Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Candle Tutorial

I am a candle lover. Back in 70's and 80's, even today, the perfect gift to me was a candle. I still have many of them because I hoarded them, never touching a match to the waxy wicks ever! There's a rainbow candle, unicorn, garden gnome, a few santas, many cats, and of course I had the usual peace signs and smiley faces that were everywhere in the 70's. These days I burn my candles. I savor the lovely scents that burn quietly as I go about my daily business. I also love to create candles with stamps. About 6 months ago,  I saw a great tutorial on Whiff of Joy Inspirations & Tutorial Blog and decided to give it a try. Since then, I have made many candles, given them as gifts, and had one gift set published in a small magazine. This is a version of that set. Enjoy!

Birthday Candle

By Colleen McCauley

Materials Needed




Tissue Paper

Wax Paper

Copic Markers

Clear or Colored Skittles

Alcohol Ink



Rhinestone Embellishments

Heating/Embossing Tool


Stamp your image on the glossy side of the tissue paper. I used one of my favorite stamps, “Cupcake” by Belles ‘n Whistles, designed by Elisabeth Bell. I prefer to have a magazine under the tissue paper when I stamp. I use a piece of tissue paper big enough to tuck under the magazine for extra stability. To prevent the ink from bleeding, I use a spare piece of cardstock under the tissue paper, as well. I also love my magnetic cutting mat by We R Memory Keepers, having the magnets to hold the tissue paper in place as I color helps to prevent tearing and wrinkling.

I used Tsukineko Brilliance ink in Graphite Black so that I could color with the copic markers, and prevent bleeding. The candle I used is 2.8 x 6 inches, so I stamped the image twice.

When coloring on the tissue paper, I find that the usual style of blending with copics can cause the paper to tear, so I choose colors for my images that will blend easily, and I try to not to blend too much. Unfortunately, the wonderful shading that copics are known for on paper is much more difficult to achieve on tissue. I also use a very light touch when adding the color to the tissue paper. I love my magnetic cutting mat by We R Memory Keepers, having the magnets to hold the tissue paper in place as I color helps to prevent tearing and wrinkling.

 Here is a list of the colors I used on this candle:

Skin: E00, E01

Cheeks, Lips: R20

Hair: YR31, Y21 and just a touch of #35 for highlights

Bonnet: YG23, Yg06, and G14 to darken the edges

Bow: YG23, YG06, and G14 for shadows

Sleeves and collar: Yg23, the stripes are G14 and E99

Apron: YR02, YR65 for shadows

Pants: YG23 base, YG06 Highlights, G24 for darker areas

Cupcake: RV02 icing, R29 Cherries, E13 Holder

Kitty: E99 body, E31 Chest, Lightly add R29 for nose & inner ear

Flowers on sleeves and bonnet: RV02, B02, RV09, RV17, FY1, and FYR1

Leaves: G07

Here a couple of pictures of the image in progress. You can see the color bleeding through the tissue paper; it looks very dark in the first picture. I lifted the paper in the second picture so you can get an idea of how light the colors really are.

When your images are finished, cut them out. Don’t worry about cutting too close to the image; it will melt into the candle when you are heating it. I leave around an eighth of an inch or so. I place the image with the glossy side up on the candle. It’s good to mention that if you are planning on stamping any type of sentiments, stamp them on the glossy side so that when you place it on the candle it isn’t reversed! Generally, I don’t use anything to hold the image in place, the tissue paper has some static charge to it, and it will hold if you smooth it down a couple of times. Then I wrap a piece of wax paper around the candle, heat up the embossing tool and have some fun!

 I wrap the candle as tight as I can, and use an extra long piece of wax paper so that I can make a “handle” to hold. The pictures above show the progression of the stamp as you heat the candle. When the image starts to brighter; it is melting into the candle. Keep the heating tool moving at all times. If you stay in one area too long, drip marks will develop. Heating times vary on the candle. I use candles from Michael's as opposed to the Dollar Store candles; I think they melt cleaner and more even. I also use Reynolds wax paper instead of Dollar Store wax paper for the same reason. You want the image blend into the candle as you are heating it. Once the edges are no longer visible, I quickly run the heating tool over the candle one more time, and start to remove the wax paper. I gently peel the wax paper off. If there are still seams, I will take a new piece of wax paper and add some more heat to the candle. After the paper is removed, I run the heating tool once more over the image, usually around the edges. It’s just a quick shot of heat, no more than a few seconds.

I took clear skittles, put them in a small zip lock bag, and add several drops of Ranger Alcohol Ink to make embellishments for the ribbon.
  I also colored a couple of Prima jewels with the Alcohol Ink. Instead of putting them in the zip lock bag, I applied the ink directly on the jewel where I wanted change the color.
I used a Prima “Say It In Crystals” to add the swirls in between the images. I cut the swirls to the size and shape that I liked. They are self adhering, but I add a tiny dot of Scotch Quick Dry adhesive in a few spots. Sometimes the wax makes it hard to hold the embellishments on. I did the same thing with the Basic Grey Hearts. I also used Stickles to add a little sparkle to the image. I attached the ribbon with scor tape and the skittles with glue dots.
I took a plain white bag, used the same cupcake image and created a gift bag to match. I decorated the bag with  DCWV Songbird Paper. I also created a matching card to complete the Birthday set.
I hope you try this technique out. It's easy as pie, and a wonderful gift from the heart! Here's the complete set.
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Crafting!


  1. Col-That is just amazing!! Now, have you used dollar store candles and it didn't work before? Just wondering I have some laying around the house.

  2. Hi Tam,
    I have used dollar store candles, they worked, but I found that I couldn't get as smooth a melt from them. I guess that I should note that it was the first couple of candles that I made, so maybe it was just my technique? LOL!
    I should give them a try again....
    I'm glad you came by! Thanks!

  3. I haven't tried this yet but I am going to try it. What a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Col, I absolutely love my candle and card. It has a place of honor in my new princess room. I'm about to make little velvet ropes to surround it as everyone wants to be touchy feely because it is so beautiful. Thank you!

  5. Wow Colleen!! This is awesome!! So gorgeous. Thanks for the fabulous tutorial. I am your newest follower and would love for you to follow my blog as well. Have a wonderful week! Hugs, Gloria

  6. I am just seeing this for the first time. I used to Tole Paint on Candles and loved it.. This is the most awesome thing I have ever seen. A DT member of mine did one and pointed me in your direction. Thank you for such a fabulous tutorial and idea.. I will be doing this so very soon.


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