DIY: Hand Painted Candles

By Kate Riley May 5, 2009

Every once in awhile I get a wild hair.  I was daydreaming about milk glass and how much I really like the effect of chalky painted color inside of a glass vase. 

Then it hit me:  why not painted candles?  I remembered I had some leftover paint specially designed for glass from this project, and some extra glass jars just collecting dust, and I saw some microwaveable candle wax at the craft store, so then my brain started spinning totally out of control. 

Here’s what I came up with:  custom painted glass candles personalized with my own design.  A great gift for Mother’s Day ! 

Candle collage


  1. Specialty paint for glass, available at major craft stores
  2. Small paintbrush
  3. Glass jars
  4. Stickers for words or imprints (see below)
  5. Microwaveable soy wax
  6. Wicks
  7. Essential oil for scent (optional)


candle ingredients

Painting the Glass:

The great thing about these glass painting kits is you can mix your own custom colors.  Before you apply the paint, adhere stickers to the inside of your glass jars in the design you choose.  As you’ll see, I experimented with stripes, with leaf stickers, and with an “I Heart You Mom” message.  Then give your glass jars a coat of paint on the inside of the glass, covering the stickers.

custom colors

stickers collage

paint inside

Remove your stickers very carefully with tweezers, then cure (bake) your glass in the oven as directed on the paint box.  (Total curing and cooling time is about an hour).


bake in oven

Adding the Candle Wax:

Soy wax is a great product because it is made from soybeans, so it is all natural and burns clean.  And the handy dandy use of the microwave couldn’t be easier.  Follow the instructions for melting the microwavable wax at home.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of essential oils to the melted wax for scented candles.  I used organic lavender essential oil from Whole Foods and it smells fabulous

Two tips for sanity:  1)  Use a utensil, like a chopstick, crossed over the top of your jar to support your wick and keep it standing up.  2)  Pour the melted wax into a warm, not cold, glass jar to avoid any risk of cracking the glass.  I kept my jars warm in the oven until I was ready to pour in the wax.

stick support

Why use my Pyrex you might ask?  It is glass, has a pour spout, cleans up quick with a paper towel and hot soapy water, and any leftover  residue will flake off when I put it in my freezer.  (You know that freezing wax removes it from glass, don’t you?)  And I kinda have a thing against microwaving plastic for long periods of time.  

wax before and after

Keep your wicks supported as the candles cool.  My cocktail stirrers and a chopstick earned their keep today. 


Once your candles have cooled completely (about 90 minutes), doll them up with a personalized tag.

mint candle with tag 

mom final - Copy 

This one’s for my hunny and me:

blue with tag

Total project time is about 3 to 4 hours. 

If there is one place for improvement, it is in the paint application.  A second coat would remove the streaks that appear from just one coat.  Even better would be to add a few drops of water to the paint to make its consistency more fluid like, then swirl it around the inside of the glass for smoother coverage. 

This is one of those projects I will definitely try again.  These make great shower, birthday, or special occasion gifts. 

What would your design be?


  1. Very cool…I love it! I have never tried a project like this but it will now be on my to do list!

  2. You are a DIY goddess, I can’t believe all the crafty things you come up with, great job on the candles!

    Thanks so much for the eat,pray,love link……….I’m hoping to finish it tonight…it’s soooooooo good!! (PS: also a big thank you for checking out my blog)

  3. AWESOME! You know I’ll be linking! Oh and my design would say, “Mom, don’t fall asleep with the candle burning again!” She’s bad about that. =)

  4. this is so creative and seems like such an easy way to make a cute gift! Thanks for sharing the idea!

  5. These are such great ideas…how fun. I LOVE candles. :)

  6. AWW! I love this idea! I needed an idea for a birthday and now I have one! :), I just need another wouldn't happen to know what guys like would you cause when it comes to gifts I'm clueless. :_(

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