March 22, 2012

How to Make Easy Personalized Candlesticks for birthdays, holidays, and hostess gifts

"Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.  The most original writers borrowed one from another." ~ Voltaire

I always hoped  that someday I'd have the chance to quote Voltaire here at Rook No. 17.  I never thought, however, that it would be in a post about birthday candles.  Yet these personalized candles are in fact an imitation, although I'd like to think a judicious one.


Last Tuesday, one of my favorite creative bloggers, Carolyn of Homework, linked-up a post to "A Little Birdie Told Me..." where she shared several techniques for Embellished Spring Candles.  I was positively struck by the simple brilliance of her tissue paper transfer method.  Then, just yesterday, as I was browsing a local boutique looking for a birthday gift for a friend,  I spotted a pair of lovely candlesticks printed with the message, "Happy Birthday." I knew in an instant that I could use the technique I had learned from Carolyn to make my very own personalized candlesticks.

And this is when I discovered that I had misspelled "Birthday".  Argh!

This technique is so quick and so easy!  It doesn't require any special equipment or supplies.  If you have a printer, a glue stick, tissue paper, candles, wax paper and a hair dryer, then you're all set.  You can have a set of beautiful personalized candlesticks ready for a hostess gift or birthday gift tie-on in less than 10 minutes! 

DIY Personalized Candlesticks

1 set of candlesticks
1 sheet tissue paper (same color as your candles)
1 sheet printer paper
Glue Stick (I recommend the Elmer's Craft Bond Repositionable)
Wax paper (Food wrap aisle of your grocery store -- cheap!)
Hair dryer

I was so excited to get this project going that I didn't think to check my tissue paper supply before I got started.  All I was able to find was a very crumpled piece.  I set my iron on low and smoothed those wrinkles right out.  Lesson:  it doesn't have to be a pristine piece of tissue paper.


 Step 1:  Apply a stripe of glue along the top edge of the printer paper.

Step 2:  Set tissue paper on top, pressing out any wrinkles or air bubbles.

Step 3:  With scissors, trim tissue paper to the same size as the printer paper.

Step 4:  Feed the assembled paper into your printer with the glue end going in first, and flipped in the right direction for the printer to print on the tissue side.

Step 5:  Measure your candlesticks and decide how long and how tall you want your personalized message to be.  I created a Microsoft Word document and tried a few different fonts.  I ultimately went with Showboat (48pt) for "Happy Birthday" and EcuyerDAX (36pt) for "Happy Easter".  Both fonts can be downloaded for free at Dafont(Spell-check your work.  I didn't.  I want to kick myself.)

Step :  Cut out the word or phrase (with tight margins).  Position on the candle.

Step 7:  Wrap a small piece of wax paper tightly around the candle.

Step 8:  Use a hair dryer with the heat on high, but the power on low, concentrating the heat on the strip of tissue paper covered in wax paper.  As the wax paper begins to melt, the tissue paper will absorb it.  The wax paper will appear glossy and the letters will seem to be clearer and darker.  Move the heat back and forth along the lettering to avoid hot spots.  When the edges of the tissue paper disappear and the lettering is glossy, you are finished (takes about a minute). Immediately, but gently, peel off the wax paper.  Do not wait for the candle to cool, or you may remove some of the candle with the wax paper.  While candle is still warm, you can smooth out any imperfections with your finger.  I recommend only doing one candle at a time.

Note:  My first set of candles didn't turn out perfectly, but they still looked good.  By the second set, I had my technique down.  Not a bad learning curve, I'd say.

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Tip Junkie handmade projects


  1. these are fabulous...even misspelled they are fantastic

  2. These are so cool! You rock!

  3. Oh my gosh, that is so cool. I am going to do that. What a great little gift for people (mom in law) that have everything. Thanks for sharing. Rhonda

  4. Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that I am passing along the Versatile Blogger Award to you. For more information on this award, go to my post here

  5. How cool! Thanks for sharing that.

  6. AWESOME! Love this idea and your fonts and your candles ( -: Misspelling is no stranger to me ( -:


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