Baptism Candle Tutorial

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When we were planning Maddy's Baptism, I wanted the mementos of the day to be as beautiful as possible. Baptism only happens once, after all, but I'd love for her gown to become an heirloom and I hope to light her candle every year on her Baptism day. The gown came together beautifully, thanks to my mom's efforts, but a survey of the Baptism candle options was disappointing. They all had a distinct…felt banner vibe that I wanted to avoid. I'm pretty sure I could've gotten one to match my own late-'80s model. Then Mom sent me a link to this tutorial for a custom candle, and I decided that it was a craft that even my mom-to-a-newborn brain could handle. Given an attempt or two, I was right.

Supplies:

  • Pillar candle (Mine came fromh Hobby Lobby. Make sure you don't get one with a pearlized finish; the coating keeps the wax from melting properly. That was Attempt #1.)
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors (fine-edged, such as cuticle scissors, are better)
  • Blow dryer

Cut a piece of tissue paper slightly smaller than a regular letter-sized page. Try to keep it as wrinkle-free as possible.
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Tack the tissue paper onto a plain sheet with a little glue. You want it to stay in place as it goes through the printer, but every part you glue cannot be used as real estate for printing your design, so don't overdo it.

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For the art, I googled things like “dove line art” and “baptsm shell.” Choosing your art is where you can really get creative. Heck, if the “felt banner” style is your thing, go for it. I did some simple layouts in Publisher with her name and the date. The only real trick is to keep your page layout clear of the glued spots on your paper.

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Put the paper through the bypass tray of your printer, and say a little prayer that it works. Who's the patron saint of printer jams? I'm going to go with Anonymous Manuscript-Copying Monks of the Middle Ages. Anyway, my printer took the paper just fine, and I was ready to do some cutting.

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As you cut, the tissue paper separates from the backing paper. The design above was a first draft; I decided that they looked better with a defined border, which led me to create the ones below. Of those, the one on the right won out.

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Next comes a step that requires two hands and is thus pretty much impossible to photograph, so I'll just describe it. Hold the tissue paper in place on the candle and blow dry it until the wax melts enough to secure it. I found that it worked best on the hottest and slowest setting. It seems like it's taking forever, but just as your fingers are scorching and you're about to give up, the wax gets a little shiny. Then it starts to soak through the tissue paper, and once that has happened all over, you're done! Just put it in a candle holder to cool (gently! It's pliable.) and let it rest a bit.

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