DIY: Make Your Own Rad Candles

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Candles have always seemed like a lame craft to me – anything you can teach to the under 10 crowd and involves basically pouring hot wax into a mold just seemed elementary or even matronly. However, that was an entirely unfair judgement, as I have now found a handful of candle crafts that are unique instead of weak, rad instead of rusty, and still pretty damn simple to pull off.

Tins, especially those with lids like Altoids tins, are great for travel candles. Clean your tin, decoupage as needed, cut and place your wick, melt your wax, add scent and pour. Same deal with old tea tins, repurposed cans, or glass jars.

Tea cups are a lovely and delicate option, and you get the option to hot glue gun a saucer on the bottom as well.

If you’re camping or need a biodegradable candle, consider using an old orange peel or an apple to house your candle. Bonus here is the lovely scent (and if you’re into scents, consider wrapping a candle in cinnamon sticks or setting one in a cup with coffee beans).

One of my personal favorite ways to DIY your dimly lit rooms are the bottle cap candles made from crayons which are seriously rad on a number of levels. Pour carefully, those caps are mighty tiny but they’re great for carrying in pockets so you can add some mood where ever you go.

Shells are another version of a quick and easy travel candle plus they’re reusable – once you’ve burned all the wax down, just gently scrub down the shell and fill it up again. Speaking of shells…egg shells can also be used to create candles. Either gently tap off the top of the egg and fill with wax, or, for a more advanced option, blow your egg (hehe), then thread your wick through. Create a funnel from a bit of parchment paper, pour the wax and once it’s dry, tap off the egg to get an egg shaped candle.

My other favorite is water balloon candles. Fill a water balloon, melt down wax, then gently and repeatedly dip the balloon in the wax to create an opaque layered candle, but never, ever go above the water line or the balloon will pop. Allow the wax to cool, then pop the balloon and scoop it out. Set a candle inside for soft illumination.

If you happen to own come cookie cutters, you can make cookie cutter candles in the shape of stars, or puzzle pieces or letters. This one if particularly fun because cookie cutters come in a pretty broad variety of shapes. Just melt down the wax, then pour out onto some aluminum foil, then set down the cutters and place the wicks. When the wax dries, cut and smooth the edges.


First two images courtesy of Apartment Therapy. Other images (in order of appearance) courtesy of,,, and Candle Tech.

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.

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