Painted candles can make a very nice and personal gift for Christmas or as a Birthday present but there are a couple of things to keep in mind when painting candles. As we all know, candles burn and there is quite a lot of heat they produce especially close to the flame so choosing the right type of paint that doesn´t produce any toxic fumes when it gets hot is important. Also, not every type of paint will adhere properly to wax. But don´t worry! In this article, you will learn how to properly paint wax so that you don´t run into any of these issues.
As a whole, you can paint over candle wax by using a special candle-painting medium that has to be mixed in equal parts with acrylic paint. The mixture can then be applied directly to the wax. Don´t use candles with natural oil in them, like scented candles for example, as the paint will not adhere to them properly.
As you can see, painting candles isn´t hard there are just a few important things that you need to know before you start or you might run into issues later on.
What Kind of Paint is Best for Painting Wax
There are a couple of ways to paint wax and there are also a few different types of paints that can be used for painting wax. But using most of these paints is actually quite complicated or time-intensive and because this article is about the easiest way to paint candles I will not explain how to use encaustic paint (a paint that is like wax and has to be melted in order to be applied), for example.
As a whole, the best kind of paint to use on wax is acrylic paint. But acrylic paint can´t be applied directly on wax it has to be mixed with a special candle-painting medium. This medium will make it so that acrylic paint adheres properly to wax.
So the easiest and fastest way to paint wax is using acrylic paint, which you can get in any crafts store and at your local hardware store, and the candle-painting medium.
Candle-painting medium can´t really be found on Amazon, at least at the time when I was writing this article, but you can usually get it in most craft stores. I found one online store that sells candle-painting mediums right here (This is NOT an Affiliate Link).
How to Paint on Candle Wax
Now that you know what kind of paint to use for painting candle wax it’s time to look in detail at how to actually paint on candle wax.
Materials You Will Need
- Rubbing alcohol
- Acrylic paint
- Candle-painting medium
- Small paintbrushes
- Masking tape
- Some white candles
You can use pretty much any acrylic paint you want but you will get better results with high-quality acrylic paints because they tend to have more pigments in them. The more pigments a paint has the better it tends to cover.
When choosing paintbrushes it is only important that they are well made so that you don´t have to deal with loose hairs in your paint while painting. So if you are painting a lot it is well worth it to invest in some high-quality brushes.
Masking tape is only required if you want to paint patterns. I prefer using it for most of my projects but it is up to you. You could also just freehand everything.
When you buy your candles make sure that you don´t get scented candles or other types of candles that have natural oils in them. This is mainly because the oil will prevent the paint from properly sticking to the surface of the wax.
1. Clean the Candle
The first thing we almost always have to do when painting something is cleaning the surface.
So use a few drops of rubbing alcohol and either an old towel or some old piece of cloth to clean the candle from dust, dirt, and fingerprints.
Cleaning the candle will ensure that the paint sticks properly to the surface.
2. Prepare the Paint
To prepare the wax simply mix the acrylic paint and the candle-painting medium in a one-to-one ratio. Make sure that you mix the components thoroughly before applying the paint.
This is also the time where you can use the masking tape to tape off parts of the candle that you don´t want to paint.
You can also use masking tape to create interesting patterns. You could, for example, tape a spiral pattern from the top of the candle all the way to the bottom of the candle. Then paint the space in between and you will end up with a clean spiral pattern on your candle.
But it is completely up to you how you want to paint your candle and if you want to use masking tape or not.
3. Apply the Paint
Now, apply the paint mixture directly to the candle. You can also use a sponge for broader application but I personally usually stick with using a fine paintbrush for the most part.
When applying the paint make sure that you apply it as evenly as possible. Brushmarks will stay visible when the paint dries.
Don´t mix the paint mixture with water! Even though acrylic paint can easily be diluted with water the paint mixture for painting candles should not be diluted or you run the risk that it won´t adhere properly to the wax surface anymore.
You can mix different acrylic paint to create new colors, however. The best approach here is to mix the acrylic paint first and then mix the candle-painting medium with the mixed acrylic paint.
Don´t apply paint near the candlewick. The temperatures that develop near the wick are quite high and it is not recommended to apply the paint so close to the wick because it might result in unpleasant fumes.
Is Acrylic Paint Really Safe to Use on Candles?
A common concern when painting candles with acrylic paint is if they can safely be burned. So is acrylic paint safe to use on candles?
As a whole, acrylic paint is safe to use on candles if you use non-toxic water-based acrylic paint. The acrylic paint should only be applied on the surface of the candle away from the candlewick to ensure that the acrylic paint isn´t directly burned by the flame.
So as long as you use non-toxic and water-based acrylic paint then you should be on the safe side. I personally never had any problems with using acrylic paints for painting candles.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create these interactive props. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.