Here are the supplies I started out with all laid out on a piece of parchment paper on my fireplace (you know, to keep from burning the house down)
On the far left is one of these color drip candles which I used on the skull bottle. I had to wrap a bunch of packing tape around the bottom of the candle to make it big enough to stay securely in the hole. They are about $2 for a box of 2 at the craft store.
The skull bottle is actually a vodka bottle. They’re still sold everywhere so they’re easy to get a hold of and really nice quality.Before anything else, I removed all of the price tags and stickers from all of my bottles using this. I think this goes without saying, but keep this stuff away from your lit candles. It does an awesome job at removing any residual sticky stuff, though. I bought this at the hardware store.
To the right of the color drip candle you’ll see a box of these small candles. They are the kind of candles people use when they hold candlelit vigils. I know, it seems really strange, but they’re the perfect size for the small bottles that I had. They’re also nice and drippy which is perfect for the aesthetic I was going for. You can pick them up at a craft store for about 10 bucks.
Next those you’ll see a bunch of regular tapered candles. Be sure to use the kind of candles that aren’t dripless because that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it! These candles didn’t fit into the larger bottles that I was using, so I just took a knife and carefully shaved down the ends of the candle and tapered the bottom to fit.
Here are the candles in action. I burned them all close together so they actually burned faster. For the smaller bottles I allowed them to burn down completely and the larger ones I let drip down about 1/2 way. This created a good solid mass of drippy wax as a base. I did have to babysit them a bit as the dripping sometimes wasn’t happening in the places that I wanted and if they are tilted slightly they won’t drip straight down at all.
Once the wax cooled completely, I carefully wrapped up each of the bottles for transport a few days later to the party venue. I just burned the other 1/2 of the red candles once the party started, adding new vigil candles to the smaller bottles.
The skull turned out to be much more of an undertaking than I thought it would. The drip candles didn’t come out at all the way I wanted them to. They were mainly white, with what looked like a pocket of food dye every couple of inches. So I had mainly white wax dripping with the occasional shock of color.
To create the final product, I used simple crayons and fire. I gathered up all of the lighters around the house, first. I laid the skull bottle onto a couple of pieces of parchment paper on the floor. Interchanging lighters to keep from overheating one, I carefully heated up peeled crayons, letting the wax drip onto the skull. It was time consuming and easy to burn fingers if not careful, but I think that the finished product was worth it. In fact, I liked the way it turned out so much that I actually used this image for my business cards!
Here is the final product on the table at the party. I arranged all of the bottles on top of two old beat-up records and lit them as the first guest arrived. Behind the skull candle was a feather bouquet that I arranged in a simple glass vase. (It’s not nearly as close to the flame as it appears in the photo!)
last two images credit Laura Elaine Photography