Paige's craft issues started young, when nonstop begging earned her first supplies, which were as protected -unused- as a dragon's hoard.
Pipe Insulation Makes Easy Faux Candles
This simple project started after repainting at home left me with splattered foam pipe insulation. It seemed wasteful to just toss them, so I started experimenting. It being Halloween season, this is where we ended up, but there's no reason they couldn't be customized to any occasion!
You can find the insulation at any home improvement or hardware store for about $3 per six foot length- Amazon does have it, but at a huge markup, so I'd advise the local option first.
Easy Halloween Candles
Preparing the "Candles"
Cut the insulation to your desired candle lengths, varying them as you go. One six foot strip will easily make either of the larger examples shown here.
I had to cover over the existing paint spatter, but even the areas that weren't a mess looked better after a coat of black paint. It's a matter of personal preference, and you need not do it if you like the look, but the foam was more of a gray up close, and I wanted candles like the darkest night.
You know, for the atmosphere of the thing. All the better to conjure by, etc, etc.
Assemble Your Candles
On a wooden base, start to arrange your candles until you find a layout that works for you. They're not going to want to stand up on their own, and rubber bands will help to support them as you work out your configuration.
Consider what decorations you're going to use, and how you intend to place them to make sure you have enough base to keep everything stable. I chose to use one horseshoe layout and fill the center, and one where the candles are clustered in the center and the decorations around the edges.
Glue the Base Structure Together
Once arranged, glue the pieces both to each other and the base, making sure that it's all fully dry and stable before starting to place the decorations.
Make sure the bottoms of the foam "candles" are cut straight so they'll sit properly, but the tops you may want to leave a little ragged, as if the candles are burning down unevenly.
If you end up with glue drips, as I did above, don't worry much, you can just cover them as you go and no one will know.
Adding Wax Drips
I tried a few methods of making the "dribbly" part of the candles.
The shiny paths were standard clear drying glue- Elmers and Mod Podge were the ones I had at hand- they were attractive, but had no depth.
The glue gun worked well to make it look more like wax- but they dry milky white. Black glue sticks do exist, and would have solved the issue if I had them. I tried the black spray paint as seen in the background, but it didn't hold well and wiped off when touched.
Add Your Flameless Candles
The insulation is slit down its length and when gluing them I took care to hide that seam against the adjacent candles- you can see them in the pic above where it's all being pieced together. It was a great plan until it was time to insert the flameless candles. A slit worked, or simply don't glue that seam all the way to the top.
The widest diameter of pipe insulation is about an inch before it jumps up to really huge sizes, and the votives are a bit too wide to fit, but when viewed from the front you can't tell.
Pro Tip: Remote Controlled Candles
Once your foundation is assembled, you can take it in any direction you like, using whatever you have on hand, or creating a theme.
With just two foam noodles I created everything below. I'll explain a bit about each, what's included, and my thinking, but really, with a little imagination you'll have an amazing, inexpensive, personalized decoration!
Day of the Dead Tableau
Day of the Dead Candle Display
We watched Coco last year, a really heartfelt movie about a child trying to be reunited with his family during the Day of the Dead celebrations. I'll admit to not knowing a lot about the festival before the viewing, but it was both educational and great entertainment- highly recommend!
- The banners on etsy were less than a dollar and made with the Cricut, but are easily found at either a party or craft store around Halloween. Cutting myself allowed them to be sized them as needed.
- Marigolds are symbolic of the remembrances around the Day of the Dead, and represent the fragility of life, as they will die off with the coming of the frosts that start arriving at that time of year.
- Sunflowers are also seasonally appropriate, and color coordinated nicely
- Sugar skulls were about $3 at Michaels. They have ones you can paint yourself, but I went with quick and easy.
Total cost, about $15.
Spiders and Skulls
Spiders and Skulls Display
This one, I'll admit, should've been taken further. I intended to add cobwebs to complete the look.
Then again, I also intended to take better pictures...and also intended to use them as decorations in my home, but both were claimed before completion - when a 7 year old niece tells you she neeeeeeeds them for show and tell on zoom, well...you comply but I may have to make these again this year!
This used mostly things I already had around, but:
- Glittery spiders - difficult to attach to the candles, I used sewing pins to hold them in place while the glue dried
- Basic plastic skulls
- Generic glittery decorations taken apart- these were all attached to a sort of decorative floral pick I took apart and tucked in individually. It looks a little underwhelming here, but in the dark with the candles on they reflect back and give a little glow.
- My favorites: the little skull pendants. They were by the checkout areas in both Michaels and Joann's last fall, not on either website currently but will surely be back. Fully articulated little characters, complete with boots/high heels, they were irresistible, and by far the most expensive decorative items used, at about $8 (before sale/coupon) each.
Total cost is hard to calculate, since I had most of the supplies already, but I would guess around $20-25.
The Sky's the Limit!
Once you have the basic framework done, you can decorate with any theme you like, using whatever materials you have available. These took hardly any time to do- if you don't count the time it took the paint to dry on the foam, perhaps an hour from start to finish.
I even had a few small bits of foam left over, and made some tiny tableaus, too- the spider looks much more mighty on the small candles! (I left the below on a friend's work desk, and didn't smoosh the candles in because she was going to take it apart to take home.)