Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sneak Peak of Outside/Grungy Candle Tutorial

Wow! I can't believe it's been over a week since I've posted a blog! Time is flying by too fast! I've taken some pictures of my outside. I've planted some flowers, but I have a lot more to plant. I'll post more pics later when I'm all done.


Does anyone ever pay a lot of money for grungy candles and then don't want to burn them because you've spent so much on them? Well, I'm going to show you how to make your own.

Option 1

Candles - Dollar stores have candles cheap. I've gotten pillars for $1.00
Modge Podge - matte finish
Instant coffee
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.

Option 2

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.


  1. Your house, flower beds and lawn look lovely. I especially like the window box made of old weathered wood. Just delightful!

    And the are just full of interesting information. I have been wanting to do over a few candles. Thank you so much

  2. Your house, flower beds and lawn look lovely. I especially like the window box made of old weathered wood. Just delightful!

  3. Your house, flower beds and lawn look lovely. I especially like the window box made of old weathered wood. Just delightful!

  4. Love the pictures of your home and flower beds!!
    Thanks for sharing how to grungy up candles...I just recently purchasing some candles to do that to and was trying to remember how to do them.

  5. Your outside pictures are so pretty. We sre not supposed to plant annuals until Memorial Day around here but I am always tempted and usually do start earlier. Now you tempt me even more!

  6. I so enjoy coming to visit your blog! Your flowers and gardens look beautiful. I love seeing what other prim gals do with their flower beds. I am just waiting til I get my mulch down and for some of my flowers to come up and then I will take more pics!!

    Thanks for the tutorial on the grubby candles... my list continues to grow with things I want to do : )

    Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!


  7. I love your home! All of your landscaping and the bee skeep look amazing.
    You grubbed candles turn out much better than mine. I use the second method...but I am glad that you shared the first methond because that seems so much easier, and less messy.
    Thanks for sharing, and have a great weekend!

  8. Very nice yard and lanscaping! Love the bee skeep, still wanting to try it!
    Have a great and productive weekend. Happy mothers day too!

  9. Beautiful pictures. I love your yard. Thanks so much for the great tut on grubby candles.
    Have a great day.

  10. Nice tutorial. I love gardening, your house, yard and flowers are amazing. Beautiful bee skeps.

  11. I found your blog when I was reading primitives from aboves new post.I luv your blog.
    You have a beautiful home.Thanks for the tutorial.I will definately have to try making these candles.They look pretty easy to do.

  12. Oh I am so glad I found your blog! It is wonderful! Your outdoor pictures are absolutely gorgeous and I just love your grubby pillars and tapers! I will be trying these!! I also saw the bench tutorial! Thanks for sharing both! I will definetly be back to visit again! Take care. ~Sarah~

  13. I have enjoyed my visit to your blog; what a treasure trove you have in your home. Your tutorials are great.
    Always blessed,

  14. Awesome! Thanks! I'm going to try this.

  15. Thanks for the tutorial, I can do this! Now all I have to do is remember where the spade bits are and see if the battery is charged on my drill :P
    oh, and your home is beautiful!

  16. I made these today, and posted them on my blog tonight, thank you again!

  17. Hi!
    I tried to make these, but I DIDN'T follow your directions and I ended up making highly flammable candles!
    Anyway, love your blog and I posted a link on my blog to here, so people won't make the same silly mistake I did!

  18. I just bought a great pillar candle holder to redo...thanks for this great tut on making a grubby candle!

  19. Primitive Girl in the Making...April 9, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    Just used your instructions for making my battery operated pillars grungey and they came out great! Thanks.

  20. Great job with your flowers. Your house is beautifully decorated. You must stay pretty busy. I love how to made your grungy candles. I cannot wait to dive in and make some for our house.

  21. I just wonder about the spraying with a sealer...isn't that flammable? not sure it is a good idea to bur a tealight on top of that...correct me if im wrong

  22. I just finished this project; I followed your instructions exactly and it turned out great! I didn't spray the candle with a sealer, however. The Modge Podge sealed the candle perfectly and turned the spice/coffee solution a beautiful patina! Thanks for this project.


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