How to decorate candles with gems & paint

Updated February 21, 2017

Candles make lovely centrepieces by themselves or surrounded by greenery, fabric or other decorations. But for special occasions, or just to coordinate with a room, it can be nice if your candle matches its surroundings. And to match a theme or decor, you may wish to decorate the candle. This can be done easily with gemstones and fabric paint.

Select a candle. The thicker, pillar candles will give you a broader curve for decorating, which will make it more likely any glue-on gemstones will stay. Remember, gemstones have a flat back and a candle is a curved surface: The broader (i.e. flatter) the curve, the more likely your stones will stick. As well, smaller gemstones, which require a smaller surface area, are more likely to stay on than larger gemstones. Consider all the colours you intend to work with as well. The colours (of your candle, gemstones and paint) should go together nicely.

Paint a design on your candle first. Fabric paints come in a variety of colours. You can get them with or without glitter. They come in matt colours as well as glossy. If you intend to burn the candle, you might focus the design around the candle base. Most pillar candles tend to melt on the inside, making a sort of well. The outer wall of the candle warps and bends as it burns down. Consider this when you choose a design. However, if you do not plan to burn the candle, you can paint your design anywhere.

(Alternatively) Paint on figures and shapes. If you are artistic, paint images onto the side of the candle. You can buy stencils in a variety of sizes with a variety of shapes. This way, you can design a candle for any special occasion or holiday.

Attach gemstones if desired. Gemstones with prongs will stay on best and will be the easiest to use. You simply press the prongs into the candle. Use a little glue on the backs of the gems for added security.


Because fabric paints have nozzles, you can make fine lines. Consider the following types of lines: horizontal lines around the candle---straight, wavy or zigzagged, vertical or diagonal lines, solid or broken lines, or dotted lines. Vary the thickness of your lines and their distance from each other. Remember to leave space for any gemstones you wish to attach later. If you use more than one colour of paint, let each line of the paint dry thoroughly before adding another line to avoid smearing. Glitter paint can make the image sparkle. Use it just to outline an image or enhance it. For example, if your image includes leaves, consider painting a few golden, glittery leaves mixed in with orange and green leaves that do not sparkle; also consider painting all the leaves in matt or glossy paint and using the glitter paint to make veins in the leaves. If you intend to burn the candle, gemstones should be placed along the base. While fabric paint will bend with the candle, the gemstones are more likely to fall off when the candle reshapes from burning. Some ideas for using gemstones: Make a row (or line) using only gemstones; fill in some of the dips in a wavy line; place them atop the points of a zigzagged line; use them as eyes in figures, as dewdrops on leaves or as a cluster of berries amid leaves. Use them creatively. If you are using glue-on gemstones, consider using a glittery craft glue. That way you can also put a little glue around the edge of the gemstone for added stability and have the glue be decorative. Try using sew-on gemstones and headpins (jewellery findings for beads). The headpin must be able to pass through the hole on the gemstone. This way, you can press the headpin into the candle, thus turning a sew-on gem into one with a "prong." However, for added stability, add craft glue to the back of the gemstone. Remember that smaller gemstones against a thicker candle stand the best chance of staying on Also note that due to the nature of wax, a gemstone which was only glued on will come off very easily if someone simply tugs on the stone.


Remember, adding anything to the outside of your candle can pose a fire risk. This is especially true if you were to glue on burnable objects, such as ribbons. But even paint can burn, which is why its use is discouraged on candles you intend to burn.

Things You'll Need

  • Candle
  • Fabric paint
  • Gemstones (preferably with prongs)
  • Craft glue
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author