DIY: Striped Wax Candles
Design editor Lauren Petroff transforms basic white candles into a playful decorating element using wax dye.
No matter what time of year it is, I always like to have candles on hand for dining and entertaining. Candlelight adds instant atmosphere, and these striped candles look just as nice when they’re not lit. I added personality to plain, off-white candles with dye in colors that feel playful and work with my artwork and decor.
Decorative candles, like most smaller accessories, look best in groupings. I chose to use handsome tarnished-brass candleholders with some patina to contrast my muted color scheme.
You’ll need candles, paraffin wax, liquid candle dye, eyedroppers, painter’s tape, steel bowl, disposable baking tray, and pliers.
Wrap painter’s tape in stripes around white, straight-edged candles. Cover both ends to seal them off and leave some excess tape to hold onto when dyeing.
Melt 4 blocks of paraffin wax in a small stainless steel bowl. To prevent wax from burning, create a double boiler on the stove (i.e. set the steel bowl over a pot of boiling water) and set temperature to medium-low. Stir occasionally until melted.
Add liquid candle dye to melted paraffin wax using eyedropper to control the depth of color, and stir well to mix. I used about 3⁄4 of a 15 mL bottle to get the desired vibrancy. (It worked out to about 3 1⁄2 mL per block of wax.) Carefully pour wax into disposable baking tray. Prop tray up on one side to create a trough on one side with enough depth to dip candle.
Hold excess tape at both ends of candle with pliers (to avoid dyeing your fingers). Gently submerge candle horizontally into melted wax. Lift out and tap off any excess wax dripping from candle, while still holding candle horizontally. Wait approximately 10 seconds and repeat for a second coat of wax.
Prop dipped candle in a spare candleholder and wait about 1-2 minutes for wax to dry fully. Continue dipping more candles (you can dip 3 to 4 candles while waiting). If you wish to do more or if wax starts getting too thick, return wax to double boiler to remelt.
Carefully remove tape and, if desired, set a hairdryer to high and hold about 6″ from candle to smooth out any edges.