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Transferring an Image to a Candle – Easy Gift Series

Transferring an Image to a Candle - Easy Gift Series

I love this process!  Seriously not much is easier, you only need a couple of supplies (you probably already have them) and not a lot of time!  The first thing you need to do is find an image.  The Graphics Fairy is my go to spot for cool vintage images and she does not disappoint!  With over 4,000 images you are sure to find something that fits what you are looking for.

Supplies: (may include affiliate links)

Once you have found the image you want  and you have edited it to the size you need to fit your candle you print it off on tissue paper.  Trim your image leaving as little border as possible and the place it INK SIDE OUT on your candle.

Transferring an Image to a Candle - Easy Gift Series
Wrap a piece of wax paper tightly around your candle, holding both ends in one hand on the back side (you might want to wear an oven mitt for this part!)  For the next step you can use an embossing gun, hairdryer or even your stove.  Holding your candle with your hands away from the heat  slowly heat until you see the wax paper start to melt and you see the ink come through the paper . At that point, you’re done. Carefully peel the wax paper away and reveal your printed candle.
Transferring an Image to a Candle - Easy Gift Series

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99 thoughts on “Transferring an Image to a Candle – Easy Gift Series

  1. Hi Ashley. Love this idea. Could you please give me more details on how you printed on tissue paper? Was it with an ink jet printer and how did you feed the tissue paper through the printer? Thanks! Maureen

    1. Hi Maureen! In this example I used tracing paper (the kind they sell in the kids section at joann’s or walmart). It comes in a pad with like 40 sheets and is actually 9×12, so I had to cut it down to standard letter size. After I cut it I stuck it in the paper tray of my printer just like normal copy paper! I use a regular ink jet printer (it’s an hp) and and normal print settings (nothing fancy here). Let me know if you have any other questions. You can also use gift wrapping tissue paper, you would need to cut it down to letter size and then use a little bit of tape to attach it to a regular sheet of paper to feed it through. I like the tracing paper because it is faster less hassle.

      1. Ashley, Would it be possible to rewrite the instruction to include this way to do the tracking paper or tissue paper instructions? I too could not figure out how to put tissue paper into them tray to print , it as it would go through. Let us all know when you re-write the instruction so we can re copy it. Thanks

        1. In reply to those who were asking about actually using these candles, I would like to pass on a tip that has worked well for me. I use a wood bore (flat) drill bit and drill down into the candle. Watch carefully, it only takes a second or two. Then you can insert a tea candle in the indentation, or even a battery operated flameless candle. So the candle can be used, but the design stays intact forever. HTH 🙂

          1. That is a GREAT idea!! Like a “why didn’t I think of it” moment. Thank-you!

    2. If you do not have an InkJet Printer, what do you do if you have a LaserJet? And how do you properly place the tracing paper in the printer without jamming the machine?

      1. This should work with a laser printer no problem. I cut my paper to exactly the same size as a regular piece of paper and then tape it to a regular piece of paper along the top edge that feeds into the machine. good luck!!

      2. Hi Joseph! I would be careful. If I am right in thinking that LaserJet is the same as Laser printers, your printer might melt the paper. I was reading online about printing onto tracing paper. I found several places where it said that using a Laser printer could melt the paper and ruin the printer.
        Lizzie recently posted…Learning in MexicoMy Profile

    3. I just read somewhere to tape a larger piece of tissue paper to a piiece of printer paper (like you are wrapping the printer paper in tissue) and put the printer on transparency mode and it will print onto the tissue paper

  2. Thanks for the directions, they are very easy to follow.

    Is this candle only decorative or can you burn it? If you can burn it, do you have to do anything special to prevent the design from catching fire?

    1. yeah, I was wondering the same thing as Rita…..is this a craft that is just for looks or can the candle be burned? I would think if you lit the candle, the tissue paper would burn and cause an unfortunate accident. This is some thing I would think someone would actually like to make and sale in a store….I would think they would need to include a disclaimer IF they did this and sold it OR even if they just decided to give as a gift

    2. I am burning one right now! As it burns down the design will come off of the candle (it is only attached by a thin layer of wax), but should not catch fire. As with ALL candles, you should never leave them burning unattended. I personally have never had a problem with them catching on fire, however do what you feel is best for you!
      Ashley recently posted…Awesome Things Tuesday – 1My Profile

    1. You can use regular copy paper so I imagine you can also use bond paper. The part around your design will not be transparent but if you use a similar colored candle it wouldn’t be a big deal!

  3. When you “wax paper” can you tell me exactly what this is? I am in the UK and may not be able to access the same stores or products as you. Thanks

    1. Wax paper is a baking supply that you will usually find in the same area as aluminum foil or parchment paper. It is a thin translucent paper that is coated on both sides with a thin layer of wax. I did a little googling and found that you can use greasproof paper with some success or purchase it on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reynolds-00330-Cut-Rite-Wax-Paper/dp/B0036QO8M6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384377748&sr=8-1&keywords=wax+paper). Hope that helps!
      Ashley recently posted…Stenciled Kitchen Supplies – Easy Gift SeriesMy Profile

      1. Hey Ashley I hace baking paper, but not wax paper. Will baking paper work or not?

    1. You can print on tissue paper like you would use in a gift bag for a present! You would need to cut it to fit a regular sheet of paper and then use a little bit of tape to attach it to a regular sheet of paper (on each of the edges) so that you could feed it through your printer.

  4. Have you ever tried it on flameless candles? I’m not sure if the wax is the same or not, but I’m thinking it would help preserve the image as well as not burn the house down. That being said, I’m trying to give this as a gift to grandparents and I don’t exactly trust them with flames.

  5. I’ve tried doing this a couple times and can’t get it to work if my life depended on it. How long do you have to heat the ink before it will transfer?

    1. It takes about 5 minutes of constant heat which is why I recommend the oven mitt! Also, you can only use the wax paper one time per image (I tried to reuse them and it didn’t work at all) and you need to get the blow dryer pretty close to the candle to melt the wax coating like within an inch. Hope that helps! If it makes you feel better I had a lot of failures before I was able to successfully get it to work (no one’s perfect the first time right?) but once you get it down it goes pretty quickly!

      1. I have tried until the wax is almost running. The shine is there and everything. When I remove the wax paper it looks perfect. After it dries the image starts to peel up. I’m using tracing paper.

    2. Mandy, I think you are misunderstanding the process. You are not transferring the ink to the candle. You are adhering the paper with the design to the candle. The heat softens the wax of the candle and on the waxed paper, so they “glue” the paper to the candle.

  6. To protect your design on your candle from being destroyed, burn your candle down far enough to insert a tea light.

  7. Would it be safe to coat the transferred image on the candle with spray or brush-on polyurethane to protect the image and make it last longer when the candle is lit? How about coating it with Mod Podge? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kyra! You will print the image onto your tracing paper. Then trim the tracing paper around the image. Place the image on the candle (with the ink facing out) and wrap the wax paper tightly around it. Apply heat until the wax from the wax paper has melted and attached itself to the tracing paper image and the candle. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi Ashley, thank you so much for the awesome tutorial on how to transfer images onto candles! I’m definitely going to try this and pinned it for reference.

  9. Hi Ashley, this is a fab idea. I want to make thank you gifts for a wedding using the picture of the bride and groom. How would I go about using a photo as the image that needs to get onto the candle.
    Do u have any other ideas on wedding favors using a photo?


  10. Just read this article and had to try it. No wax paper so i used a tealight and melted it on some paper making a wax layer. Also don’t have a printer so i drew a picture on some tissue paper. Was pretty sure i was just wasting time but by goodness it worked! Thanks! Now my art is on a candle 🙂

    1. I drew on tissue paper with a graphite pencil (greylead) and melted it onto a candle last night and it worked beautifully.

    2. I was wondering about hazards. I read somewhere that the tissue paper might catch alight when you burn the candle. Does anyone know anything about this?

      Also, with the ink, when the wax melts, does the ink vaporize? Does anyone know anything about that in terms of toxicity?

      I transferred a graphite pencil drawn image to a candle last night and it worked beautifully and looked great – and graphite is non-toxic.

  11. I would like to know if your system also works on a hard surface such as painted metal.
    also do know where I could get an set of three initial overlay for a handle on a metal item. ????

  12. Print it out on tissue paper? Or on tracing paper, which is on the list of supplies? Thanks.

  13. Hi there,

    I just found this page and thought it would be great for a work gift exchange. The problem is that my image does not end up on the candle. Not even a little piece transfers.

    I printed my image on tracing paper
    placed it ink side out on the candle and taped it tight ( I only have one hand so I can’t hold and blow)
    placed wax paper on top and taped that tight
    used a hair dryer
    peeled off

    What am I doing wrong? Your candles look amazing!

  14. Wait a second, I am just noticing… Is the paper itself adhering to the candle, or is the ink transferring?

    If it’s the tracing paper attaching itself to the candle, and I am taping it, is that my problem?


    1. Exactly! The paper is actually being attached to the candle by melting the wax off the wax paper onto the candle by heating it up with the blow drier.

  15. Yes love the candle idea everyone loves candles but where do u go or what website has the ideas to print…..ty

  16. Hi I’m in Australia and just discovered this wonderful hobby! I successfully transfer the image to the candle but notice a day later the paper with the image appears to have lifted and when I pull it it comes off like it was never stuck at all!
    Do you think I should heat it longer? But if I heat it longer my round candle loses it’s shape? Any tips or advice would be great!

    1. I used vellum paper, as I have seen in other tutorials. It worked great at first, but as the candle cooled the paper now has ripples in it. Any recommendations? Should I heat longer?

  17. Hiya i was wonder if it was possible for me to be able to draw on tissue paper and then transfer this on to candle, I want to make sure its safe. Also i am from the uk and do not have access to wax paper could i use grease proof paper or baking paper ?
    Thank you 🙂

    1. You can definitely draw your own picture on the tissue paper. You do have to use wax paper for the transfer though, the melting wax on the paper is what attaches the image to the candle.

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    Denisha recently posted…DenishaMy Profile

  19. Does parchment paper work? I heard the wax paper is just to prevent some little bubbles and stuff…

    1. The wax from the wax paper is actually what adheres your image to the candle, so you could use parchment for the design, but you still need wax paper over top.

  20. Hi, I love the look of these candles and am looking for ideas of things I could start to make and sell. Please can you tell me if you need a particular kind of printer for printing onto tissue paper? Thanks.

  21. Can you do this without the tissue or tracing paper? Was wondering if you can print the image onto wax paper instead of the tissue/tracing paper, so the image gets transferred to the candle without the tissue/tracing paper. Would like to light/burn the candles, but worried about the tissue paper. Would the image transfer onto the candle?

  22. Hi i actually liked your diy candle and i do have a slight problem, im a little confused about the supplies needed it says there tracing paper while on the tutorial you used tissue paper… i tried to research but they all use tissue paper..im a little confuse..is this the normal tissue paper we use at home? same with those rolled tissue paper? Or can i also use tracing paper? Please guide and enlighten me im wanting yo use this idea for my son’s christening souvenir and give aways thanks in advance! Please do reply please pleas e and email me! If in case i lost track of yhis wonderful page

    1. You can use either tracing paper (which is what I had on hand) or tissue paper. You can use the tissue paper you get in gift bags, the kind that comes in sheets or rolls. It doesn’t matter as long as you cut it to fit into your printer. Good luck!

  23. I managed to do this using a photo copied to ordinary printing paper. When I tried the tissue paper, even though I stuck it at ends, it jammed in my Ppprinter?

    Great thread and enjoy the comments as well. Great safety idea the fake tealight!!!

  24. Instead of buying designs or having trouble with printing them out you can stamp on tissue paper and do your designs that way. Of course this limits your colors but you can do lots with black , red, etc.

  25. Hi,

    I just wanted to ask a question. I got the image onto the candle and with a bit of perfection it will look better but each time my candle melts. I’m using a small hair dryer. Is there I can do to stop the melting of the candle around the edges of the print?


  26. Hi Ashley,

    I have a minor problem when transferring images on my candle. Although the tissue paper melts on the candle well, its surface doesn’t look smooth to me due to the heat. Are there any better ways to keep the surface of the candle perfectly smooth?

    Thank you so much

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