Saturday was Morgan’s 15th birthday. Or she said it was. I think she had her math mixed up. She’s 5. Can’t possibly be older. Cousin Sheryl and I took her to Charleston to eat at a restaurant (food that someone else cooked! the novelty of it all….), go shopping, and see a movie. She wanted to see the new Ashton Kutcher movie. I explained to her that whether she was 5 OR 15, she wasn’t seeing THAT movie.
Later, on our last stop at a Target, I remembered that I didn’t have any birthday candles. And it was a little late to make some since it was already actually her birthday. (See how to make tiny tapers for birthday candles here.) I told her to pick out some birthday candles. She picked out these candles.
They cost $3 per 8-count package
Never take a teenager shopping with you.
Since it was her day to be spoiled, I bought them. And promptly went home and deconstructed them! Making all sorts of toothpick candles couldn’t be easier. They are nothing more than candle wax cut-outs poked onto a toothpick with a bit of wick popped on top. (You don’t need a wick all the way through–these are brief-use candles.)
If you’ve never made candles before, see How to Make Container Candles for basic information about candle wax and safety guidelines. For even more info, see So You Want to Make Candles–Basic Supplies to Get Started. Also see Recycling Candles to repurpose candle wax from candles that are burned down too low to light anymore.
Find all my posts on candle crafts here.
For this usage, I found higher melting point paraffin wax such as pillar or taper wax worked best. Don’t use soy wax–it sets up too soft.
To make toothpick candles, you will need:
toothpicks (plain are best, but all I had on hand were colored)
dye and scent (optional)
fine flat braid candle wicking
Melt the candle wax. Pour a small amount of wax into something shallow like a pie pan. (The wax won’t stick to a glass pie dish.) Don’t pour too thick of a layer or the center will be too soft when the outside is ready for cutting.
Note how thin these candles are.
Your homemade candles should be just as thin.
Sprinkle glitter on top if using. Cut out shapes before the wax completely sets so that it’s still soft enough to cut easily.
Making the shapes is similar to the process of making chunk candles only you’re going to use molds to cut them. You can use small cookie cutters, or what I used here for the stars came from a set of pie pastry decorative cutters.
Once the wax is set to the point where you can make the cut-outs, work quickly. Cut the shapes, making sure to press the cutter through all the way to the bottom of the pan.
Loosen the wax along the sides of the pan and it will come right out, leaving the cut-outs behind.
Poke each one onto a toothpick before the wax hardens too much. Don’t poke the toothpick in very far or it will crack the wax.
These candles aren’t meant to burn long, so all you need to do is attach a bit of wicking on top. Dip the end of a piece of wicking into the melted wax in the wax pot. Place it on top of the candle, just a tad to the side of the tip of the star. Using a stainless steel spoon, dribble a bit more wax over it and use your fingers to mold the wick onto the candle.
As the store-bought package indicates, these candles won’t burn long, just a couple minutes. They’re easy to make, far cheaper than the ones at the store, and make cute cake or cupcake toppers. With cookie cutters in various shapes, you can make them for any occasion. Red, white, and blue stars on a July 4th cake. Hearts for Valentine’s Day. And so on! I also made some hearts and cut out a 1 and a 5 for Morgan’s birthday.
To place the wick on top of a flat surface, like this 5, it’s the same process, just press the wick down on top and attach it with wax.
This is a fun project. Kids could help pick and cut out the shapes for their own birthday cakes. Make somebody’s birthday–or any day–special with homemade toothpick candles!
We were late getting back from the city on Saturday and Morgan decided to wait to have her cake on Sunday evening. (Actually, it wasn’t a cake. She wanted a big double pan of these brownies.)
I hadn’t had time to put wicks on all the homemade candles, so she had a mix of homemade and store-bought toothpick candles that she chose herself.
Note: These candles DO NOT burn long! Make sure everything is ready when you light them.