Downloadable Instructions for Decoupage Candles    
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How to Put Pictures Onto Candles

What does the word decoupage, or découpage, mean? It means the decoration of surfaces with paper cut-outs. [Derivation: French = action of cutting out]. This definition comes from the Seventh Edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

Make your own personalized candles, using decorative decoupage techniques: print your favourite photos onto typing paper, and apply them to the candle with wax paper; melt paper napkin designs onto a candle; stick water transfers onto a candle. All of these methods work without using glue. Give the designs a protective layer, by over dipping them with plain paraffin wax, or an extra gloss sealer wax.

Why does my decoupage wrinkle? Wrinkling means air bubbles are present, between the paper, and the surface of the candle. It might take numerous attempts before you get a smooth finish, free from wrinkles and bubbling. Practise transferring spare, leftover pieces of paper onto a candle first, before you attach your final paper.

Can You Burn Decoupage Candles?

Yes, but use these tips for safe burning. These candles are a HUGE fire hazard. Take care, when lighting: peel back the paper stickers, as the candle burns down, before the flame reaches them. It's best to stick the decorations onto the bottom halves of the candles, or preferably onto larger candles, at least 10cm (4") in diameter. Candles this size usually burn down the center, and the flames won't reach the paper.

Alternatively, you can stock up on plain flameless real wax candles, and create your own decorative child and pet safe candles.

What Paper Can be Used for Découpaging Candles?

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Putting Paper Designs onto a Candle with Waxed Paper

Candle decoupaged with strawberry design The following kinds of paper are all good for decoupage projects: your own paper prints; pieces of wrapping paper; special découpage paper; thin, flexible greeting cards. Overdip with clear glossy wax at 103°C (217°F), or dunk the candle into fully refined paraffin wax for 3 seconds.

Follow the step by step tutorial below, for the pictured candle:

An ivory pillar candle, 8.5 x 20cm (3.4 x 8")

Decoupage paper with strawberry motifs

A sheet of wax paper

A hair dryer

Paraffin wax for dipping

An old coffee tin dipping can


1. Use a sharp scissors, and cut a motif from the paper.

2. Position the design on the candle.

3. Wrap the candle in the wax paper with the waxy side down.
Decoupaging candle with wax paper

4. Blow dry the designs onto the candle. Stop every now and again, and rub over the design with your fingertips to dispel any blisters. Keep this up until the wax paper's completely transparent, and the design's firmly attached to the surface of the candle. Too hot to handle? Keep the wax paper in place with an elastic band, or piece of string, so your hands don't burn.

5. Leave the wax paper on the candle until cool. Peel it off slowly.

6. Heat the paraffin wax to 93°C, (199.4°F). Submerge the candle for 3 seconds. Pull it out quickly, (to avoid drip lines forming on the surface). For tall candles, dip half the candle's length. Wait one minute. turn it over, and dip the other half.

7. Neaten the base of the candle with a hot iron, or in a heated pan.

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Procedure for Sticking Water Transfers onto Candles

An excellent medium for beginners, practicing diy decoupage. Water transfers come in thousands of designs, specially for candle making. Suitable for decorating special occasions, weddings, corporate events, seasonal holidays, gifts, and more.

Soak the transfer in water for 30 seconds. Position the design onto your candle. Peel back the base, and stick it onto the candle. Leave to dry. Pleased with the results? Leave it as is. Need some extra gloss? Do a 3-second paraffin wax dip.

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Attaching Designs from Paper Napkins onto a Candle

Pillar candle with rose decoupage Paper serviettes come decorated with photos, or handpainted designs, suitable for any occasion. Remove the two plain layers of tissue paper, and adhere only the printed top layer to the candle. Master this technique, and enjoy the flawless finish, and superb decorative effects, this process gives your candles.

You'll need:

A pillar candle

Printed tissue paper

Two spoons

Clear overdipping wax

A scissors

A dipping can taller than your candle, (old coffee tins work well)


1. Melt the wax in your chosen dipping can.

Fixing paper napkin to candle with heated spoon 2. Cut the designs out of the paper napkin.

3. Heat the spoons on a stove-plate. You'll work with one, while the other stays warm.

4. Position the design onto the candle. Working from the center outwards, rub the hot spoon over the design, melting and fixing it onto the candle. Get rid of air bubbles, or streaks, by going over it again, and again.

5. When the dipping wax reaches 93°C, (199°F), submerge the candle slowly, for 3 seconds. Pull it out quickly.

6. Heat up an old pan, and neaten the base of the candle in it.

Use these troubleshooting tricks, for fixing the problems of wrinkled decoupage, and make your own creative ideas a reality.

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