Recycle wine bottles into stunning handmade candles

Can you believe that the handmade candles in the above photo are made out of wine bottles? Usually emptied and then tossed out with the recycling, glass wine bottles can be used to make creative and beautiful glasses, storage containers, votives, and candles.

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Once made, you can give them as Christmas presents, save them for birthdays or other occasions, or just fill your home with handmade style and flickering fragrance. If you use wooden wicks, like I have, you’ll also enjoy the light popping and crackling of a mini fire. Just perfect for if you don’t have your own fireplace.

The candles featured in this tutorial are made with just a few ingredients and will probably take you about two hours to make start to finish. You will also require a special tool for scoring the glass but fortunately it’s available through Amazon at this link: Diamond Tech Crafts G2 Bottle Cutter. This is the exact tool I use and it comes with easy to read instructions.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

The other materials you’ll need are:

1. 4-5 empty wine bottles, cleaned and with labels removed (a few extra would be wise for ‘just in case’)

2. Diamond Tech Crafts G2 Bottle Cutter

3. Digital Thermometer – I can’t recommend this one enough: OXO Good Grips Digital Instant Read Thermometer but this one is less expensive

4. Two large pots

5. Sandpaper (included in the set for the Bottle Cutter)

6. Soy Wax – this should be enough for four to five candles: CandleScience All Natural Soy Candle Wax, 2 Pound Bag

7. Wooden wicks – here’s a set of five from Amazon: Earth Wick Keeper 6/Pkg-Wood Large .5″Alternately you can use traditional wicks – here’s a bag from the same manufacturers as the soy wax I recommend above: CandleScience Natural Candle Wick, Medium, 50 piece

8. Adhesive – glue gun, Blue-tak, or similar

9. Optional: Candle fragrance. These bottles of fragrance are specifically designed to work with the bag of soy wax above. Mix one of the 1oz bottles included in this set with the entire 2lb bag and you’re ready to go: CandleScience Candle Scent Classics Fragrance Sampler, 4 bottles

Optional: Essential oils – unfortunately, essential oils smell pretty in candles when they’re cold but tend to not provide very much throw (fragrance) when lit. If you do want to use them, measure enough liquid in weight to match 7-8% of your total recipe weight. You’ll need a kitchen scale for this and with two lbs of soy wax aim for approximately 36 grams or 1.25 oz.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

1. The first step is putting your Diamond Tech Crafts G2 Bottle Cutter together following its enclosed instructions. It has a little bit on it that scores (cuts) glass leaving a decent scratch mark where the glass will eventually break. Adjust this cutting area so that it cuts about 3.5 inches from the bottom of your bottles. Now create the scores – they’ll look like the image below when you’re finished.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

2. Fill one pot with near boiling water and the second pot with near freezing water. Add ice cubes to your cold water to keep it very cold. Take your first bottle and hold it in the cold water, so that the score line is submerged, for ten to twenty seconds. Then then lift it out and place it in the hot water so that the score line is submerged for another ten to twenty seconds.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

3. Keep passing the bottle between the pots until the score line cracks and the top of the bottle pops off the bottom. I’ve found that this works best if the water temperature in each pot is VERY cold and VERY hot. Please don’t be tempted to create another score line if you feel your bottle isn’t cooperating – usually the new score line won’t be exactly in the same spot as the original and it will cause the bottle to break unevenly. Instead, adjust the temperatures of your water. Keep a few extra bottles on hand just in case though.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

4. You should aim for four to five candles to fill so once you have these, allow them to dry and then use sandpaper to file the sharp edges down. It only takes a minute or so but be careful not to scratch the glass further down from the lip of the container.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

5. Heat your soy wax in a double boiler – you can use the same two pans you used in steps 2-3 providing that one of them fits inside the other. Basically, fill the bottom pan with boiling water and set the second pan (which is filled with your wax) inside it. The heat from the water below is gentler and more even than direct heat.

The wax will melt quickly and once it is all liquid take the pan off the heat (out of the pan of hot water) and allow the wax to cool to between 125-135 degrees F. Other instructions will tell you higher temperatures but I’ll tell you that this is definitely hot enough for the wax to bond properly with your fragrance or essential oils. If you’ve chosen to use fragrance, stir it in for at least a couple of minutes to ensure it’s well mixed.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

6. While your soy wax is cooling (step 5), fix the bottoms of your wicks (which come with metal tabs) to the bottoms of your wine bottle containers. You can use a hot glue gun, or Blu-Tack, the gummy adhesive that I use: Blu-Tack Reusable Adhesive

If you’re using traditional wicks, you’ll also need to secure the top so that it doesn’t fall over when you pour the wax in. The cheapest and easiest solution is to use a pair of wooden chopsticks from your local Chinese takeaway. The way my mind works, I’d probably see this craft project as a good excuse to order in some takeaway too! ha!

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

7. Pour the wax into the glass containers using a Pyrex jug or some sort of a plastic jug with a spout, leaving only about a centimeter (1/4 to 1/2″) space at the top. Leave the wax to harden overnight and in the meantime clean up your pot, jug, and any utensils that are covered in wax. Soy wax is easy to clean up with boiling water but try to not pour the water down your drains as it can harden and block them.

An issue you might encounter with this step is called ‘Drag’ and refers to uneven adherence of the wax to the inside of the glass. It’s purely cosmetic and I’ve found it helps if you heat the glass jars to the same temperature as the wax before you pour it in. I’ve also noticed that allowing candles to harden up in a room that’s cold will also affect your chances of drag.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles

8. Use a pair of scissors to trip both your traditional and wooden wicks to the same height as the lip of the container and you’re finished! Decorate it with ribbons, fresh greenery, acrylic paint, or box it up in natural kraft gift boxes and you have beautiful handmade candles that anyone would love to receive as a present. I know I would.

How to recycle wine bottles into handmade candles. Instructions on both cutting the bottles and how to fill them.

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Tanya

Tanya from Lovely Greens shares DIY ideas for making natural soap, beauty products, and items for the home and garden. Passionate about the 'Grow your own' movement she also shares organic gardening tips and green living ideas. Find her line of handmade bath and beauty products at lovelygreens-shop.com

21 Discussion to this post

  1. Good idea! It is possible to use bee wax? What do you think about it? Petra

  2. Good idea! It is possible to use bee wax? What do you think about it? Petra

  3. Anita says:

    Such a lovely idea. Thank you 🙂

  4. Alicia says:

    Hey dear! Any tools on avoiding extra breaks or a wavy jagged break? I can't seem to get a clean break. I have the same tool and avoid double scoring

  5. Well, I have to say, after reading your blog a few weeks ago, I went ahead and bought the g2 cutter….it works! You can see what I have done….since I read your blog….at wildoakdesigns.blogspot.com….
    The one thing I recommend…use more sandpaper than the G2 kit gives….I bought a bottle cutter finishing kit of sandpaper from Amazon…and that kit recommends going through 5 different grits! Well, I don't think I'd use them for drinking glasses…however they are safe to handle and what darling candles they make!
    Thanks for the idea….now I have another craft…..
    Nancy

  6. loved your project and loved it even more when i saw you used a bottle of Chilean Wine to do it 🙂 im chilean. 😉 It's name is Casillero del Diablo (devil's locker) 😀

  7. Wow, This is an amazing activity you just did. I can’t believe how beautifully it is done and a perfect and awesome looking candle are made. I love this share please keep posting.
    Thanks
    Have a nice day

  8. TomS says:

    I get clean breaks by tying twine around the bottle, soaking the twine w/ alcohol, igniting it then plunging into cold water as soon as flame dies. Sandpapers smooth easily.

  9. Charmalee says:

    This is fantastic – I’ve done a few so far. One question – can I re-use the soy wax if there’s some left over? i.e. not enough to fill another candle or maybe leaving it to the next day?

  10. Charmalee says:

    Also, I would recommend a different bottle cutter called a Kinkajou. Works so great!
    http://www.bottlecutting.com

  11. charlotte egbers says:

    Hi Tanya, I am interested in trying this, but all my wine bottles have i dimple in the bottom. Have you used these kind of bottles before, and can you give me any hints for leveling the bottom to get the wick in. I am also concerned with safety with these bottles.

    • lovelygreens says:

      I’ve made some with the dimple in too – just fix your wick on top of the dimple. It will burn down and leave the soy wax below it though. Otherwise look for flat bottomed bottles.

      As for safety, what are you concerned about?

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