The Real Skinny on Birthday Candles

Last-Minute Birthday Candles

Although they are the second most important part of having a birthday cake, during the planning process birthday candles are often forgotten. This can be rather troublesome if time has run out and you’re preparing to take out the cake soon and sing Happy Birthday.  All isn’t doomed, however! I’ve done my research, and some experimenting, so I’ll be able to tell you how to create your birthday cake candles—at home with things you probably already have! But don’t worry—even if you already have your birthday candles, as I’m a DIY fanatic, I have some clever ideas for you to make unique birthday candles out of the candles you have already bought.

Choosing the Most Suitable of the Birthday Candles

If you are reading this article way in advance of the birthday party, then odds are you already have the birthday cake candle portion of the party in mind. Have you considered what kind of candles you will purchase? Although the birthday candle market isn’t particularly wide, there is a surprising amount of variety in supermarkets, craft shops and even your local dollar store.

If you’re going for a color-themed party, then you could go for all solid colored candles.  You could even go for the swirly candles that are dual-colored to suit both of the colors for the theme. How about blue and yellow to match the team colors of their favorite sports team. Get creative with your candle selection, as I have even seen zebra print candles out there if you were thinking of a safari themed birthday party.

birthday candlesHaving a candle for each year the birthday person has been celebrating birthdays, is a traditional way of testing whether or not the birthday wish will come true.  We all now that if all of the candles can be blown out at once, that wish we made before extinguishing those individual flames might just come true.  For every candle that remains lit, well… that’s just saying how many unknown boyfriends or girlfriends we have out there that our family wants to thoroughly embarrass us about.

If the birthday child is under the age of seven, then it might not be as entertaining to blow out all of the candles. For example, for a one-year-old, their 1st birthday candle will literally be one candle, and it won’t be much of a challenge to blow it out. All jokes aside, younger children seem to take more pleasure in candles that signify their age more concretely—it’s almost like they see those big, bold numbers as an accomplishment.

When deciding on birthday cake candles, it might be more appropriate to buy the big “number’ candles for the younger ones, maybe even themed as their favorite character! If your child is starting to get bored with the big bold numbers, or you just can’t find a pretty number 7, then some other fun happy birthday candles are the sparkler cake toppers or candles that sing the happy birthday song!

Making Your Own Birthday Candles

birthday candlesWe are now moving on to the juicy details of this incredible money- and time-saving DIY project! I’m sure you have at least once in your life saved the birthday cake candles from the year before to reuse the following year, so I won’t even go there. Perhaps you regularly save every unused scrap of candle, and is precisely why you forgot to buy candles this year.

Regardless of why you’re left with a naked cake, you yourself can save the day by whipping up some candles.

To get started making your own candles, first and foremost you’ll need the following crafty essentials:

  • toothpicks,
  • any candle OR crayons, tea lights work too in a pinch
  • cookie cutters,
  • wax paper,
  • and a wick!

If you don’t have a wick, then you just need heavy cotton string, borax, salt, and water: Soak the string in 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon borax and let dry, then dip it in wax and let it dry. Tada! You now have wick.

After you’ve gathered all of your birthday candle ingredients, then you can follow these easy steps:

  1. Boil water in a pot on your stove and set a glass bowl on top of it with the melted wax from your candle inside the bowl 
Alternative: Forget about the candle altogether and break up your crayons into muffin tin molds or a baking dish lined with wax paper and bake them until they’re melted.
  2. Dip your wick into the melted candle on the stove and then into a bowl of cold water; keep repeating until it’s the thickness you want it to be. Voila: you’re done.Alternative: After you’ve melted the crayons, cut them out with any cookie cutter shape you want and gently press the wick on one end (Don’t use your hands) and the toothpick into the other end.
  3. Allow the candles to dry fully, and they’ll be ready for use. Don’t worry about the crayons, either—they’re non-toxic! (I can’t say the same thing about your candles; you’ll need to read the label.)

Decorating your Homemade Candles

Now that you have your candles, you might want to beautify them. beeswax birthday candlesThere are a couple of ways you could approach making your candles pretty and glamorous.

Firstly, if your candles are thick enough (i.e., if you have big numbers or shapes) then you could buy stickered rhinestones from Michael’s, or another craft store, and press them into the candle for a sparkly twist. The only issue with this is if the candle melts down to the rhinestone, then there’s a chance that it’ll fall off.

If you have edible glue, then what you could do is mix sugar with food coloring and to microwave it for thirty seconds at a time, stirring every time the timer goes off, until the sugar is dry again. This sugar-food-coloring mixture will provide you with edible glitter, so you can now decorate your candles with this glitter with no fear of it falling on your cake! In fact, go ahead and sprinkle it over the cake, too.

The moral of the story is: Just because birthday candles are quickly removed from the cake doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them before and after you put them on the cake!  If your candles are pretty enough, why not save them as a memento?  The candles will keep much better than the birthday cake anyways.

written by Rebecca, birthday December 3rd

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