Introduction: How to Make Shell Candles

Picture of How to Make Shell Candles

I visited my friend at her little house on the ocean and collected a ton of these shells without really knowing what to do with them  When I got them home, I realized they were the perfect size and shape for some whimsical, romantic candles.
They are great for adding a pretty touch to any room and would make great centerpieces or favors at a wedding.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You will need:
-large shells (you can probably buy them online or at your local craft store if you don't have access to a beach)
-wicks (craft store)
-wax of your choice (I used soy wax shavings since I live in a dorm and they melt in the microwave)
-bowl or cup for wax
-larger bowl for water to create double boiler effect
-spoon for stirring and pouring
-fragrance (soy doesn't hold on to scent very well, but I added some vanilla and lavender to different batches and it still smelled nice)

Step 2: Prepare Shells

Picture of Prepare Shells

My shells were straight from the beach and still had sand in them.  Wash them thoroughly and dry them very well.  If there is water under the wax when you pour it in, the wax might not stay in the shell.

Step 3: Melt Wax

Picture of Melt Wax

This part is mostly trial and error.  For the soy wax shavings, I filled the cup with them and filled the larger bowl with water and microwaved it for 1 minute at a time until the wax had melted into liquid.
Follow the directions for whatever kind of wax you use.  Some may not be able to melt in the microwave.
Once it is mostly melted, I used the spoon to stir until all the checks were dissolved and to cool the wax slightly.

Step 4: Set Wicks

Picture of Set Wicks

Set your wicks in the shells wherever you want them, preferably in the deepest part of the shell for maximum burning time.  Don't trim the wicks yet.

Step 5: Pour the Wax

Picture of Pour the Wax

On a protected work surface, carefully pour the wax into the shells.  It helps if you have the liquid wax in a cup with a spout to better direct the pouring.  I just had it in a mug and it spilled a lot.  This step helps to have a friend hold the shells steady or prop them on something since the bases are not completely flat.

Step 6: Finish and Enjoy!

Picture of Finish and Enjoy!

Once the wax has solidified, trim the wicks to about one quarter of an inch and clean off any wax that might have gotten on the back of the shell.

And you're done!  Light your candles and enjoy the soothing ambiance!


blackweb (author)2013-12-16

Gel would be. Nice too because it's clear and a lot of shells are very colourful on the Inside and would show thru the gel.

momoli (author)2011-09-14

Thank you, this is awesome and i'll be making these on a date with my girlfriend :)

iac (author)2010-09-23

You can also use vegetable oil and make a repro anciant lamp.

Oh yeah, that would be awesome! I have some vegetable oil right now! Maybe I'll try that...

I thought about doing this too. you could use a dremel to drill a hole in the bivalve (the roundy bit at the back where it connects to the other side) for the wick.

Oh please make an instructable about it! That would be awesome!

krysteanuh (author)2010-11-16

This is such a smart idea.
Whenever I go to the beach, I always hoard a bunch of shells, bring them home, and don't have anything to do with them.
I will definitely try this!
Thank you for the 'ible. :3

Awesome! Post pictures if you want. It's super easy and fast and a great excuse to collect shells :)

Nemesis201077 (author)2010-09-24

Nice 'ible I've done something like this myself a long time ago and think it might be nice to do again, especially as wedding favours.
I found lining a shallow tray with sand helped me to keep the shells steady when doing this. That way I didn't need anyone else to hold them whilst the wax set.

Oh that would have been so helpful! I sort of did that with a towel and I also enlisted the help of my room mate, SelkeyMoonbeam, to help me, which is why she is a collaborator on this one. A tray of sand would have been awesome though, and I bet it would look pretty just to keep them there.

tim13211 (author)2010-09-23

Omfg! I did this exact same thing, 2 years ago. And was in the process of making an ible when I saw this!

oh no! sorry! You should still go ahead and make it. You might have a different technique and more insight than me.

MadBricoleur (author)2010-09-23

COOOL an oil lamp out of this would be AWESOME!

tim13211 (author)2010-09-23


SHIFT! (author)2010-09-23

You know, there's a beach immediately outside my campus and I've been collecting all these different tiny sea shells and keeping them in a pot. I think I will definitely have to make them into this this weekend, maybe even add hooks so they can hang up. Nicely done!

If you hang them as candles just make sure the wax doesn't drip on anything important!

Yeah for sure. I have some larger shells, so I might have the smaller ones dripping into a large collection at the bottom.

that would be awesome. I can't wait to see pics!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm just a lady who likes making stuff. I got my degree in engineering but also enjoy cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening and backpacking, among ... More »
More by Danger is my middle name:Restored Vintage Quilt Holder11 Epic Outdoor StructuresBubble Unicorn Speaker
Add instructable to: