This project is way easier than it looks. This is a tutorial on how to make an entirely hand sculpted dragon candle from a 12" tapered candle. The materials are extremely cost effective and easy to get. I think the total cost in materials comes out to under $5. SO, LET'S GET STARTED!
WARNING: This project does involve fire (duh) so don't let little kids do it.
Step 1: Materials
Here's what you need:
- One 12" tapered candle (body)
- One 6" tapered candle (legs) + any other colors you want to add
- Aluminum foil
- X- acto knife
- Sculpting tools (toothpicks, bobby pins, etc.)
- Paint (optional)
- Hot water
If you want to be SUPER creative you could make your own tapered candles out of old wax that you might have.
Step 2: Shaping the Tail
The technique is simple. Warm up the wax so that it is malleable enough to shape. There are two ways to do this:
1. Pour boiling water into a big bowl and let the candle sit in the bowl for about 5 minutes.
2. Run hot water directly on the spot that you want to shape.
I prefer option two because the water will stay the same temperature and I don't have to touch the hot water. So to shape it, just run the smaller tip under the water until it changes to a lighter color. Then PRESS your thumb on the tip to flatten it. Cool in cold water and repeat again. This time add more shape to the base and tip of the tail.
BEST TIP EVER: DO NOT SLIDE/GLIDE TO SHAPE THE WAX ONLY PRESS AND SQUEEZE
Once it looks how you want, run it under cold water again.
Step 3: Shape the Rest
Heat/soak the candle in the same way as before and bend it into the shape that you want. Make sure the wick (tail) is straight up in the air and that it can stand on its own.
Remember: PRESS & PATIENCE
If you work too fast your candle will break, so be careful :).
Step 4: Basic Face Shape
Warm up just the head with hot water and take your knife and make a cut for the mouth about an inch deep. Open the mouth very gently with your finger. Now you can add some features and make it unique! I decided to go for a traditional Eastern dragon look.
Next gouge out holes for the eyes (They should be the size of the beads you will use for the eyes later). Once it looks the way you want, dunk it in cool water again.
Step 5: Putting in the Eyes
Not as difficult as it looks. Just take any old candle and light it to collect some wax. Make a makeshift little aluminum foil funnel and pour a drop into the eye socket and quickly stick on the bead for the eye.
Step 6: Tongue
To make the tongue take some aluminum foil and make a small rectangular boat. Light a red candle and have the drippings go into our very make-shift mold. Wait about 5 minutes then run it under cold water and pop it out. Carve out the shape of a tough and let it sit in the hot water for a bit. Once warm curve it into a more natural shape. Cool it again and place it into the mouth the same way we did the eyes. Already looking like something!
Step 7: Eyelids
This is done in the same way as the eyes and tongue. I added a bit more drops to make it more pronounced. I also added a dot to the nose for color. If you get some wax on the dragon just pick it off with the x-acto knife.
Step 8: Horns
Take another old candle and run it under hot water. Carve out two large slices for the horns. Let these pieces sit in the hot water for a bit. Once malleable, twist them and attach them onto the head like we did before.
Step 9: Whiskers :3
So, you can either buy wicks or make them yourself. I didn't want to go to the store again, so I made them. All you need to make a wick is cotton thread, and old candle, and a microwave safe bowl. Remove all metal from the candle and put it in the microwave for one minute. Then gently run the cotton through the melted wax and let it air-dry.
Next, make a hole in his face for the whiskers by heating up his muzzle in the water and very gently push a toothpick all the way through it. Use your lighter to melt both the tip of the wick and the hole before putting the wick in as far as it can go.
Step 10: Arms
For the arms I used a 6" candle and cut it into two chunks about 2cm long. Let them sit in the hot water bath for a good 5 min and shape them like we did for the tail. Make 4 cuts in the hand to make the fingers and put it back in the water. Then pinch the fingers to look more like claws. I made one hand stretched and the other flexed to hold the pearl. Dunk in cold water and attach a ball in the grasping hand with a couple drops of wax.
To attach them to the body you can use wax drops, toothpicks, wick, or wire to attach them. Whichever works best for your purposes. (they can be a little stubborn)
Step 11: YOU'RE DONE!
Wohoo! Now you can really impress people when they ask "where did you get that?" and you can say that you made yourself. They will be amazed! The dragon should be able to melt just as a normal candle would, once the body is used up you can cut of the head and light the whiskers :) It would also be really cool to make a snake or a dragon with wings or something. If any of you decide to make it I would absolutely love to see your pictures!