Necro-Crafting: DIY Decorated Candles

I love candles.  Actually, to be more specific…I love candle flames.  They remind me of my home and growing up in the underbelly of Hell where there was always an inferno or two going on.

Unfortunately being “topside” as it is, I’m not allowed to set things ablaze quite like I used to, which is why I’m such a fan of fireplaces and candles.  It’s like a little flickering slice of home.

Plain candles are boring but cheap. Decorated candles are fun but expensive. Which is why I love the fact that it’s relatively simple to make your very own decorated candles.

For this project you will need:

  • White Candles.  As many as you want to decorate.  I suggest getting the thick pillar ones from your local craft store.  The 6″ tall, 3″ diameter ones are my favorite.
  • Tissue paper
  • Regular white printer paper
  • Access to a printer
  • Your graphics.
  • A hair dryer
  • A glue stick
  • An iron (optional)
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Start by first preparing your graphic.  I did two for this project.  I found the bat online after a simple search and created this fun Candle graphic myself using old vintage apothecary labels and a little Photoshop magic.

Candle graphic

It is already scaled to fit the 6″ tall 3″ diameter pillar candles described above.  Just make sure your printer is set to landscape and you have the “scale media to fit” option selected.

If you’re looking for more graphics, I love the Graphic Fairy’s website.  She has graphics for just about any and all seasons and everything in between, but I’m partial to her vintage Halloween Graphics.

Once you’re happy with your graphic, it’s time to print it out on your tissue paper. Because tissue paper is so thin, you can’t just run it through your printer without it scrunching up and really mucking the insides of your printer.  In order to be able to print on it, you’ll have to first cut out a piece about 1/2″ smaller on all sides than your printer paper.

If you have any large creases or folds in your tissue paper, gently run a warm iron (not hot!) over it to flatten them out.  The smoother your tissue paper is, the easier it will be to print.

Once you’ve flattened your paper out, lay it down on top of your printer paper and tape around all the edges…and then run it through the printer as you would a normal piece of paper.

skull ready to cut

When it comes out of the printer, give it a moment or two to dry.  I touched mine too soon and you can see where the ink transferred.  Oops.

After it’s had a chance to dry, use your scissors to cut around your design, leaving an edge about 1/4 of an inch all around your design.  (I found it’s much easier to cut out if you leave it taped to your printer paper.  The thicker printer paper gives the tissue paper stability as you’re turning sharp corners or cutting details.)

skull cut

Use your glue stick to dab on a few dabs of glue on the back of your design and gently press it onto your candle.  You don’t need to coat the whole piece, this is just to hold it in place for the next step.

Hold your hair dryer a few inches away from your candle and turn it onto the highest setting.  Using a sweeping motion, go over your image with the hot air.  As it melts, the wax will seep into the tissue paper and adhere it to the candle.  You’ll be able to watch the tissue paper literally disappear like magic as the wax turns it translucent.  Be careful as you’re melting your wax that you don’t hold your hair dryer in one spot too long.  The idea is to melt the wax just enough that it is absorbed in the tissue paper.  Too long and you run the risk of melting the side of your candle off.

You should be left with a candle that looks as though the printed image is a natural part of the wax.

Feel like giving this “illuminating” tutorial a try?  Send me the photos when you’re done and I’ll put them up on the wall of infamy!

both lit

Like what you see?  Want to see more?  Help me keep making my disgusting creations by visiting my Patreon page.

Please click HERE to support the Necro Nom-nom-nomicon

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THIS WORK IS LICENSED UNDER A CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION-NONCOMMERCIAL, NO-DERIVATIVES 2.5 INTERNATIONAL LICENSE.  YOU’RE WELCOME TO MAKE ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING SHOWCASED ON THE NECRO NOM-NOM-NOMICON, BUT MAY NOT DO IT FOR COMMERCIAL OR FINANCIAL GAIN.  YOU MAY NOT COPY, DISTRIBUTE OR MODIFY THESE RECIPES IN ANY WAY WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE NECRO NOM-NOM-NOMICON.
NO RECIPE, TUTORIAL OR PROJECT MAY BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL OR PROFIT USE.
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5 comments

    • Thank you Bob! And yes, a gummed up printer is no bueno! There are lots of options with the Graphics Fairy link I included in the blog post so if you’re looking for bamboo shoots to put on your candles for a little panda feng shui, I bet she’d have them! 🙂

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