A Beautiful Mess

abeautifulmess.com · Oct 30, 2014

Try This: Striped Candlesticks

The days may be getting shorter, but that just means dinners are getting more romantic! As sunlight dims, I like to light candles to set the mood for cozy evenings at home. Put on some Ella Fitzgerald, and the atmosphere is complete! I'd been eyeing these gorgeous striped candlesticks at Anthropologie, but I thought I'd try to replicate the look for a little less money.

I bought some fall-hued candlesticks from World Market in bordeaux, white, rust, and olive. Then I selected acrylic paint for the stripes on each color. Regular water-based non-toxic acrylic paint will work with a little patience (just keep dabbing). See my notes about the safey of burning painted candles at the end of this post.

I used masking tape to make stripes in various widths on the candles, then I dabbed on the paint with a sponge brush. Make sure you don't use too much paint, or it will seep below the tape. It takes about 2-3 light coats to completely cover the wax.

Gently peel off the tape, and now you have some striped candles!

Note: If you have any uneven paint edges, you can use the dull edge of a knife to carefully scrape off the paint from the candle pretty easily. Keep this in mind as you handle the candles, though. If you plan to move them around a lot, you may want to prime them before painting, or the paint will scratch off. (If you do use primer on the candles, do not burn them- unless you are using a water-based non-toxic primer.)


This project is so simple and makes a fun holiday tablescape for very little money. Take it to the next level with an eclectic array of candle holders. I found a bunch of candlestick holders at the thrift store and painted them all black. So easy—so chic! -Mandi

UPDATE: Some of you have expressed concern about the safety of burning these painted candles, or if they should be for decorative use only. I naively assumed they would be safe to burn because the craft paint I used was water-based and non-toxic. (Note: artists' oil-based/chemical-ridden acrylics are different from the water-based non-toxic craft acrylics.) But I did some research and found that many non-toxic paints may still contain less than 1% of preservatives, such as formaldehyde. Turns out, lots of items many people use everyday that are absorbed/ingested/inhaled have formaldehyde in them, so if this is something you have on your radar (like if you use organic shampoo, avoid decaf coffee, don't use nailpolish— that sort of thing), definitely look for a paint that specifically advertises being formaldehyde free. Look out for heavy metals too, which probably won't be found in water-based craft acrylic paints anyway.

I know some people that won't burn candles in their home at all because of the co2 it releases into the air. However, for use in my home, I'm okay with a little bit of co2 from the candles, and since there is very, very little "non-toxic" paint on these candles, I'm personally okay with the occasional burning of them. You may feel differently about it and choose to only use these for decorative use, or to find formaldehyde free paint, or to skip this project altogether, so I hope I did an okay job explaining what I found in my research so you can make the decision that's right for you. -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine from the Signature Collection.

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