How to DIY Printed Candles

5 Materials
15 Minutes

Candles are a perfect décor for any time of the year because they burn easily (no storage problem!) and provide a lot of opportunities to turn into or to be integrated in seasonal DIY projects.

So let me show you an easy way to decorate candles by transferring beautiful images from paper napkins to wax, and you'll get a stunning result.

Actually, you could even say that I’ll teach you how to DIY printed candles.


Materials are pretty easy to find, and here’s the list:

  • wax candles because they have a lower melting point and are safe (instead of paraffin, which is toxic)
  • printed paper napkins, or decoupage paper napkins,
  • parchment paper to wrap and protect the candle
  • masking tape to fix the parchment paper around the candle,
  • since you’re going to heat the candle to make it absorb the paper, you’ll need to protect your hand with oven mitts or a towel.

As for the tools, a blow dryer is the main one, as the idea of this project is to transfer the image from the paper napkin to the candle using heat.

How to Do It

First, cut off the image that you want to transfer from the paper napkin. If your napkin and candle are both white, the image that you’ll move will look like floating on the candle, and this is the easiest way to make the decorated candle look perfect.

The paper around the image will become invisible after being absorbed by the candle, but even so you don’t need to keep much extra paper because it will make your work harder.

Peel off the napkin and keep only the printed layer, then place it on the candle. You can even use multiple images, but be careful to keep them in place while wrapping the candle in parchment paper.

This protective coat will keep the images on place while transferring, and will prevent wax from sticking on your hands. Also, be careful not to overlap the paper on the image, but on the backside of the candle, or you heating work will get harder.

Fix the parchment paper with a bit of masking tape, and start heating the candle with the blow dryer, on medium heat. Use the oven mitts or the towel to protect the hand while holding the candle otherwise you’ll get burned easily.

It will take a couple of minutes to see that the image is going darker, which means that the wax is melting and absorbing the printed paper. Don’t overheat, because the candle will melt too much, but move the blow dryer slowly on the surface and give the image time to stick to the melted wax. You may lightly press the image here and there, to ease the process.

Actually, you could easily see the steps in the video about this project posted on my YouTube channel. And if you get there to see it, hit “Subscribe” button for more DIY inspiration.

The transfer is over when there are no air bubbles left under the printed image. Then you may unwrap the candle and use it, but handle with care while it’s still warm.

I love this technique so much that I’ve made a lot of printed candles over the years.

Head to my blog HERE to see how a man with no DIY experience managed to do it live on on a national TV show, which proves I'm right about hos easy this project is, right?

Suggested materials:
  • Pillar wax candle   (Amazon)
  • Decoupage paper napkin   (Amazon)
  • Parchment paper   (amazon)
See all materials
Gabi Ralea
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Yolanda Espiriqueta Yolanda Espiriqueta on May 09, 2021

    Can you print your own image to tissue paper and use same procedure to transfer?

  • Nancy Tonella Nancy Tonella on May 15, 2021

    So are these meant for looks only or can they be burned with the napkin on them ?

  • Patricia Harrington Patricia Harrington on May 16, 2021

    Where can I find the exact napkins you used? I looked on Amazon but couldn't find them. I would like to make one for my sister who has birds.

Join the conversation
3 of 7 comments
  • Ardale Ardale on May 15, 2021

    Watch her video it shows you exactly how to do all the steps. I don't see why a flameless wax candle wouldn't work with this method. In fact that is what I'm going to try first. This method only melts a very thin film of wax into the napkin only barely absorbing the paper and brightens the image just under the wax. Very pretty!

  • Ardale Ardale on May 15, 2021

    Wow Gabi your candles are beautiful and so easy to do, who knew?? Can't wait to try this myself. You are only limited by picking what pretty napkins you want to use out of the millions of images out there and your imagination. This will be the only hard part for me. LOL I can see me going overboard with this project! You can literally make candles to go with any holiday or theme you can think of and any decorating period you like best. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

    • Gabi Ralea Gabi Ralea on May 16, 2021

      Exactly my thought about seasonal candles! My home is full of printed candles now! :))) I'm glad you liked it!