DIY: Upcycled Teacup Candles

DIY: Upcycled Teacup Candles

By Erin Vilines
The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

This craft projects brings new meaning to the term “tea candle” — and new life to half-burned candles cluttering the house. Rather than toss ornamental candles when changing decor, reuse the wax by melting it down and filling a pretty teacup to create charming gifts for friends, colleagues and family. Or choose personalized cups for kids to present their teachers as warming holiday gifts.

Time: One hour

-Partially burned candles
-Candle wicking and wick sustainers (available at any craft store or online here)
-Double boiler or nesting pots

*The creativity begins with the selection of your vessels. As do many of my ideas, inspiration for this craft came from Martha Stewart, though she would likely be appalled by my dumpster-diving means of acquiring my cups!

Whatever your “cup of tea” — whether a local flea market or antique shop, mismatched teacups from the cupboard that have lost their companions, or your neighbor’s trash — select teacups for the project that complement the personality or decorative style of each recipient.


  1. For each cup, cut a piece of wicking to the cup’s height plus 2 inches. Attach a wick sustainer to one end. Tie the other end around a pencil or wooden skewer. Set aside.
  2. Add 1 inch of water to the bottom of a deep pot, setting a handled pot over the top like a double-boiler.
  3. Once the water is simmering, melt down the candles and remove the old wicks with tongs. Keep the temperature around 185 degrees.
  4. Holding the pencil end, dip the wicking and sustainer into the melted wax to coat. Stick the sustainer to the bottom of the cup and let set. Balance the pencil on the cup’s lip.
  5. Carefully pour the wax into prepared teacups, stopping 1/2 inch below the rim.
  6. Let the wax set for one hour, or until hardened and cool enough to handle.
  7. Unravel the remaining wick from the pencil and cut it about 1/2 inch above the wax line.
  8. Tie holiday ribbons around the teacup handle with decorative “to/from” tags and gift away!

[Image source: ecram1/Flickr via a Creative Commons license]

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  1. Is it as ez as it sounds?

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