Embossing Candles: How It’s Done!
First, I will say that these candles are for decorative purposes primarily. The process involves embedding tissue paper into the candle, so caution must be used to avoid creating a fire hazard. Using a hurricane glass cover might be advisable. The smaller monograms involve so little paper, I would not be concerned, a fully covered pillar candle might warrant a warning to the gift recipient.
Candles were very fun and easy to do–if you know the person’s decor, even better, if not, use classic colors. Even if people don’t like burning candles, these are pretty enough to just “sit pretty”.
I trialed a few colors and liked white and ivory candles best. We prefer mild or clean scents. I created gift bags to match using embossing powder and a heat gun.We made them for teachers and public servants to thank. They do require some detail work, but are versatile in what you can do. I used circle stamps, embossing powder, and black tissue paper, wax paper on these below:
These are double embossed to created the texture…I embossed the tissue paper with embossing powder and a heat gun, then melted the whole thing into the candle, producing an Old World Effect. For the bands on the bottom of the candle, I cut 1/3″ strips, wrapped them around the candle, then used the heat gun until wax melted through the tissue paper, adhering it.
First, I used embossing powder and embossing ink pad, stamped the alpha and circle on tissue paper, sprinkled on embossing powder (which sticks to the clear, glue-like, stamped image), then used a heat gun to raise the lettering (very cool to watch if you’ve never seen it–see pic below of the M. The embossing powder melts into a plastic-like raised letter as seen n nice cards.
Stamp or print your design onto TISSUE PAPER. If you decide to print your image on tissue paper, TAPE ALL EDGES to regular paper or cardstock or the tissue paper can get jammed in the printer.
Why emboss first? Trials shows it darkened the image once it was placed on the candle…I tried just a stamped image in it’s stead, and wasn’t pleasedso I kept double embossing them.
This image is only stamped.
Above is the image stamped with embossing glue and sprinkled with embossing powder. (Available at Hobby Lobby and other craft departments).
Brush away stray powder with an embossing brush (above, I got it on clearance somewhere, comes in handy for all sorts of uses.)
Above: I cut out part of this M — there were some stray dust interfering with the shape of the letter. Otherwise, random stray dust adds character…don’t worry about that, it doesn’t show much at all.
How to get the image onto the candle: get a piece of wax paper long enough to hold around the candle and grasp the two pieces of wax paper. This helps maintain the shape of the candle when you heat it. THIS IS NECESSARY, otherwise in heating the candle, the candle will lose it’s cylindrical shape, and the wax from the wax paper is what embeds your tissue-paper design.
Try to get the wax side down on the wax paper…I couldn’t tell the front from the back sometimes; simply flip it and reheat if it seemed to not be working right.
Take care to not overheat the candle until it’s running or you’ll have either a runny mess or a divet where the heat gun it hitting. For minor infractions, you can smooth it by distributing heat and working quickly. It is homemade, so give yourself some grace on perfectionistic tendancies. Most of the time, there is no problem. Two of my 20 candles went into “meltdown” ; I probably went into meltdown that often myself. 2/20 isn’t too bad a ratio.
The wax absorbs the tissue paper, leaving the design showing through the wax.
Note on heat guns: A heat gun is NOT the same as a blow dryer. Move the heat gently until all the tissue paper starts to turn clear and is absorbed, maybe 10 seconds or so (longer for the dark bands, as you have to go all the way around the candle.
Move your wax paper so that you don’t get too close to your hand for too long.
Gently peel back the wax paper and your design is left!
For the Bands: I did the black bands on the shorter candles by cutting out black tissue paper with a straight paper cutter (necessary for a clean edge, even if it’s not entirely level), then just cover the band with wax paper and let the candle absorb the black tissue paper. The fine lines on the very small candles , I just stamped fine lines onto tissue paper and let the candle absorb the tissue paper I’d stamped it on.
As a note, the bands and lines were the hardest part to do, but I loved how it finished the candles.
For some large candles, I used ribbon for dimension instead of the tissue paper bands.
Salvage old candles. This was a ruined candle from rubbing against with other candles. We all have these, I think. We save them for power outages that never come.
I covered the entire candle with a designed tissue paper to cover “scars”:
…then wax paper, heating until the clear or beige part is absorbed into the candle.
This elegant silver design remained…
Now it’s usable and even more beautiful than before!
Originally, I thought about embossing on the kids pictures printed onto tissue paper…but, you know, watching heads burn down? It was just a little much for me.
Gift Bags/Delivery: for tall candles, I used the same image on the gift bags, embossed. For shorter candles, I placed them in a in a basket lined with tissue paper and hand delivered.
Supplies: Circles are from a favorite acrylic stamp collection I use OFTEN (Hobby Lobby). Letters: clear acrylic alphabet Times New Roman (Wal*Mart some time ago, and Big Lots recently for only $2. . Heat Gun, 50% off coupon at Hobby Lobby with coupon. They run $20 or so, $10 after that discount. Silver Coasters: These, I found at a dollar store and fell in love with them. I got to the counter, and they all rang up at 90% off! Yes, I said a prayer of thanks right then and there!
I had no idea how to do this when I started and kept going from one idea to the next. The Lord was so into my discoveries and finds that I was amused for the days we worked at it. It was SO FUN to go from one idea to the next. I hope people liked them.
The post that inspired me: Musings of an Addict