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Learn How to Make Marbled Candles

Jan 21, 2016

by Clare McGibbon

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Want to add some personality to your space? An eye-catching pair of marbled candles and vintage candlesticks will add excitement to your dining room or mantle.

As a fan of all-things marbled (including cheesecake), today I’m sharing my latest discovery: a DIY swirling method that allows you to easily marble three-dimensional objects (!). With the right paint and an organized workspace, you can easily create a swoon-worthy set of marbled candles in your own home.

You will need:

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  • A bucket or container large enough to fully submerge your candle
  • One set of taper or pillar candles
  • Enamel paint (I used Magic Marble brand)*
  • Water
  • Drop cloth and trash bags
  • Newspaper (or paper towels)
  • Stirring stick (a wooden dowel, skewer, or popsicle stick will do the trick)
  • Gloves
  • Acetone-based nail polish remover or mineral spirits

*For this project, you will need to work with a minimum of two and a maximum of three paint colors. I used black and white to create the candles in this tutorial; feel free to use any color combination you’d like.

Before you get started:

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Enamel paint can produce fumes, and it can also be difficult to remove from unwanted surfaces. With this in mind, be sure to do your swirling in a well-ventilated area, with gloves on to protect your hands. Use a drop-cloth to protect your workspace, and line your bucket with a garbage bag if it’s one you wish to keep clean. (Tip: Nail polish remover or mineral spirits will help remove enamel paint spills, should they occur.)

Finally, I recommend having a pile of newspaper and a trash can nearby when you start dipping your candles – it will make the process much smoother (and cleaner!).

Step 1: Prepare the Marbling Water

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Fill your bucket with enough room-temperature tap water to fully submerge your candles. Shake your paint bottle thoroughly and add a few drops of your first color to the surface of the water. Repeat this process with your second (and third, if applicable) colors. Use your stirring stick to swirl the paint on the surface of the water.

(Tip: Don’t take too long thinking about the design you want to make during these steps, or the enamel paint will start to dry – potentially ruining your design.)

Step 2: Dip the Candle

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Holding the candle tightly by the wick, fully submerge in the water using a quick, steady pace and a circular motion. Before you remove your candle from the water, use newspaper (or a paper towel) to remove the remaining paint from the surface of the water. This will prevent a second layer of marbling to form on your candle as you remove it from the water. Remove the candle and give it a gentle shake to remove any excess water.

Step 3: Let it Dry

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After dipping a candle, let it dry on a candlestick (or hanging from its wick) for at least an hour. To repeat this process with another candle, remove any paint residue from the water before adding more paint.

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And that’s it! Now, simply style with vintage candlesticks and revel in your newly glam tablescape.

Process photographs by Romain Laurent. Styled photos by Clare McGibbon.

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1 Featured Comment

  • awaysaway Admin

    Clare McGibbon from AWAYSAWAY said 1 year ago Featured

    @SilverMagpieDesigns2 who asked: "That's a wonderful idea and I love the result, BUT, since you are using enamel paints, wouldn't burning the candles produce toxic fumes as well?" /// I recommend making sure that your coat of paint stays thin and letting your candles fully dry before using them. No fumes were released while I tested mine out. As with all candles, supervision while burning them is recommended. ///// @isewcute who asked: "Oh, and where did you get those lovely round faceted crystals in the last photo with the candle sticks? I love those!" /// Those crystals used to belong to my dad, who passed them down to me. They're definitely vintage so it might be worth a shot to search for something similar right here on Etsy!

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