Turning unique vintage glass into handmade candles is one of my favorite adventures as a candlemaker. There are always new and exciting pieces to search for and transform into the perfect vintage candle!
My love of vintage glass started years ago when I inherited a small collection of Depression Glass from my grandmother and had also been gifted a few pieces from the collection of another beloved family member. After that, I began collecting little pieces here and there of old and colorful glassware that struck my fancy.
Rewind 20 years to the first candles I ever made, inspired by an old DIY Martha Stewart article about turning old tea cups into candles! Remembering that first candle-making experience and now with my own varied collection, I saw the potential for all sorts of vintage glassware to become candles and the rest is history!
How We Find Vintage Glass
The thrill of the hunt is part of the driving force in finding our special VINTAGE GLASS pieces for candles! We can find vintage glass by scouring antique stores, markets, and estate sales searching for glassware that is suitable for candle making and candle BURNING!
Stumbling on a display of vintage glassware can be like eye candy! Bight, bold colors, sometimes with an iridescent sheen or swirling color pattern; patterned glass with floral or geometric designs; and unique shapes and styles are a feast for the eyes when arranged together!
Our Hunting Process
In our vintage glass hunting process, we look for unique and beautiful pieces that are in good condition. Other criteria require vessels to be deep enough to hold wax and sustain a long burn time.
We can’t forget this important factor: glass that is thick enough to withstand the heat of a burning candle. Some beautiful antique glassware is made with thin, fragile glass that would not be strong enough or safe to burn a candle in.
Types of Vintage Glass We Look For
We spend most of the year searching for different types of antique glass we have been looking for to complete the vintage glassware candle collections we release.
For our FALL & HOLIDAY collection, we hunt for seasonal styles and colored glassware. Sometimes vintage glass can come in colors that match the season like amber, gold, green, red, and more!
We look for collectible Hen on Nest and Turkey dishes, Depression Glass sugar and Creamer containers for your holiday table, festive candy dishes, unique goblets, and tea cups.
Repurposing Vintage Glass into Candles
To repurpose vintage glass into candles, we start by selecting the most appropriate pieces. A few important things we consider are the condition of the piece, the size of the opening at the top, and the thickness of the glass.
Once we have found the perfect piece, we clean it thoroughly and inspect it to determine how many wicks it will need based on the size. Then, we decide on the fragrance and pour the candle!
One of the great parts of owning a vintage glass candle is you can clean it out when it’s done burning and you have a new display piece, trinket dish, or dinner table companion.
Picking Fragrances for Vintage Collections
Our signature fragrances at The Outer Banks Candle Company are one of the most special and unique things about our candles. I have literally spent YEARS mixing, testing, and devouring high-quality fragrance oils to come up with the best, truest, most delightful combinations. You can read more about the fragrance creation process HERE!
I am often inspired by the coast, nature, and the beaches that surround us here on the Outer Banks. For our fall and winter fragrances specifically, inspirations also include nostalgia, holiday memories, and the sense of warmth we seek in the cold winter months.
This Vintage Candle batch will include fall and winter fragrances like Pumpkin Cobbler, Mulled Cider, Maple Bourbon, Beach Pine, and more! Take a look at our fragrance list to see which fragrance you may be interested in.
Or hop on over to our Blog post about the 7 Fall Candle Fragrances You Should Try for more detail about each of our fall scents!
Pouring Our Vintage Candle Collection
After we have chosen our vintage vessels to make into candles, we start by cleaning out the containers. Some of the glass has been shown a lot of love over the years. Others have been stored in barns or used as food containers and they all need a good cleaning!
Next, we determine the shape and size of the vintage container and know the size and how many wicks the candle needs in order to burn most efficiently. The goal is for your vintage candle to burn as cleanly and evenly as possible so that when your candle is finished burning, it can be ready to be washed out and reused for many years to come.
Before we pour your candles, we separate the vessels by color, which often determines the fragrance we choose for each candle. For example, an amber-colored Turkey on the Nest dish might get Pumpkin Cobbler for its fragrance, while a dark green pedestal candy dish might become a Beach Pine candle!
Cleaning & Reusing Vintage Glass Candles
You can reuse your vintage glass candle by cleaning the candle after the candle has burned down. Scoop out any remaining wax with a spoon and discard.
Then simply wash out the vessel with warm and soapy water. Since soy wax is water soluble it really is that easy!
Now you’re ready to repurpose your vintage treasure as a candy dish, condiment or serving dish, toiletry or trinket holder, jewelry dish, and much more!
Why We Repurpose Vintage Glass into Candles
I started making candles out of vintage glassware when my China cabinet got too full and I still wanted to continue to collect antique glass haha! In all seriousness, I love to find ways to blend function and beauty.
To me, reusing and repurposing vintage vessels into beautiful and useful candles is the perfect combo. They can be reused in so many ways and the cycle can just keep on going. I’d love to hear about the ways that you use and repurpose vintage glassware!
Be sure to sign up for our Candle Fam Newsletter to get alerts for our next Vintage Candle Collection launch!
Kimber Smith is the creative founder of The Outer Banks Candle Company. With a degree in art, she has dabbled in many art forms from oil painting to calligraphy to furniture refinishing. And when she’s not busy making candles or managing the high energy (chaos) of life with five kids, she enjoys writing about the journey of it all!