Make Candles for Advent

Next Sunday, November 29th is the first Sunday of Advent .  And this is the wreath I will be using to celebrate the season.

For those of you unfamiliar with the meaning of the Advent season, or who may want to know a little more about the history of Advent wreaths and calendars, check out Advent and the Wreath.

The symbols on each candle are designed to remind us :

      trees  -  to respect the earth and protect the natural world
      hearts   - to express gratitude and appreciation for all that we have

      stained glass  -  to be charitable and share what we have with others

      people paper chain -  to promote good will and understanding among                                              among all people on earth          

After the candle is lit, each family member can offer a few words about the idea behind the candle, or  what it means to them, or perhaps some way they can demonstrate it's meaning during the next year.

Wouldn't it be nice, during this often times hectic season, to create a little time of reflection on what is good in our world and how we as individuals can make it even a little better.

My friend Liz, who lives on a tiny island off the northern tip of Michigan, teaches school, has two lovely children, takes beautiful pictures of island life and writes a blog called The Quilted Turtle is responsible for planting the seed for "growing" my advent candles!  This is her post!  And thank you Liz, for allowing me to share your picture!

She got her inspiration from Lina who lives in Montreal and writes a blog called Linaloo.  She posted this tutorial for  decorating candles using stamps and tissue paper.  (And by the way, when you visit her site, be sure to check out the adorable patchwork holiday star ornament tutorial she posted just recently).

This was the idea I started with.  I decided if Lina could melt white tissue into to her candles, I could melt colored tissue and create a stained glass effect.  I tested it out and it worked great! 

It seems to me that children would have so much fun cutting shapes and decorating candles.

I don't intend to give you a tutorial here - Liz and Lina have done a great job of that already.  But I will give you a few tips for how to create the candles using colored papers.

Once you figure out your design, create a pattern. Of course if you are going to use the stained glass design, all you need are squares and rectangles - easy!

Little hearts cut and ready to be melted onto the candle.

Follow Lina's tutorial to melt the paper onto the candles.  Be sure to wear a kitchen mitt.  (You can see mine are well used!) The blow dryer gets HOT!

If you are sharing this project with children, be sure YOU are the one holding the paper around the candle. They can hold the hair dryer or be on melt patrol.

You are going to love playing with these ideas Lina and Liz have posted!  And I imagine many of you will come up with ideas of your own while you are playing!

My friend Heidi (we make pinatas, pesto, cookies and gingerbread houses together!), was having difficulty coming up with a symbol for "preserving the earth".  All of a sudden I thought of the pages and pages of dried flowers I have stashed away.

The dried flowers worked perfectly! PER-FECT-LY! !

Just place the wax paper over the dried flower , hold tightly in place as you heat the area with your blow drier and presto - the dried flower is now part of your candle! We were dancing around the room like a couple of 10 year olds who just discovered gold!

Liz modified Lina's technique.  Instead of stamping the design, she gave her children Sharpie pens and let them draw designs onto pieces of pre-cut tissue paper.  So I decided to give it a try since we were obviously on a roll!

So here goes!

oops!  Nothing like a little failure to bring you back to earth and make you humble, is there?

I did not allow the ink to dry completely.  I had this mistaken idea that Sharpie ink dries instantly.  Well, it does not!  And it is very important that the ink be completely dry before moving on to the hair dryer.

Thorough drying makes a big difference.  And be extra vigilant about not heating the wax any more than is absolutely necessary to make the tissue edges disappear.


Do not use standard tapers for this project.  The candle might catch on fire as it burns down. 

Pillar candles over 2" in diameter are best to use, but NEVER leave any candle burning unattended. NEVER EVER!

I just love Heidi's candles! 

She is sending them as a gift, along with a wreath, to someone she loves very much!

Her designs represent:

hearts  -  charity

flowers  -  protecting and loving the earth

stain glass hexie quilt pattern  -  we are all one - connected together -  parts of the whole

hands  -  gratitude

I hope some of you will follow my lead and make candles to celebrate each Sunday of the Advent season.

Thank you Heidi, thank you Liz and thank you Lina for helping to make my season brighter.


These are just lovely and so

These are just lovely and so creative! I also love your tip of using an oven mitt too.

Nice job! And thank you for

Nice job! And thank you for talking about the meaning of the Advent candles, yet another bunch of new factoids I've learned from you. I've never tried the tissue paper, but it looks quite lovely. By the way, sharing the failure of the pens was just as helpful as seeing the ones that turned out as planned.

I have done something similar to this, only I painted melted Parafin over stickers and such as a way to decoupage on candles, so fun! I put the Parafin in a little warmer thingie (my very own technical term) to keep it from cooling down too soon then painted it in layers. The more layers, the more embedded the item looks, which may also help make whatever your using less flammable. Also, I used the smaller tea lights and the next size up, so I was able to roll it in the melted Parafin for extra coverage. Just thought I'd throw that idea out there.

Thanks again for showcasing this crafty tradition! Enjoy your Thanksgiving

Thanks for sharing about

Thanks for sharing about advent! I don't know about that. And I have made one tissue paper design on one candle, but this has now gotten me really eager to try it with tissue paper and sharpies! These are great. It's brilliant to think of using colored tissue. Leave it to you!2

This is a great idea. I think

This is a great idea. I think I will try it.

I'm so glad I could inspire

I'm so glad I could inspire some crafty goodness! Your candles look amazing. I love how they turned out.

I love experimenting with

I love experimenting with candles, and I think (okay hope) I could do this without messing up too badly. Hee hee you should have seen the chaos I created when trying to pour wax into a cardboard milk carton with ice chunks! It was supposed to create holes and be a wonderfully funky and unique gift. What it turned out to be: a big muddled puddle.