Arctic winds have blown through our corner of the world this week, hustling the trees into a frantic leaf fall and turning our minds to thoughts of cold, crisp mornings and snow. The newfound chill is novel enough to feel fresh and exciting, and to make us a little giddy at the thought of Christmas approaching (I’m an unashamed Christmas person; although the grown-up in me joins in the general tut-tutting at the sight of Christmas cards in the shops in September, the child in me gets very excited…).
Preparations for the festive season can never begin too early in this house, so I waited for a break in the gusting wind and then rushed outside to practice making candy-cane striped candles, a plan I’d had vaguely formulating since the neon candle experiment earlier in the summer. This was an experimental DIY but proved to be a very easy one. You’ll need;
- A handful of inexpensive red candles
- Nail varnish remover
- A roll of masking tape or washi tape
- A ruler, if you are precisely minded (I did mine by sight and guesswork)
- A can of matt white spray paint (whilst the propellant is highly flammable, the paint itself is usually fine to use; check the small-print on yours before buying).
Firstly rub the candles lightly with a cotton wool bud soaked in nail varnish remover, and then rinse and pat dry. This will help the spray paint to adhere better. Now, starting at the bottom of the candle, run the tape around at intervals of about 1″ (or as wide as your tape). Repeat until the top, and then smooth around the tape to ensure it is stuck to the candle all the way around each ring (this minimises the chance of smudging or paint runs). At this point they should look a bit like this;
I pegged mine up for spraying, but equally you could simply don an old rubber glove and hold them by the tips before spraying. The bands of tape mean that you can lean them against a wall to dry, as long as you position them carefully. I gave mine two light layers, about 3hrs apart. If you have more patience, 3 coats would look even better… just don’t be tempted to try and give it a double-coating in one; it will run and look horrible. Trust me. when they are dry, carefully peel off the tape and examine;
At this point, you can use a craft knife to gently scrape away any paint to neaten the edges, and dab any gaps or chips using a cotton wool bud with a little paint sprayed on top. And then… well, that’s it. Ta-da! Have a cup of tea and congratulate yourself.
These burn very normally without strange smells or firework effects (always reassuring to know), and look very pretty. Not as finessed as those in high-end shops which are made from layers of coloured wax, but a very cunning and serviceable thrifty alternative (and where Christmas is concerned, any opportunity to be thrifty has to be good…). For ultimate holiday table chic, use a handful of these candle spikes and stick them in glossy red apples. Gorgeous.
(ps if we were partying at home this Halloween, I think I’d be making some of these using black candles for stripy witch-stocking effects).
Have a great weekend!