I’ve had this pair of candles for nigh on 12 years. At first they sat on little stumpy candle holders, brightening up corners with their (in hindsight) rather garish pattern, until my 21st birthday, when I received the gorgeous pair of wooden candlesticks that would become their new home. As a serial house mover, these candles have been boxed more times than I could possibly count, wrapped up and unwrapped, and placed lovingly back atop of the candlesticks. I absolutely treasured these candles, dragging them from share house to share house, never lighting them, always making sure their Egyptian printed wax paper covering was unblemished, and that the wick remained white and crisp.
I don’t remember how it happened, but several years ago, one night after a glass of wine or two, it seemed like a most excellent idea to light them. So I did, and I walked away, and I forgot about them. They burnt down until the middle was hollowed by a couple of inches, and the flame was smothered under the pool of liquid wax.
I was lucky I didn’t start a fire.
But back up they went the next day, and there they remained, collecting dust, slowly falling apart, wicks all but gone. Until a couple of days ago, they looked like this:
Being that I’ve had these candles for so long, I couldn’t bear to part with them, but there was no way they were staying around as they are. Time to put on my crafty hat, or something like that. So, convincing myself that reusing my old candles – decorating candles – was an important step to self sufficiency, I pulled out my sons “crazy” scissors, some glue, and some craft paper, then began stripping the candles of their nasty old coverings.
Once the old candles were stripped, I cut away the old wax “damage” with a large bread knife, being careful to stop just short of the wick on each side. I sawed and shaved away the used portion of the candle and left a rustic surface (which I like). You could always shave it back smoothly if that’s more your thing.
Once both candles were nice and clean and the wicks freshly exposed (I cut until 1cm of fresh wick was sticking out the top), I rubbed the candles down with alcohol and prepared to cut my pretty craft paper.
I used PVA glue, but I bet Mod Podge would last longer. I’ve read that you can’t expect much more than a couple of years out of PVA bonds to candles. I don’t know how true that is, but I don’t mind so much if it is. If these guys are still going strong in 2 years, I’d be happy enough to recover them!
I roughly measured the height of the candles and cut my paper to height, leaving about 1/4 inch of the candle showing at the top. Because we had a pair, I used my son’s craft scissors with patterned blades to cut a pattern in the top of the paper. Of course, this is entirely optional and absolutely unnecessary. As long as the paper is the right height (ie, a bit shorter than the candles), and at least the bottom line on the paper is straightish, you’re in business.
I placed the candle on the paper with the straight edge aligned with the base of the candle and rolled it up tightly.
I added a little extra glue along the seam and smoothed the surface with my hands. Voila!
So, my candles were complete, but they just didn’t feel complete.
So I used some fine, silver ribbon to affix a vintage button to each candle.
I had a little leftover paper, so grabbed a grubby little taper candle from a box and slapped some paper around it too for good measure. I must say, I’m happy with the results!