Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fun Grubby Candle Shells

I love working with different crafts from time to time but I always have to get my hands in some wax. Wax is so much fun to play with and the feel of warm wax in your hands is just something you have to experience. So today I'm going to talk about making some fun Flameless Electric Candle Shells like the ones shown in pics below! Please read through the complete tutorial before starting.

And here's a close up....

These simple and easy shells are a blast and you're only limited to your imagination! To start with, I'm assuming you have the basic wax melting/handling knowledge. If not, download my free Basic Candle Making Instructions (for tarts) from my share box. Please note you will need a Paraffin Blend type of wax made for Pillar candles for these shells, and 2 pounds of wax should give you plenty to play with for this project. As for the mold used in this project, you'll need a cleaned plastic frosting container like the Betty Crocker frostings come in. For the purpose of this tut I've made the shells with plain white unscented wax and you may wish to do the same for the first time making a shell. Actually, this is what I recommend on your first try. You can always reheat the wax adding color and scent later. Please refer to the Basic Candle Making Instructions for standard items needed. With that said, let's melt that wax!

When melted wax has cooled to 150 degree you're ready to pour into your fronting container. No, don't worry, it won't melt the container, lol! If plastic container is microwavable safe, then it's usually safe for wax projects. Remember, I NEVER pour my wax hotter than 150 degree for several reasons and this being one of them. Let the wax in the container cool till it has a good thick frosting over the top but is still warm. Using an X-acto knife, cut a circle about 1/2" from sides of container and pour excess wax back in melting pot. You can see from pic below how I cut my circle. Next, use a straight edge stick or ruler to scrape excess wax from sides and bottom of the shell inside the container. This smooths out the shell inside but watch and keep the bottom at least 1/2" thick. Carefully scoop excess wax back into melting pot and let shell finish cooling. I call this hulling out the shell, so your hulled out shell should look like this on the inside....

Once wax is completely cooled you can carefully remove it from the frosting container. If shell doesn't want to release easily, place container in freezer for about 5 minutes then carefully pull wax shell out as you're pushing down on container. Your shell should look like one in pic.  Place shell on old baking sheet or wax paper.

Now for the fun grubbing part! Pour some wax in a deep old plastic bowl (you won't use again for anything else) and let wax cool. As wax starts getting a film stir with wooden spoon or stick to start it clumping. After it cools a little more, use an old electric hand mixer to whip wax. This will make the wax clumpy and while it's still warm, start spooning out on the candle shell. Go all around your shell spooning the wax on then get the top edges. You may wish to work the wax on shell with your hands to get desired texture and remove any excess. Your shell should now look like a plain grubby shell as in pic below. With the orange color wax you can see how the grubby wax was applied to the white shell. Using fingers you can edge off any excess wax inside top rim of shell.

Attach your printed out facial design and gently attach on shell with tacks as shown in pic below. Using a darning needle, start punching around the design, one facial piece at at time till you have the whole face punched with needle. Careful with the needle punching as you can tell when the needle has gone through the grubby wax and into the shell underneath. You only want to needle punch the grubby wax and not the shell.  You may also wish to use a metal cookie cutter for the design. If so, make sure your cutter will fit properly and isn't too large for the shell. Since the shell is round you'll need to press the cookie cutter starting on one side then roll the cutter to the other side while pressing. Careful not to press too hard and cut into the base shell. Then remove any wax from the cutter design and smooth out the outlines of the shape with your X-acto knife. I've made several from cookie cutters including the star and Sun Bonnet Sue shown in above pics. The cutters are a lot easier than needle punching the face or other design. But if you want detailed design I suggest using the needle punching method.

Carefully remove the face paper and start carving out the features with your X-acto knife. This is kind of like doing a connect the dots kind of thing, lol. The snowman facial graphic was created by Brenda of Creations For Ewe and she's a very talented artist! After you have your face features carved out you'll need to drill a 1" hole in the center bottom of the shell for the clip light. Now you'll need to cut a 1/4" deep by 1/4" wide slot for the clip light cord on the bottom so your shell will set evenly. Looking at the bottom of the shell, and making sure it's on the back side of candle (not face side), cut 2 straight lines with your X-acto knife from center hole to outer shell edge. Cut and carve out in-between those lines for the slot for your cord. Should look like this...

Now you can insert your clip light in the bottom of the shell, and insert silicone dipped bulb. You may also want to display your shell in a candle plate with fixins around the shell. When making an actual shell with color and scent, be sure to color and scent the wax before starting with the shell. As the clip light bulb warms the shell slightly, it releases the scent. I don't recommend using above a 5 watt bulb clip light in any shell rather it's homemade or purchased. The 3 watt bulbs make a nice glow but won't warm the wax enough to release scent. It's also good to only use your shells for 3 hours at a time, again, rather it's homemade or purchased. Use this tutorial at your own risk. I cannot be responsible for anything you use or do resulting from this tutorial. Candle making and usage is your responsibility, not mine. I'm just merely sharing my techniques with everyone. With that said your finished shell should look like this (IF making a snowman), LOL!


Please note you can use your crafting paints to paint in the face if desired. I've left this unpainted so you can see the nice glow effect. I will be posting more on candles so keep watch to see what's next.


  1. Libby that is just awesome. Thanks for all the info. I can't wait to try these!

  2. Hi Libby, I love your blog!! I am a memeber of the best forum around you guessed it APJ. That is how I found your blog!!!
    I can't believe you are a grandmother you look WONDERFUL!!! You sure DON'T look like a grandmother!!
    I am a follower now.
    God Bless friend
    Hillcrest Home Prims

  3. Hi Libby It's Colleen a member of APJ and owner of Harvest House Primitives, this is a beautiful blog chock full of great ideas and helps.
    I love the picture of your fur baby makes me want to hug that puppy!!! Anyway thanks for setting up this blog I am non your followers list and I'll be back,
    Take care Colleen

  4. Thanks so much girls for your wonderful comments and following my blog. I'm following yours too.

    If there's something particular you'd like to see or see more of, please let me know!