Recycle wine bottles into creative & beautiful wine bottle candles. Includes tips on cutting the bottle & filling it with soy wax. Video instructions at the end
Can you believe that these handmade candles are made from wine bottles? Usually tossed out with the recycling, glass wine bottles can be used to make beautiful glasses, storage containers, votives, and candles. There’s a video at the end of this piece showing how I’ve made my wine bottle candles.
Once made, you can gift them over the holdays or save them for birthdays or other occasions. Make sure to keep a couple for yourself though. If you use wooden wicks, as I have, then you and your friends will enjoy the flickering light and crackling of a mini fireplace.
The wine bottles will need a perfect score
You’ll need specialty candle-making materials and about two hours to make these. You will also require a special tool for scoring the glass but fortunately, it’s available through Amazon. This is the exact tool I use and it comes with easy-to-read instructions. If you don’t score the glass in a perfect line all around the bottle then your break line will likely come out jagged. That’s why the tool is so important.
What you’ll need to make wine bottle candles
There are quite a few ingredients that you’ll need to make these candles. Some you’ll have on hand already and others will need to be purchased from a candle-making supply shop. Quite a few of the items are on Amazon though and I’ve left links below to where you can get them.
- 4-5 empty wine bottles, cleaned and with labels removed (a few extra would be wise for ‘just in case’)
- Diamond Tech Crafts G2 Bottle Cutter
- Digital Thermometer – I can’t recommend this one enough but this one is less expensive
- Two large pots
- Sandpaper (included in the set for the Bottle Cutter)
- Soy Wax
- Wooden wicks – here’s a set of five from Amazon: Earth Wick Keeper 6/Pkg-Wood Large .5″
- Alternately you can use traditional wicks
- Adhesive – glue gun, Blue-tak, or similar
- Optional: Candle Fragrance
- Optional: Essential oils – unfortunately, essential oils don’t tend to have much of a scent when used in candles. 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.
Step 1: Make the Score Line
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 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.
Step 2: Freezing and heating the glass
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.
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.
Dry and sand the edges
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.
Heat the Wax
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.
Fix the Wicks
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!
Make the Wine Bottle Candles
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.
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.