DIY Printed Candles Tutorial (With a Tardis!)

Super-Badass-Friggin'-Awesome Tardis Candle

When I texted a picture of this candle to my fiance he replied, “That is super-badass-friggin’-awesome! Talented and sexy, that’s my baby.” In other words, this is a good way to impress the Whovians in your life. Of course, you can do this with any image, so they’re great for gifts, holiday decorations, and of course wedding decorations.

If you’d really like a Tardis candle but aren’t into the whole crafting thing, I put this one up for sale on my Etsy Shop.

Now on to the tutorial…What You’ll Need

  • A light colored candle with enough surface space for your image- I used a white 3″ pillar candle, but you can use other colors and sizes. Just make sure that the candle is light enough that your image will show up on it.
  • White tissue paper – white tissue paper will take on the color of your candle no matter what color you use
  • A glue stick
  • Wax paper
  • Scissors
  • A printer
  • A hair dryer or heat gun

Step 1

Find an image you’d like to use for your candle and scale it to fit your candle. I found a Tardis image and used Adobe Illustrator to make it just under 3″ tall, since that’s the height of my candle.

The back should look something like this

Step 2

Cut a piece of tissue paper that’s a bit larger than printer paper. Wrapit over the printer paper and tape the edges down.

Step 3

Print your image onto the tissue paper. This is the hardest part – I’m not kidding.  My printer doesn’t like this step at all, so it has to be monitored pretty carefully. If the tissue paper isn’t wrapped tightly enough around the printer paper (or if it isn’t wrapped at all on the bottom and sides – the top doesn’t really matter) it will just feed the tissue part, which doesn’t really work and results in torn tissue paper. If you have a small image you might want to make multiple copies of it on the same page so that if one gets screwed up, you don’t have to start all over.

Only one of these was a little messed up

Step 4

Cut out the image. You don’t have to cut out the exact shape; any white areas you have left will take on the color of the candle and blend in once you blow dry it. Run the glue stick lightly over the back of the image and place it on the candle.  You can use anything you’d like to secure the image, but I find that a glue stick works best. Liquid glues make the tissue paper too soggy. With my first candle, I just put a plastic band around the image, which worked but left a bit of an imprint and it didn’t hold the edges down. Whatever method you use to secure the image, make sure it’s non-toxic if you intend to burn the candle.

Step 5

Wrap the candle in wax paper. You don’t technically need to do this; it will work without the wax paper too. However, I found that the wax paper keeps the candle from getting drippy. I didn’t use wax paper on my first candle, which looks okay, but has a few problem areas.

It got a little drippy and had a slight imprint from the rubber band I used to hold the tissue paper on

Step 6

The fun part

Blow dry it. Really. Just put your blow dryer on high and have at it. It’s pretty cool to see the tissue paper seem to disappear. Make sure that you get all of the areas of the image. When all of the tissue paper looks like it’s gone and you just see the image, you’re done.

Step 7


Unwrap your awesome new candle. Then take pictures to show all your friends so they’ll know how awesomely crafty you are. Also, post your pictures in the comment section, so I too can marvel at your awesomeness.

36 thoughts on “DIY Printed Candles Tutorial (With a Tardis!)

  1. 1) This is a really easy and neat way to make something very cool, so thanks, and…

    2) It is so very very awesome that even when searching for crafts I can still find Whovians!

  2. Love this – I am such a Dr. Who fan, the new one pretty much made me love bow-ties single-handedly.

    Thanks for commenting on my little dog freakout post on my blog btw, I really needed to hear that. I had no idea what a major life-change it was to suddenly be responsible for a dog that freaks out any time we leave her. I want to see Hunger Games and go out on date nights with the fiance, but she has to chill out first, and that could take months. 😦

    1. The eleventh doctor is awesome and bow ties are cool!

      Getting a new pet is always a change, but even more so with a dog. Especially a small, anxious dog. I’m sure you’ll both adjust soon though. Good luck!

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial and idea! I am a candlemaker, and a good friend asked me if I could make a molded Tardis candle, and I’ve been searching online for hours for a mold. I asked another crafty friend to help me look for candle mold sources, and she stumbled across your site/tutorial. I am a little nervous about the printing on tissue paper part, but I’m excited to try this new project regardless! I will try to post a photo if I can pull it off. If I am able to make this, my mind is already racing as to how many different themed candles I could start making. I cannot wait to get started on this project this weekend! Thanks again! —Melissa ❤

  4. Can you burn the candle with the tissue paper on it? I found something like this on another site but it said once the pic was added it rendered the candle appropriate for “decorative purposes only”…….I just don’t want to burn the house down. Thanks!

  5. Just found this. Totally awesome. I’m going to do it. Love Dr Who but realize other images would work. Think will experiment with applying this to other things and see how it works. I would like to make some labels that are unique. What do you think!

  6. How long will the tissue paper remain attached to the candle? I’m concerned that after a while, bubbles and imperfections may appear. Also, can the candle be burned?

    1. I have some from two years ago that are still perfect. I’ve never tried burning one, but I believe design would come off, but it shouldn’t burn because of the wax coating.

      1. I make these often. You can burn them – the tissue paper (and your image) stays intact. If it’s in a glass, it’ll stick to the inside of the glass. If not, your candle just burns below it. I’ve done it with family pictures, and it looks really cool when the candle burns behind the picture.

    1. Heat guns get far hotter than blow dryers. You might want to try getting it much farther away from the candle, so that it doesn’t take the full brunt of the heat.

  7. I have done candles some seem to turn out well others drip everywhere and ruin the candle. Also when I use coloured candles the tissue paper makes it go white. Any ideas?

    1. I’m not sure about the dripping. Some candles seem more prone to melt and drip sooner than others.

      As for the colored candles, you can try cutting out the image very close to the edges of it. I’ve used a small amount of a glue stick (the kind of non-toxic ones that small children use) to keep the image in place while I heat it.

  8. I loved this tutorial but like you found the printing the hardest. So, I think I have found a solution that worked great every time. I cut a piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2″ x 11″ and ironed just the edges of the tissue paper to the freezer paper…about 1″ at the most. This was just enough good hold to feed it through the printer. It went through the printer great and then I just cut the edges off of the paper and voila! A perfect printed piece of tissue paper. You just have to make sure you leave 1″ margins around whatever you’re printing…dah…I didn’t at first! LOL Thank you, for such a clear tutorial, your pictures were great. My candles are awesome and I even did photos! Thanks again.

  9. Ariella, I made this for a Dr. Who fanatic who also loves cats! Its absolutely fabulous. Thank you so very much. I made it for a family member who still cant believe it, I had to show them this page so they believed me. Its the first time I have left them speechless…. ever. Thank you for sharing this with us. I will now add a design to some tapered candles for a pair of vintage candlesticks I am giving to a friend for her birthday. As for the printer… well..

  10. Many of my candles have turned out good but then after a few hours have wrinkled up and come away from candles can you tell me why please .

  11. I realize this post is four years old but I just tried this trick now and loooooove it! I transferred an image of a vintage lightbulb onto an LED wax candle and it looks rad. Bonus-it will never melt down! I wish I could figure out how to post the pic here!

    I kept shredding the tissue until it dawned on me to just place my image in the middle of the paper area, and then cut out a square of tissue a few inches smaller than the paper, then just centered and taped it on. Worked like a charm…

    Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  12. I have tried this but it doesn’t seem to work!! Don’t know what I’m doing wrong but the photo does not transfer 😦
    Help 🙂

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