How to make a Photo Candle

How to make a Photo Candle

If you’ve ever wondered what you can do with your digital photos besides share them on Facebook, there are a variety of amazing ways to share your photos as physical gifts! From photos you took on your digital camera to scanned artwork you’ve been saving for something, turning them into photo candles is a super easy (and super fun!) gift you can give to a family member.

What you need

Computer paper
Tissue paper
Wax paper
Candles (White pillar candles from Michaels or Walmart work best and are cost effective)
Hair dryer (If you’ve used it on an earlier project, a heat embossing gun is also ideal for this!)
Digital photos



Step 1:

Your tissue paper should be attached so securely that it’s thickness barely changes. You can fit two 5” x 7” photos on one page!

You need to get your digital file onto the tissue wax paper. It’s too delicate to put into the printer on its own, so you will need to wrap a piece around a piece of computer paper. You will need to wrap it tightly, using just one piece. We recommend cutting the tissue paper so it’s just a little larger than the paper and taping the edges over so it doesn’t get stuck in the printer.

So you don’t waste your time and tissue paper, do a couple of test prints with regular paper and mark the side of the paper facing up with a marker and see which side the photo prints on. Now you’ll know which way the tissue paper should face.

Step 2:

You won’t even have to untape the tissue paper. Cut around the edges of your photo and it will slide off easily.

After you’ve set your photos to print, they will have printed onto the tissue paper and left the computer paper blank underneath! Cut out the pictures from the computer paper and separate them.

Step 3:

It’s OK to have the overlapping wax paper. It gives you something to hold on to.

Choose one of your photos and place the tissue paper on the candle. It will wrap around the sides of the candle, but if it overlaps in the back or over the top make sure you trim it. You don’t need to tape the tissue paper to the candle.

Once you’re happy with the placement of your photo, tear a piece of wax paper off and wrap it securely around your candle. The most important part of this whole process is to put your wax paper on wax side DOWN. The wax on the wax paper is what melts and traps the tissue paper, allowing it to burn without catching on fire.

Step 4: 

If the heat bothers your hands, put on a pair of rubber gloves!

The final step is the heat! Using your embossing gun or hair dryer, you’re going to melt the wax on the paper to the candle.

We used a high setting and started on one side. Apply the heat in back-and-forth, even strokes. It won’t look like much is happening, but after a minute or two you’ll begin to see the paper take on a sheen and it will look like the color is spreading. This is a good sign!

Once you see that begin to happen, move to a different part of the candle. You don’t want to overheat an area. When the whole candle has begun to show that same discoloration and sheen, give it several once overs of the whole candle slowly.

When you’re confident you’ve applied enough heat, slowly peel back a corner of the wax paper. Your tissue paper will be gone! The wax from the paper will have melted to the candle and you will be left with your photo on the candle.

You’ve done it!

Vanessa Boucher has personally helped over 500 families share memories and history through unique projects as a consultant at EverPresent, the nation’s leading digital photo organizing company. A graphic/web designer and crafting enthusiast, Vanessa is one of the thought leaders behind EverPresent’s innovative website and blog, where she shares best practices and tips on topics ranging from digitizing irreplaceable memorabilia to creating stunning photo books

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