How to Make Homemade Grubby Candles

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Dust off your old or unused pillar candles and give them a primitive look by turning them into grubby candles, which have a textured surface that fits in with any rustic or country chic decor. Giving candles a new life by upcycling them is also budget-friendly, and a task that your family can do together.


Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum foil

  • Old candles

  • Double boiler

  • Liquid candle dye

  • Spoon for stirring

  • Wire whisk

  • Pillar candle

  • Paintbrush

  • Embellishments, such as cinnamon sticks, decorative ribbon or twine (optional)

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Step 1

Protect your work area with a layer of aluminum foil to keep the wax off surfaces such as the countertops and stove.

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Step 2

Cut the old candles you are melting down into chunks. Remove and discard the wick. Set the cut-up candles to the side.



Alternatively, use paraffin wax, sold at department stores and craft centers, instead of old candles.

Step 3

Pour water into the bottom of a double boiler. Set the double boiler on the stove over medium heat. Bring the water a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to low.

Step 4

Set the top portion of the double boiler onto the bottom portion. Place the cut up candles into the top part of the double boiler, and let the wax melt.



  • Always melt wax in a double boiler. Wax that is heated directly over a burner or open flame can explode, resulting in serious injury.
  • Never leave the hot wax unattended.
  • Keep pets and children away from your work area. This is especially important when you are melting or pouring hot wax.

Step 5

Stir a few drops of candle dye into the melted wax. Remove the top portion of the double boiler from the heat.

Step 6

Allow the wax to cool just enough so a thin layer forms on the top. Use a wire whisk to whip the cooling wax for several seconds. Scrape the sides of the pot periodically with the whisk while you're whipping. Continue in this manner until the wax has a consistency similar to scrambled eggs.



The wax will begin to harden quickly, so you need to work fast when whisking the wax. If the wax becomes too hard, soften it by placing the wax back in the double boiler on the stove for a few minutes before continuing to whip.

Step 7

Hold the pillar candle that you're turning into a grubby candle in one hand. Dip a clean paintbrush into the whisked wax. Make sure you get an abundance of wax on the bristles of the paintbrush.

Step 8

Dab the wax quickly onto the bottom of the pillar candle. Re-dip the paintbrush into the wax as needed.


Step 9

Continue dabbing the pillar candle quickly with the wax while working your way upward until the entire pillar candle is covered in the whipped wax.

Step 10

Set the grubby candle on an aluminum covered surface and let the wax harden for several minutes.


Add embellishments to the candle, for example, tying cinnamon sticks, decorative ribbon or twine around the middle.



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