Candles - Dollar stores have candles cheap. I've gotten pillars for $1.00
Modge Podge - matte finish
Spices - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coffee grounds
1 1/2" spade drill bit
Regular or battery operated tea light
First, you'll want to make your modge podge mixture. Add equals parts modge podge and water; then add instant coffees until you get the darkness you want. I make it in a pint jar and put plastic wrap on before screwing the lid on to have on hand for future projects. Mine has lasted a couple of months so far.
In a resealable plastic bag, mix together whatever spices you want to use - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger - whatever. I also add dry coffee grounds.
Using a 1 1/2" spade drill bit, drill a hole in the candle deep enough to fit a tea light. (Save the shavings, you can use them later.)
Sprinkle some of your spices onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Using a paint brush or foam brush, apply the modge podge mixture to the candle in sections. I usually apply about a 2" stripe and then roll it in the spices. As it's lying face down, paint more modge podge on candle and then roll in spices. Keep doing this until the candle is completely covered. I usually let it set for about 1/2 hour and then do the top. Let candle set for another 1/2 hour to an hour to dry. tap the sides to remove excess spices. You can finish it two different ways. You can apply another coat of modge podge to seal the spices in or you can spray the entire candle with matte finish sealer.
When the candle is completely dry, you can add your tea light. If your candle sits on a shelf where the top can't be seen, use a real tea light. You'll get the effect of a real candle and you'll only have to replace the tea light instead of the whole candle.
The candle on the left just had matte finish sealer applied and the right one had the modge podge mixture applied.
This option is a little messier.
First off, the wax you use to melt can be the blocks of wax you buy at a craft store, but I buy the cheap tapers for $.25 at the Dollar stores. Just break them into pieces, making sure you remove the wick. Toss in your wax shavings or any candle "stumps" you may have lying around.
Put the wax pieces into a metal container. You can use a coffee can, but I invested in an actual container used for candlemaking - also found at a craft store. it has a handle so it's easier to hold on to.
Place the metal container in a pan with about 1" of water. Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. While the wax is melting, sprinkle out spices onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and spread some wax paper or foil on the counter or another cookie sheet.
When the wax is melted you can add color if you want. Craft stores sell wax dyes, but I've used Crayola crayons in a pinch. How much you use depends on how much wax you're melting and the depth of color you want. Paint stir sticks work great for mixing.
When your wax is ready, take the metal container out of the hot water. Stand over the cookie sheet with spices. Hold you candle by the wick and dip it into the melted wax, tilting the metal container enough so that the entire candle is coated. Depending on the look you want, quickly either roll in the spices or just sprinkle some onto the candle. Dip the candle back into the melted wax to seal in the spices. You can leave as is or sprinkle more spices on. After dipping a couple of candles, put container back in hot water to keep the melted wax hot.
These cool down quickly enough that I've been able to lay them immediately on the wax paper to finish cooling without marring the candle.