How to Write on Candles

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The traditional things to write on unity candles are the wedding date, the initials or full names of the bride and groom, or a Bible verse. Because candles and acrylic paints come in a wide variety of colors, you can use this process to match any wedding color scheme, no matter how unusual.

Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic paints in your chosen color(s)
  • Cotton swabs
  • 2 Candles
  • Dish of water for wetting swabs
  • Waxed paper to cover your work surface
  • Smock
  • Paper and pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Painter's tape

Preparing Your Work Station

Put on your smock. A large, old shirt with no holes works great.

Tape down waxed paper over your entire work surface, leaving no cracks for paint to leak through. Work on a non-porous surface like plastic or metal if possible. Spilled paint soaks into fabrics and some woods.

Fill your dish with tap water. Dip the ends of your cotton swabs into the water. Squeeze out excess water so the swabs are slightly damp. Dry swabs soak up too much paint and don't let it go.

Set out your paints, damp swabs, measuring tape, and practice candle.

Write your message for the candle on the paper. Spell it correctly. Write the message in the same way that you want it to appear on the candle. Write a short message in big letters if you want people to read it from far away.

Writing on the Practice Candle

Measure one inch from the top of the candle with the measuring tape. Use the tip of your pencil to make a tiny scratch to mark the place. Measure one inch below that, make another tiny scratch to mark the place. Continue this process until the candle has a line of tiny scratches down one side, each scratch an inch lower than the one above.

Repeat Step 1 on the other side of the candle. Be sure the marks you are making are tiny because they cannot be removed.

Wrap the measuring tape around the candle so that the edge lines up with both scratches closest to the top. Draw a ring around the candle along the edge of the measuring tape. This is your guideline. Use the ring to keep your letters straight when you write on the candle.

Repeat Step 3 to draw as many rings as needed. Adjust the distance between the rings to write in larger or smaller letters on your candle. Practice drawing tiny guidelines that won't show.

Dip a damp cotton swab into the paint color of your choice. Begin writing your message on the practice candle. Wipe off any mistakes with a damp cotton swab.

Write your message on the practice candle a few times. Experiment with different colors or different styles. Get used to writing on the curved, wax surface of the candle. Use a second candle if you need more practice.

Writing on the Good Candle

Make your guideline rings. Make them hard to see for anyone except you, the person writing on the candle.

Write your message on the candle very carefully with the paint just like you practiced.

Let the entire message dry completely before wrapping, packing, storing or handling the candle.

Put away all materials. Clean up all spilled paint with water. Use small amounts of rubbing alcohol if water isn't enough. Keep lids on unused paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cover the waxed paper with newspaper if you are worried about spills. The newspaper will help soak up excess paint before it can get to the work surface.
  • Acrylic paint can be found in the crafts department.
  • Cut cotton swabs in half and paint with the paper stem in the center for smaller letters.
  • Use flexible stencils to do the lettering if your handwriting isn't impressive enough by itself.
  • Never use acrylic paint in a room with carpeted floors.
  • Supervise any children who want to write on candles using this process, as paint can be messy.
  • Clean up all wet paint spills immediately with a damp rag or paper towel.
  • Use a putty knife to peel away any thick, dried acrylic paint from smooth surfaces, being careful not to cut yourself or gouge the surface.
  • Use small amounts of denatured alcohol to remove dried acrylic paint from objects.
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