coupon Project favorites!

  3. Debbie says

    Too cute! I use a little of the sugar/olive oil scrub to remove the residual label adhesive from jars.

  4. Debra says

    What a great post! I’m excited to try this on my own! As for removal of the goo, I’ve always used nail polish remover. The acetone in it that removes the polish also takes care of the sticky goo.

      • Alysen says

        I am constantly reusing old jars, and I have found the least painful way to remove that sticky residue is Lemon Essential oil, just one drop on the sticky area and rub it in, it eats it away in no time, and it is non toxic!

  5. Francesca says

    Are all baby food jars heat resistant? I bought some soy beads and wicks and set up the candle, but I am really nervous about lighting it now! Mine are Earth’s Best jars. I couldn’t find much info online about it.

    • Virginia says

      I use a hand held hair dryer to remove labels from a lot of items. After the glue heats up start slowly peeling the label off.

  6. Joelle Strout says

    I am at a loss as to how much wax to purchase. Looks like we are going to make about 100 jars – mixed sizes but mostly stage 2 jars (probably 75%) and then some stage 1 and some stage 3. I have no idea how the wax melts down — and what the yeild is like. I can find it online (we have no Michaels nearby) and it comes in 10# and 25# bags.

  7. Angela says

    Silicone spray …. you get it at an autoparts store…. Removes all stickers easily…… Just dont put on areas your planning on painting unless you clean the area really well…. otherwise paint wont stick

  8. Denise says

    I take a shallow broiler pan & cover the bottom with Goo B Gone. After removing the label, I roll the jar a bit to ensure the area with the adhesive residue is saturated with the solution and let this sticky area (it is usually only on one side if jar) sit in the solution overnight. Then take a wash cloth and wipe the outside of jar. At this point, the sticky residue easily wipes off with little effort. Finish them up in the dishwasher to remove the Goo B Gone. It takes times but with little effort. If you want to be frugal, you can save the Goo B Gone from the broiler pan in a small plastic container and reuse the next time.

  9. Alison says

    I soak mine in hot soapy water and then use a generic SOS pad to scrub it off. If you try doing it without soaking first it takes much longer.

    For fragrance do you think you could use perfume or body spray? I wasn’t sure of the chemical reaction.



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