DIY "Candy Corn" Decorative Candles

Halloween just isn't Halloween without candy corn. And even though a lot of people don't like the taste of it, candy corn does make a fun home decorating motif during the fall season. Case in point, these pillar candles inspired by the white, orange and yellow confections. To create the tapered candy corn shape, I used paper cups, which are perfect for holding the hot wax. And the candles slide right out when they're done. Displayed on a platter of actual candy corn, they'll add a whimsical touch to your Halloween revelries.

candy corn candles
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Things You'll Need

  • Paper cups

  • Knife

  • Candle wick

  • Adhesive putty

  • Duct tape

  • White candles

  • Tin cans

  • Orange and yellow crayons or wax dye

materials
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Preparing the Wick and Mold

Step 1: Poke a Hole in the Cup

Turn the cup upside down. With your knife, a nail or even a drill bit, poke a hole in the center of the bottom of the cup. The bottom of the cup is where the top of the candle will be.

hole
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 2: Thread a Wick Through the Hole

Cut a piece of candle wick that is at least four inches longer than the height of the cup. Thread the wick through the hole in the cup, leaving about one inch extending above the hole. The remainder of the wick can run out the bottom for now.

thread wick
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 3: Cover Up the Hole

To prevent melted wax from seeping out of the hole, plug it up with a piece of adhesive putty. This is the type of putty used to hang posters on the wall without nails. Press down on it to get a good seal.

putty
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

For additional protection, cut a small piece of duct tape and cover the putty with it. We want to make sure absolutely no wax spills out of that small hole.

duct tape
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 4: Secure the Wick

Turn the cup right side up. To keep the wick centered and secure, position a piece of duct tape across the diameter of the cup. Cut a slit in the middle of the tape, and thread the other end of the wick through the slit. Pinch the duct tape at the center to hold the wick tightly.

secure wick
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Melting the Wax

Step 1: Break Up Wax Into Pieces

With a knife, shave down the sides of a white pillar candle, and the wax will crumble into small pieces.

wax
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 2: Melt in Tin Cans

Thoroughly wash tin cans and let them dry. Be careful while handling them, as the rim of the cans are sharp. Pour the crumbled wax in a can, and place the can in a pot containing about two inches of water. Heat the water, and the wax will slowly melt.

melt wax
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 3: Pour the First Layer

As a general rule, the colors on candy corn are white on top, orange in the middle and yellow on the bottom. Because the bottom of the cup is the top of the candle, and the top layer of candy corn is white, the first layer we'll pour is the plain wax without any coloring. When the wax is completely melted, pour it into the cup about 20 percent of the way.

first layer
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Tip

The colors of candy corn are roughly divided into thirds, although the middle orange section is usually larger than the white and yellow sections. To help you determine how much of each layer of wax to pour, draw measurement lines on the outside of the cup with a black marker. Make the lines thick enough so you can see them on the inside of the cup while you're pouring.

Adding the Colored Sections

Step 1: Choose the Type of Dye

To create the orange and yellow sections, you can use either crayons or wax dye. For most people, it's easiest to obtain crayons, and they dye the wax evenly. However, crayons have pigments that can clog the wick, so the candles might not burn as well. If you are using the candles for decorative purposes only and not planning on lighting them, then crayons should be fine. If you do plan on lighting them, then wax dye is a better option. It is pricier, with fewer retail outlets that sell it. For this project, I used wax dye that I purchased online.

dye
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 2: Dye the Wax Orange

Melt the crumbled white wax just as you did for the first layer. When it is completely melted, add the orange dye, stirring with a wood skewer. If you are using crayons, cut them up into small pieces first. Start with about an inch of the crayon, and keep adding more until your desired color is reached. Similarly with the wax dye, start with a few flakes and gradually add more. Keep in mind that when the wax hardens, the color will be lighter than it appears in liquid form, so err on the side of saturation.

dye wax
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Tip

Because the orange section is usually the largest in candy corn, you'll need a larger quantity of melted wax. Therefore, look for a larger tin can that will hold more wax. I used a 47-ounce can of black beans (emptied and cleaned, of course).

Step 3: Pour the Orange Wax

Make sure the first layer of white wax is solidified (I waited 24 hours), then pour the orange wax on top of it. About 75 percent of the mold should be filled after the orange wax is added. Let this layer of wax harden overnight.

orange wax
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 4: Dye the Wax Yellow

Melt more crumbled white wax in a tin can as you did with the first two layers. When it is melted, add pieces of either yellow crayon or yellow wax dye, stirring with a wood skewer. Remember that the resulting color will be lighter than it looks melted, so make sure the yellow is very saturated.

yellow dye
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 5: Pour the Yellow Wax

Pour the yellow wax into the mold on top of the hardened orange layer, going all the way to the top. Let it harden overnight.

yellow wax
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Releasing The Candle from the Mold

Step 1: Cut Off the Excess Wick

Trim the excess wick from the top of the yellow layer. Since this will actually be the bottom of the candle, there does not need to be any visible wick.

trim wick
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 2: Remove the Seal & Reveal the Candle

Turn the mold upside down. Take off the duct tape and adhesive putty covering the hole at the bottom of the cup. It's the moment of truth! Squeeze the sides of the paper cup, and the candle will slide right out.

candle release
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 3: Clean Up the Edges

If any colors seeped into another section (e.g., the yellow wax going into the orange), don't fret. It can happen when the wax contracts, leaving gaps that subsequent layers of melted wax will want to fill in. Just shave off any overlapping wax with a knife, and the candle will be perfect.

shave wax
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Tip

After shaving off any uneven edges, run a hair dryer over the surface of the candle and smooth it out with your fingers.

For a complete set of candy corn candles, use three different sizes of paper cups. I just went to my local coffee house and asked for some free empty cups. I may never think of a Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Vanilla Latte with Soy Milk the same again.

set of candy corn candles
(Image: Jonathan Fong)
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