Decoupage is an art form I’m really getting into at the moment. We’ve posted decoupage DIY tutorials before, and I thoroughly enjoyed them! You can cover pretty much anything in sheets of gorgeous design – if you have the right glue and a bit of patience, of course. So I thought to myself, how difficult are DIY decoupage candles?
We’ve all seen them at the craft fairs. They look absolutely gorgeous, but also a bit expensive to buy. While I would love to have one of these in every room of my house, I just couldn’t afford to keep it up. So… yup, you guessed it, let’s make them ourselves!!!
I took to the internet to get a better idea of how these homemade decoupage candles are actually crafted. I found a few techniques and had a go at both of them in my spare time. There are two methods – the heat method and the glue method. While both work quite well, I kind of decided that the ‘glue method’ is probably not the best choice. I mean, burning glue just doesn’t sound all that healthy.
So that leaves us with the heat method. While it’s a little trickier to pull off, I actually preferred the results. Also, we’re not running the risk of releasing too many nasty chemicals from synthetic glue into the air! Also, you’re likely to have all the equipment needed to get started! So let’s take a look at what goes into these DIY decoupage candles.
- Pillar candle, or take a look at ‘Candle Making – a guide for beginners‘ to learn how to make your own.
- Napkins with interesting designs
- Greaseproof paper/Baking parchment
- Hair dryer
- Sticky tape
- I find a pillar candle really is the best candle shape to use. I’ve tried this with various shapes with some mixed success. Candles that aren’t rounded can be a bit unpredictable when you melt the wax with the hair dryer. It’s also much more difficult to retain the shape. My advice would be stick with a pillar.
- The pillar can be either store bought or homemade, scented or unscented – it makes little difference. If you’re interested in making your own pillar candles but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at our in-depth guide to candle making – ‘Candle Making – A Guide For Beginners‘.
- The only exception to this is color. You’ll want something that is quite bright. I personally wouldn’t use a candle that isn’t white or cream, simply because the color of your design can be compromised by the color of the wax beneath it. A red flower may begin to look purple when applied to a blue candle.
- You’ll want to choose a napkin with an interesting design. Flowers work great, but you can use whatever you want. Be careful to choose one that you’ll be able to cut out easily. However, if you wish to apply the entire design to the candle, this can be done also.
Step 1: So to get started with your DIY decoupage candles, take a look at your napkins and make a decision about what you want to include for the decoupage. You might find a few flowers that you’d like to cut out from the rest of the design, or perhaps you may want to use the whole thing.
When you’ve made a decision, cut out what you need and separate the design from the two redundant layers behind. Be careful not to tear the top layer, as it is the one that has our design printed on it.
As a tip, if you’re struggling to cut out the design you can have a go at this. Cut it out as best you can, and then take a paint brush and a bit of water.
‘Paint’ the water onto the negative space (the bits we’re trying to cut out). You can then use your fingers to pull it away from the rest of the paper.
Step 2: Decide where you want to place your design on your candle.
When you’ve decided, cut a piece of greaseproof paper and wrap it tightly around the candle so that the design is secured in place between the paper and the candle.
You may wish to use a bit of sticky tape to keep it all in place, otherwise, you’ll need to maintain a tight grip on the paper. There must not be any slack.
Step 3: Using your hair dryer, apply heat to the candle, paying close attention to areas of your design.
You’ll notice as the wax begins to melt, your design will become darker, this means it is working. Continue until your whole design has darkened in this way.
Step 4: Allow it to cool. I usually leave it for about 15 minutes. This is because when the wax is a little soft, it is very easy to leave fingerprints, scuffs or other kinds of marks. It can also result in a sort of warped appearance to the wax, as the liquid wax begins to drip.
15 minutes should be enough time for the wax to return to room temperature and harden.
Step 5: Remove the greaseproof paper and ensure your design is fully endeared to the wax. If it looks as if it could easily peel off, place the greaseproof paper back onto the candle and repeat steps 3 and 4.
Continue until you are happy with the results.
- So that’s pretty much it! While I don’t think this is a difficult craft, DIY decoupage candles require a bit of patience and a lot of care to get right. I had to give it a few goes before I really knew what I was doing. Stick with it and you may just find that this is one of your favorite homemade crafts to gift!
- I’m almost certain I’ll do this again. It was actually quite a lot of fun, and there are so many lovely designs I’d like to give a try. When I come to do this again, I think I might go for a more intricate design. Maybe one that covers the whole candle! While this is likely to be more complicated and time-consuming, the results could be amazing!
- I’d also be interested in trying candles of different colors, to see which would be more suitable. Like I said earlier, dark colors are likely to look awful, but there’s a whole host of bright colored candles that are just begging to be experimented with. But for your first few goes, I definitely recommend pure white, especially if your design has white space that is more difficult to remove.
I hope this post has tickled your creativity today, I know it has mine! If you decide to give these DIY decoupage candles a go, I’d love to know how you found it! If you prefer to glue method, let me know why in the comments section below – I’d love to know your thoughts!
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Here I walk you through all the basics of candle making in detail. How to use a mold, how to color them in interesting ways, how to make use of fragrance oils and essential oils, and how to scent them in interesting ways.
I’ll also show you examples of my most successful homemade candles! Learn how to make candles here…