Paper Roll Candle Stubs
- high temp hot glue gun and sticks
- acrylic paint
- toilet paper rolls
- LED candles
- silicone baking sheet
There is a much fancier way of making prop candles that Hector of Blackstone Cemetery taught me and a group of people to do, but the idea of buying PVC pipe and insulation wasn't pragmatic for something so small.
He also showed us you could dress up the LED candle light with hot glue if you wanted something short (pictured right). You use the same wax-building technique I've posted below, but you apply it directly to the LED candle light, leaving the bottom exposed so you can access the on and off switch, and change the battery as needed. Unfortunately, they were too small for what I wanted this time around.
I decided to use toilet paper rolls.
Part 1: Prepare the Rolls (the candlestick portion)
Cut the toilet paper roll into different heights, cutting the top edges so they curve and dip (it looks more like a melting candle when it isn't an even line all the way around).You want the LED candle to be hidden when it's inside the paper roll: the base, completely; the flame, somewhat. Make sure your LED fits in the roll, and test out the height as you cut each one.
For some of these, I simply built the LEDs into the paper roll candles (the LEDs are exposed on the bottom so I can turn it off or on, or change the battery). For the taller ones, I crumpled a bit of newspaper and hot-glued it in place at the bottom of the roll (you can just see an example of this on the roll to the right in the picture). The LED will sit on top of this, and I can slide it in and out of the candle as needed.
Place the rolls on a silicone baking sheet (this way, you can make pools of wax at the bottom of the candle without gluing it to your table). I put my silicone pad on an upside-down baking tray. Remember to turn the tray, not the individual rolls, as you work around the outside of the candles adding glue.
Part 2: Start Building The Wax Drips
The key is to build the wax drips in layers.
A hot glue gun, rather than the lower temp craft glue gun, works best. But remember, the word "hot" is in the title for a reason (I have a blister to prove this). Run the glue around the top edge of the roll, using enough so it spills down the outside in wide drips. This is your base. You need to let each layer dry before adding the second layer on top of it, so work on a few candles at a time.
If you want to make a pool of wax at the base of the candle, best to do this at the start (so your other drips can build on top of it). I had to keep in mind these are going into jars, so I needed the puddles to be smaller (in order to fit through the jar opening).
Be mindful of glue strings - they occur when the tip of your hot glue gun touches the wet glue. Don't panic if it happens. Most of them can be peeled off when dry, or melted with a heat gun.
Every time you add a layer, you want to build up that top edge. Alternate the dripping placement as you go, building over the last layer and partly on a new spot. You can also add a line of glue to the top edge, wait a moment for it to start the drying process, and then turn the candle upside down, letting gravity stretch the lip of wax up into shapes.
You also want to start making drips on the inside of the candle as well. If you're building the LED into the candle, you can seal the edges with the glue. If you're using a newspaper shelf so you can pull the LED out of the candle from the top, be mindful of how thick you make the drips or else your LED won't fit.
Part 3: Painting
Once I was happy with the drips, I added a watery coat of brown paint to each one, followed by a thin coat of yellowy-white, and finally some coats of bright white (thicker on the protruding drips to add depth). The picture to the right shows the first two layers of paint. Don't forget to paint you LED candle bases as well.
Plastic and glue aren't the most friendliest of surfaces when it comes to adhering paint. For the base coat especially, you want to make one smooth stroke as opposed to multiple strokes over the same area because you end up wiping off the paint. Let it dry completely, and then add another layer. Repeat until it looks the way you'd like it to.
That's about it.
Did I need to make them this pretty/detailed when they're going to be in coated jars? No, but I'll probably use them in other scenarios and other themes, so it makes sense to create a detailed final project. And if you know me at all, you know I'm all about the details ;)
Hope this helps you out.