Decorating Candles

Written and Created by PaperCraftCentral Susan

Decorating candles with your rubber, clear or acrylic stamps for special people in your life can be a lovely way to show you care about them.

Who can resist a gift candle that has been especially made just for them? If you are a stamper, embellishing a candle could be one of the easiest Christmas or special occasion crafts you may find. It takes very little time and money to create such a home-made masterpiece.

"Lamps make oil-spots and candles need snuffing;
it is only the light of heaven that shines pure and leaves no stain"
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

WARNING: I assume you probably know all this, but just in case.....Candles decorated with tissue should not be burned unless you place them in a hurricane lamp or similar for safety in the event that the tissue catches on fire, and please, NEVER burn ANY candle and leave it unsupervised!

Safety comes first, always.

There is an inexpensive candle-safe product available for stamping on. Do not be tempted to use ordinary tissue paper or similar as it will catch fire as the candle burns down. Special decal paper will not. Search the Amazon store or a nearby craft store for some.

Stay safe! Do only use specially made candle paper for transferring and applying your images if you intend to burn them, or clip the wick right down to stop people burning the candle if you use ordinary tissue.

Here's what you will need for decorating candles:

  • One candle with enough space to show your images. I chose a square one for this example but you may choose a curved or a conical one
  • Stamps of your choice or a way of making a picture on tissue, such as pens, paints, etc
  • Candle decal paper
  • Ink, coloured markers, glitter glue, paint, or other medium of choice that will work on the decal paper

Papercraft tools:

  • Scissors
  • A heat tool
  • A bone folder or something heat-proof to use (instead of your fingers) to hold your decorations in place while heating the image to adhere it to your project. (Note: Some bone folders are made of plastic and will melt with too much heat. You need a real bone or teflon one for this project, such as Stampin' Up!'s bone folder).

Here's what to do:

  • Stamp, draw or paint your images onto decal paper, making sure they will fit in place on the side of the candle you are going to decorate
  • Carefully cut out the images you have made, leaving a small border of decal paper
  • Hold the image in place where you want to adhere it, using the bone folder, a wooden skewer or the like so you won't burn your fingers
  • Use the heat tool on the image to melt the wax under your image. The wax will soak through the decal and meld the image with your candle
  • I allow the wax to cool slightly, then turn that side down onto a piece of waxed paper so the table underneath will help flatten out the image and create a smoother surface
  • Allow wax to cool and harden completely before finishing your embellishments

Some More Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure to heat the wax only briefly. If you overheat it, the shape of the decorative candle will be distorted quickly and you may wind up with a crater-like effect instead of a pretty, smooth surface
  • Heat embellishments like ribbon only briefly. They tend to melt if overheated, and that is probably not the look you want while decorating candles

Other things to try:

  • Try adhering other small, flat objects to the sides of the candle like little gold or silver stars, beads, shells, leaves, feathers, even buttons, sand or glitter, but be aware that some of these could catch fire
  • Use different coloured decal paper for a different effect in the background, even wrapping an entire decal around the whole project
  • Get creative with different coloured inks and pens and make a very colourful image for your gift

Are you surprised how easy this is? I hope you enjoy your new-found skill for Decorating Candles. You could make one for almost any special occasion.

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