I Tried the Popular $0 Candle Hack That’s All Over the Internet — And You Should, Too

published Mar 2, 2021
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Credit: Sylvie Li

If you’re like me, you like candles any which way: winter-scented candles, hand-poured candles, unscented colorful candles … the list goes on and on. That’s why I took notice when I saw the “bendy” candles taking over TikTok. This trend is all about turning regular old taper candles into twisty, bendy works of art — and I wanted to try my hand at it.

Fortunately, this project didn’t require much. All you need is taper candles — which you may already have at home — plus a water pitcher or baking dish and really, really hot tap water.

I tried beeswax candles as well as paraffin and both worked, but beeswax candles seem to take longer to soften. The paraffin candles I used were leftover from Hanukkah; some worked, and some didn’t. While this DIY can be a bit of a trial-and-error process, you can follow a few basic steps to set yourself up for success if you want to do it, too. Here’s how to get started.

1. Soak the candles.

To be able to bend the candles, you’ll first need to soak them in hot water. My beeswax candles took about 10 minutes to soak before they were ready to manipulate.

To soak, take a pan or pitcher to the sink and get the tap water as hot as you can handle. Fill the pan halfway, with candles inside; then, continue to let a slow steady stream of hot water flow while the candles soak.

2. Test the candles.

Warm your hands under the hot water before grabbing your first candle, then reach in the water and gently start to bend the candle at its thickest part. If it bends easily, the wax is ready; if not, let it soak for a few more minutes.

3. Start to manipulate the candles.

Once the wax is pliable, start to bend each candle into your desired shape. Keep the candle underwater as much as possible while you work to help keep the wax warm.

To intertwine two or more candles, hold them together in your hands, and twist your hands in opposite directions. If the candles are really warm and pliable, you can get a really nice tight twist.

For a snake coil shape, wrap the candle around a wooden spoon or a pen. I found that thin tapers are easier to manipulate, but can be more prone to cracking. Your best bet is to look for extra long tapers to create those really interesting shapes.

If you find your candle cracks while bending it, it could mean it wasn’t quite warm up enough to manipulate. Pop the candle back in the hot water bath and let it warm up, then try to smooth out the cracks with your fingers.

4. Flatten the bottom.

To ensure the candles can stand on their own, press them onto a flat surface while they’re still warm. This will help flatten the bottom of the candle so they’ll sit nice and straight.

All around, this project took about 10 minutes and a little patience, making it an easy DIY to tackle on a lazy weeknight. The best part? There’s no glue or paint that needs to dry, so you can pop your results right on a table or shelf to admire.

If you want to take on this project — and you should! — play around, have fun, and of course, be safe. Never leave a candle burning unattended, and be sure to place your bendy candles on a heat-safe surface if you intend to light them. Of course, it might be tempting to use them just for display — these sculptural candles are like little works of art.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: I Tried the $0 Hack to DIY the Internet’s Favorite Candle — and You Should, Too