wikiHow to Decorate Candles

There is no reason to shovel out $30 for a pretty patterned candle when for just a few dollars you can pick up your own candle and do it yourself -- just how you like. Here's more than a dozen ideas to get you wondering why you haven't opened your own candle shop. Or at least jazzed up your living room! See any of the steps below to get your candling on.


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    Melt a crayon over the top of your candle. This one gets a bit messy (actually, most do), so place a layer of newspaper under your candle or somehow get it to a protected surface. Then you can start melting!
    • Light a different candle -- not the one that's getting decorated. Alternatively, you can use a lighter or a fireplace lighter as the source for your flame.
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    • Start melting a colored crayon with your flame on top of the candle.The drops will make pretty shapes when falling on the candle.
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    • Don't be afraid to mix colors, but do be afraid of burning yourself! Always be careful.
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    Stamp the candle. You'll need a clean candle to do this, so wipe it down with rubbing alcohol first. Then with your acrylic paint and stamp, you're ready![1]
    • Spread some acrylic paint on a piece of wax paper.
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    • Dip your stamp into the paint and set the stamp down, paint side up. Are all parts of the stamp covered in an even layer of paint?
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    • Roll your candle over the stamp slowly, ensuring that everything gets an even coating.
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    • Keeping it on its side, allow it to dry for at least 20 minutes. Done!
      • If you're having problems, try mixing the paint with a bit of candle painting medium. It helps your paint stick to the wax.[2]
      • You could always just paint the candle freehand!
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    Add twine designs. If you've got a length of twine and you know how to make a loop, you're set. Just heat your candle for 30 seconds or so with a blow dryer -- this gets the wax warm, but not hot. Then press your twine into the wax in whatever design you like (loops and curly cues work best). If you have a bone folder, press it into place with that.[3] Voila! Instant jazzed up candle.
    • When the candle burns down to about 1/2" (1.25 cm) above the twine, remove it. That stuff will catch on fire like no one's business.
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    Decorate with brads, snaps, and pushpins. This is possibly the easiest, prettiest, why-didn't-I-think-of-that?! method there is. Grab a handful of cute pushpins or snaps -- anything that will press into your candle and stick -- and start designing away! You can create words or shapes in any style you like. Even a simple border along the bottom will turn your boring old' dollar store candle into a piece from the Martha Stewart Living catalog.
    • Just be careful when burning the candle -- burning plastic isn't the scent you're probably going for.
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    Use small cookie cutters. Since you're rolling out cookies about once a year, why not put those cutters to use? If you have some small ones lying around (letters, mayhaps?) grab that hammer from your toolbox (or someone else's toolbox because let's be honest) and lightly pound them into the side of your candle. It's about time you work on your engraving skills, you know?
    • You only want to pound in about 1/2" (1.25 cm) or so. Just enough so that the cutter makes a very clear impression but that the candle isn't sawed in half!
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    Use grass. This is an especially great idea around springtime. Here's the gist:[4]
    • Apply non-flammable adhesive glue to a blade of grass.
    • Stick it on your candle, folding the bottom of the blade under the candle.
    • Repeat the process with more blades of grass of varying sizes and lengths, creating a natural pattern with varied spacing.
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    Give your candles a citrus-y crown. Have some fruit lying around? If you're feeling extra artsy, create a base for your candles made out of lemon, lime, and oranges. Here's how:[5]
    • Slice your citrus fruit incredibly thin -- about 1/8" (.3 cm) thick.
    • Arrange them on a wire cooling rack on a cookie sheet. Bake them at 250°F (121°C) for 2 hours (or until they're completely dry).
    • With a glue gun, connect the slices around your candle -- but not touching the candle itself. Overlap them as you see fit. Create designs with different fruits and different sized slices. They're beautiful alone, but they're exponentially beautiful together!
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    Embellish them with candies. This one is almost too easy. Anything that can go around a candle is fair game. Try candy canes, cinnamon sticks, or whatever you have lying around -- all you need is some double-sided tape!
    • If you don't have that, glue works too. Just glue them on the side of your candle, each one touching, creating a ring around your once boring candle. Just be careful when lighting -- some things burn, smoke, and can be very dangerous.
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    Wrap them with ribbon. You probably have some ribbon lying around from some other DIY project long forgotten about. Use the bits left over to spruce up your candles! All you need is some glue (tape would even work) and 5 free minutes in your afternoon. Just once around the candle adds flair, but if you have enough, think about showing off your bow tying skills, too.
    • Or you could combine methods and adhere the ribbon to the candle with pushpins or brads!
    • Don't light this candle. Or, if you do, remove the ribbon first. This is not an article on how to accidentally light your house on fire.
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    Get creative with paper. There's a number of things you can do with thin slices of tree. Here's a few to get your creative juices flowing:
    • Cut up tissue paper and bust out your decoupage. With a foam brush, brush the decoupage over the tissue paper and allow it to dry. Instant fancy pattern! (Just don't light the candle. Ever.)
    • Glue paper onto your candle in the same fashion as the ribbon. You can also iron tissue paper (on a very low setting) to make it stiff and durable. But again, don't light the candle.
    • Print photos onto tissue paper. Wrap the printed tissue paper around the candle (photo side directly touching the candle) and hold it on with pushpins. Then, take out your heat gun or blow dryer and heat the candle until the wax paper is saturated. The photo will transfer onto your candle![6]
    • Poke holes into a paper, creating a design. Place the candle in a clear jar and place the paper wrapped tightly around the jar. When the candle is lit, the design will glow!
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    Cover your candle in salt, sand, or glitter. We're not out of good ideas yet! Take epsom salts, some beach sand, or your favorite glitter and dump a whole bunch in a baking tray. Then, cover your candle in modge podge and roll it in the baking tray, covering it as you'd like. Give it several hours to dry.[7]
    • You can also just cover the bottom or give it a fading effect -- having the covering be thinner and thinner toward the top of the candle. Try experimenting!
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    • Cover part of your candle with a paper stencil before rolling. Then, when all is said and done (and dry), take off the paper stencil. Boom, inverted design!
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    Get your paws on some sheet wax. Did you know it comes in sheets?! Yep! Then all you need to do is cut out some shapes (those cookie cutters yet again! Who knew they would come in so handy?!) and put them on the sides of your candle. With a heat gun and some chopsticks (so your hands aren't directly in the line of fire), blast the wax onto the candle. It'll start melting and combine with the original wax of the candle. Almost too easy![8]
    • Repeat this with as many shapes as you like, creating your own pattern. Different sized hearts or stars are a great addition to any candle, any time of year.
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    Draw your own design on tissue paper. Any chance you vaguely remember that tissue paper transfers? While you can rely on pre-made patterns, why not personalize your own?
    • All you need to do is draw your design on normal, white tissue paper. Then, hold it taut around the candle (you may want to pin it in place or use a drop of glue at the corners). Hold your heat gun or blow dryer to the candle, moving evenly back and forth for about 45 seconds. Be careful of your fingers! When you're finished, peel the paper off. Voila!
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  • Any number of these methods involves things that are flammable. Do not light candles lined in paper or twine, etc. unless you are watching the candle very, very carefully.
  • Don't burn your fingers! Any number of these ideas are dangerous if not done carefully.
  • Keep next to you a bowl of cold water. If you burn your fingers, put them in the glass -- not in your mouth!

Things You'll Need

  • Candles
  • Depending on your method:
  • Sand
  • Glitter
  • Ribbon
  • Epsom salts
  • Pushpins or brads
  • Tissue paper
  • Heat gun
  • Cookie cutters
  • Crayons
  • Twine
  • Blades of grass
  • Fruit slices
  • Markers
  • Stamp and ink
  • Sheets of wax

Article Info

Categories: Candle Making