Friday, January 22, 2021

Candles & StencilGirl® Stencils by Megan Whisner Quinlan

When I was thinking of a fun way to use stencils for this project, I remembered back to a trick I had learned 20 years ago with stamping and candles. I wondered, “what if I try this with stencils?” It worked easily and I have to say, once I got started…it was hard to stop. This is a very easy project, but the results are beautiful. These candles become not just something practical, but 3 dimensional art objects that can bring some inspiration into your home. These also make a wonderful handmade gift. In fact, I actually used my first batch 20 years ago as wedding favors. Follow along to see how fun and easy these are to create.



Batik stencil by Nathalie Kalbach
Create Face stencil by Pam Carriker
Geometric Sky stencil by Mary C. Nasser
Stone Statue Small stencil by Tina Walker

Archival Ink Pad Jet Black Ranger Ink
Mini Blending Tool Ranger Ink
Dina Wakley Media Collage Tissue White Ranger Ink
Pillar candles in various sizes
Heating Tool

Step 1:

Coordinate which stencils you would like to use with which size candles. There are many options, you can for example use a stencil bigger than your candle and use only a portion of the print on your candle. Once you decide which stencil you want to use, place it down on a piece of white tissue. I highly recommend the Dina Wakley Media tissue for this project, because it is more durable than a piece of regular white tissue. Depending on the size and detail of the stencil, you may also want to secure it with washi tape to ensure that it does not move during the inking process.

Step 2:

Ink your blending tool very well and begin to spread it gently onto your tissue. You’ll notice this is a different process than when using paint. It will take some time to get an even amount of ink onto your tissue. However, playing with the vibrancy can also add to your project and give a more grungy feel.  You can also do this with a colored ink, (or colored candle) but for this project I chose black ink for maximum contrast.

Step 3:

Trim your tissue to fit the width of the candle. Then trim the excess where the two ends will meet. Align your tissue onto the surface of your candle.

Step 4:

A note of caution: In this project your heating tool is heating up the wax of the candle. Be careful not to place the heat of the tool directly onto your fingers etc. it can be very hot. Once you have your paper aligned, turn on your heating tool and hold it a couple of inches from the surface going back and forth in the same spot. You will start to see the wax melt and absorb the tissue. Work near a good light source so you can see the paper’s absorption. Keep moving the tool to the places that are dry. I have discovered that the best results come from beginning in the middle, and working your way out along the sides. It is super satisfying to watch how quickly your design becomes part of the candle. Be sure to lay something under your workspace as the candles will drip wax (I used a glass cutting board, not shown). This process does change the surface texture of your candle, but only in a small way. Any imperfections add to the handmade feel of the candle. Allow candles to cool and you will have a beautiful piece of art!

Hello! My name is Megan Whisner Quinlan. I have been art journaling and book binding for about 20 years. However, I took a 10 year break from paper arts when I had my first 2 children. About 5 years ago, I came back into journaling after some big life changes, including 2 more children. Journaling had always been a part of my life, especially to work things out in life on paper. When I first started out, I really only focused on making books by hand and some basic collage and stamping. I was intimidated by the amazing art journaling artists out there who could create elaborate, mixed media spreads.  When I came back to journaling after such a long break, I decided that I was going to really push myself to learn all the techniques I had been too afraid to try.  Painting and drawing have really allowed me to find so much joy in my creative process, and I now almost exclusively create mixed media every day. I feel excited to have joined the art journaling community and you can find me on Instagram @Megan_Whisner_Quinlan or on YouTube: Megan Whisner Quinlan.



  1. Love this this! I’m definitely going to try it!

  2. Using stencils like this does indeed make beautiful candles. Thanks for a great project, Megan!

  3. As someone who makes her own candles, I am especially excited for a way to bring two passions together! Thank you so much for this!


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