Painting the surface of a candle may be the easiest method for surface decorating, especially for the beginner. You paint a candle just as you paint on a piece of paper. The types of paints to use are water-based — tempera or acrylic — because they adhere to the candle's surface best. Oil-based paints will slide off.
Tempera paint is available from arts stores; your craft shop may carry it as well. As you can mix your own colors quite easily, you need only purchase the basic primary colors: red, blue, yellow; and white and black. (Refer back to “A Guide to Mixing Colors,” p. 194.) From these five colors you can mix almost any color you can think of, except gold and silver, which are also available. Pens that are filled with gold and silver inks are excellent for fine-line drawing on candles.
Inspiration for painted candles abounds. You can paint an abstract design of your own making; geometric shapes such as triangles, squares, stars, etc.; or flower shapes in different colors. Decorating candles with painting is easy and fun, and leaves your imagination lots of room to be creative.Paint with Wax
Not only can you paint your candles with poster paint or acrylic, you can overpaint them with another wax in as many colors as you like. To make painting wax, simply mix one part paraffin with 3½ parts of turpentine, following the instructions below:
Melt the paraffin and add the turpentine.
Permit the mixture to stand for a few days, stirring three times daily to help the turpentine evaporate. The result is a pasty wax pliable enough to use for painting.
Add color to your painting wax, using a different dish or container for each color you plan to use. If the wax is too stiff, put the containers in a pan of water and warm until the colored wax is pliable enough to use with a brush. Use artist's paintbrushes for wax painting, but don't expect to use them for any other purpose. I advise buying inexpensive sets of brushes and disposing of them.
Once you have painted your candles, be sure to leave them untouched in a protected place while they dry.
When the candles are thoroughly dry, overdip them in clear wax — quickly — for a final finishing touch.
Decorating candles with paint is fun. You don't have to know how to draw. You can make interesting squiggles — sort of doodling in paint. Or, hold the paintbrush in one hand and the candle in the other and twirl the candle around, making a spiral design! Use your imagination — be creative.