It may have taken a few tries to nail the tutorial for this rainbow candle holder (plus my favorite mixing bowl is now a crafting bowl… scroll on for deets!) but it’s definitely worth it! Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
Part of my job and mission as a craft blogger is to rule out all the “fails” before bringing you the tutorial. I know, Pinterest fails happen all the time, but mostly it’s because people are inspired by a photo and don’t bother to click through and read the instructions. So first of all, congrats to you on avoiding a fail by reading the instructions!!
My goal was to create a nail polish dipped rainbow candle (well, in a glass holder, of course) BUT I wasn’t sure how many layers of nail polish I’d be able to pile up. Even opaque colors are really sheer, and they show through.
So first I tried doing a marbleized rainbow candle holder, with all the colors at once, based on nail polish tutorials that have been circulating for years. I actually made faux marble beads using this technique years ago, but apparently, using too many colors just doesn’t work.
Next, I scrubbed my candle clean using half a bottle of nail polish remover (you did not want to visit my windowless house at that point…) I decided to split the rainbow in two, going back to plan A of doing one color at a time. So I grabbed a plain glass vase to decorate as well.
The result is beautiful, okay, but not really very rainbow-riffic.
So I took lots of photos of it as-is just in case and went on to add more colors.
Moral of the story: always start with plan A!
Because in the end, my original vision worked out. Okay, it’s not exactly how I pictured it. It’s much more beautiful. I had intended to get a very clean dipped look, but the final lacy finish with overlapping colors can really only be attained this way. That’s what makes this rainbow candle so truly unique.
Granted, I still love the original candle holder and vase, and will definitely be using this technique of dipping in nail polish in separate batches a lot. Especially now that I turned my favorite mixing bowl into a sorry mess of a craft bowl…
Watch the video tutorial below or scroll down for full instructions!
What you need to make a rainbow candle:
- Nail polish in rainbow colors (I got this set and added in my own purple, green, and pink)
- A bowl
- A candle in a glass holder – or you can do this to plain glass candle holders, vases, even drinking glasses! It will eventually start wearing off after a number of washes, so if you make drinking glasses you may want to give it a coat of dishwasher safe Mod Podge. I still wouldn’t put it into the dishwasher but that should make it more durable.
- A paper towel or two, plus a baby wipe (or wet paper towel) to lay it down on between layers.
How to make a rainbow candle:
Note: the tutorial below has been photographed with the vase version. The same technique has been applied to the candle, with tips shared accordingly. If you would like to see the candle process, please watch the video above.
1. Fill a bowl about halfway with tap water. Do not use warm water (another mistake I made along the way!)
2. Start with your first color. Drizzle some nail polish in the bowl of water, aiming for even coverage. The photo below shows how the vase turned out without even coverage – that gives it a more marble look when layered. Dip your candle holder, gently pulling up the nail polish on the parts you want it to cover.
On the candle holder, I did my layers in the following order: Blue, green, purple, pink, orange, yellow. Try it in another order if you’d like, but keep in mind how transparent each color is.
3. Allow the first layer to dry about ten minutes and gently dab off any water dots with a dry paper towel.
4. Drizzle on your second color. When you do a more even layer, you get more precise coverage.
5. Dip your candle holder as you did previously, keeping in mind how you want the colors to interact. Try tilting it so that the second color is higher than the first on one side but much lower on the other for a fun geometric pattern.
6. Dry, dab, and repeat with all of your colors.
Note: if you do get thicker pools as you’re dipping, gently smooth it with your finger so that it should be more flat. Doing a thinner, more even drizzle will help you avoid this.
I definitely recommend drying it between layers on a wet paper towel or baby wipe.
7. As you add each color, use your judgement to see the direction of the dip. Some of the later colors I dipped twice (in the same batch – no dry time) to get it on thicker.
When you are done all your colors, flip it upside down and let it dry completely for a few hours.
Enjoy your beautiful rainbow candle holder – or give it as a gift!
And now go on and try this technique on everything you own… just kidding (but yes, it’s that fun…)!
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