Get creative with candles

June 30, 2015

There's no replacement for the simple elegance of candlelight. Dress your candles up in a variety of ways and you won't be able to wait until nightfall to light them.

Get creative with candles

Beautiful botanical candles

Turn plain candles into boutique-worthy, botanical beauties using the bounty of your garden and nonflammable household glue. Choose small, flat-faced flowers like violets, pansies or nasturtiums and press them for a few hours in a heavy book. Flatten ordinary lawn grass (unmowed), fern stems, plant leaves and flower petals in the same way. Glue the natural material to the lower half of candles. Tip: If you're not going to use the candles immediately, dip them in paraffin melted in a double boiler. A thin coat of paraffin will protect the botanicals and preserve their colours.

Wax on

Beeswax candles can cost a pretty penny. Get the unique appearance of beeswax by wrapping ordinary candles in a sheet of beeswax. Crafts suppliers sell affordable sheets of beeswax that are approximately 20 x 28 centimetres (8 x 11 inches) in honeycombed or plain textures.

  1. With a sharp kitchen or craft knife, cut a rectangle equal to the circumference and height of your candle.
  2. Use a hairdryer to soften the beeswax just enough to make it pliable.
  3. Wrap the candle and press the beeswax edges together to close the seam.

Candles in the sand

Transform any large, shallow, flameproof container into an unexpected light show. From a treasured silver or wooden tray to a serving platter with gently sloped sides, to a simple sheet pan — you're sure to have a suitable container around the house. Even the lid of a large popcorn tin will do.

  1. Line the container bottom with aluminum foil.
  2. Add a smooth layer of clean sandbox or aquarium sand.
  3. Embed tea lights to the top of their sides.
  4. Use a small paint or makeup brush to sweep away any material on the candle itself.

No sand? Try table or rock salt or small dried legumes such as green and yellow split peas or black beans.

Sparkling votive holders

A little glitter and clear-drying household glue will turn a humble votive candle-holder into the shimmering, sparkling star of any candle display. Check first that both glitter and glue are not flammable. Brush the votive holder with glue and roll it in glitter. A really thorough coat of glue will produce a nearly opaque glitter covering; less glue, applied randomly, will give the look of a dusting of glitter. If you don't have any glitter, lightly brush on glue and roll the holder in granulated sugar, table salt, or kosher salt. You can't wash these votive holders, but when stored in plastic wrap they will keep their sparkle for quite some time.

Glassware candle-holders

Use good glassware and even mundane items like jelly jars, canning jars, tumblers and imprinted drinking glasses as candle-holders.

  • A mix of pretty glasses with candles — different sizes, shapes and colours — will make an intriguing arrangement on a table and mantel.
  • Two or three stemmed crystal wine or water goblets can be sublime candle-holders on a formal dining table.
  • Float tea candles in cocktail glasses, filled about two-thirds with water.
  • Pillar candles will rest easy inside flat-bottomed water glasses.
  • For glassware with concave or convex bases, adhere pillars or tapers to the inside base with removable putty and pour in enough salt to support the candle. (Salt will catch drips and is easily disposable.)
  • For a really spectacular look, use a dripless candle and substitute metallic glitter or glass seed beads for the salt.

Add the seductive touch of candles to your home decor with these creative craft ideas and the tantalizing tapers will be the centre of attention, whether they are lit or not.

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