If you had to pick a handful of major recent design trends, there’s a good chance that neon and ombré, graduated colour would be amongst them. (Did you think you’d clicked on the wrong blog for a moment there? Some super-hip, of-the-moment edgy site? Fear not; I maybe commenting on design trends, but reassuringly at least a year after everyone else has done so…).
Despite having lived through it – just – in the late 80s, I find myself seduced by the re-emergence of neon pink. Also a bit alarmed, as mostly it seems to appear in micro-skirts, glow-in-the-dark lipstick and bra tops, none of which are complemented by having a toddler swinging from your arm and a weekly shopping list in hand.
So here’s a dash of neon for grown-ups; DIY ombré neon candles, which glow beautifully as the evening light fades and dusk falls across your summer dining table. These exhibit just the right amount of bling, without causing conversation to falter or attracting lost hikers out of the forest. Best of all? They’re really easy to make..
Take a handful of plain white candles and some cotton wool balls, and source a bottle of neon pink water-based acrylic paint. I used the DecoArt brand below, but any acrylic paint which is water-based should be fine for use with candles. (Avoid the temptation to use neon aerosol spray paint; it tends to be highly flammable, so unless you are prepared to blow out your candle as it burns down towards the colour, you might be inviting more pyrotechnic explosions than you had anticipated..)
Use a paintbrush to apply the colour from the base of the candles, and then blur it using a cotton wool ball to create a soft ombré tapering effect around the midpoint of the candle. A circular buffing motion will create the effect shown above. In order to do this, I simply stuck my candles upside down in a candle holder to keep them steady whilst I worked.
The paint dries very quickly and you’re good to go… dim the lights, light the candles and prepare for some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’. These would also look great in banded stripes (simply mark off with masking tape and paint chunky stripes 1 inch apart), and in a myriad of more subtle colours for those who shudder at the thought of neon*.
*Quietly I applaud you for your good taste; I just can’t help but love it…