First, a lights-out shot:
Again, keep in mind the tree itself is still a work-in-progess, k? So just look at the top bits:
Ta-daa! Floating candles!!
(And yes, the tree IS in a giant wizard's cauldron, which we built for about $15 - but that's for my next tutorial.)
I wanted to make floating candles a few months ago for Halloween, but all the tutorials I found used LED tea lights tucked inside toilet paper tubes, and I couldn't figure out how to make that fit properly OR look right.
So when I spotted these 2-packs of battery operated candles at The Dollar Tree, I decided to do things the Way Easier Way:
[*Batteries aren't included, so also add in the cost of 2 AAs per candle.]
First, pop the candles off their bases, and remove all the stickers:
Next, add "wax" drips using a glue gun. There's a bit of a trick to this, so you may want to practice first on a TP roll.
I found the best method is to start your drips at the bottom, and then draw the thinner line of "wax" up to the top. This part is actually really fun, so go nuts adding as many layers as you want!
The hardest part is avoiding those dreaded glue gun strings, which really show up when you paint, and scream "FAKE!" Scrape the tip of your glue gun on the inside edge of the candle to avoid these, and then be sure to pick off any stragglers before you paint.
I decided to paint, though, to give the drips more definition. I used a spray primer base coat, and a satin white top coat, to give the candles a nice waxy sheen.
You can see what a difference just the primer coat makes; the drips really stand out.
Finally, I used a watered down craft paint to add a little aging on the non-drippy parts of the candles:
(To give you a better idea, this lovely Candle DIY by Taylor A. Baird was my painting inspiration:)
To hang your candles, use a Dremel to drill a small hole through the tip of the plastic flames, and thread clear fishing line through to tie a knot. Wrap the other end of the fishing line around a thumb tack several times, and push firmly into the ceiling. DONE.
The candles turn on and off by twisting the tops slightly, and luckily John is tall enough to reach them each night. I'm curious to see how long the batteries last, since we leave the trees on for a good 8 hours a day. Since the lights are LED, they should last practically forever - but I'll let you know!
Important Note: These candles are so cheaply made that John had to tweak the battery contacts inside each one to make sure they lit up properly. So if yours don't work at first, try bending the metal contacts down a bit.
Hope you guys like our floating candles, and maybe try making some of your own! If you're hesitant to poke holes in the ceiling, you could always hang these on the tree, or suspend a few in front of a mirror for an extra sparkly effect.
Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!