Floating Candles

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About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.

Float some candles in the air for a spooky and magical feel.

Be careful and safe with this one, OK? These should not be left unattended.

Step 1: Find Your Candle's Center of Gravity

The key here is to find the center of gravity of your candle so that you know where you can hang it from. Here I'm holding the candle between two fingers to see if it settles correctly You can also try balancing it on a finger. Now make a mark just slightly above this point.

I'm doing this test on a new candle, but I'd recommend letting the candle burn until the flame "settles" inside the candle before doing this. The candle will be burning a little slower here and give you a bit more burn time in the end.

Step 2: Drill It!

Using your smallest bit, drill through the candle at this point. Make sure you're going straight across it.

Step 3: Thread the Wire Through

I'm using a guitar string here. It's thin and strong. It's also very shiny as you'll see later. You can either try finding a strong thread to do this as well or try painting the wire so that it has a matte finish for a better effect.

Step 4: Hang It and Light It!

Attach the wires to the ceiling somehow and make sure the candles are completely done moving before you light them up.

Here you can see the reflection off of the wires. Even with this so visible the effect is quite nice.

Keep an eye on the candles and be sure to blow them out before the flame gets too close to the wires and they pull through the soft wax. That's a mess that nobody wants to clean up.

Oh, and again, be careful if you try this. In fact, I recommend that you don't. However, if you're feeling brave and stupid, then go for it.

Step 5: The Hanging Candle Holder!

Oh, but wait, there's more!

I also tried this variation with a heavy candle holder. Without the wax keeping the wires on opposite sides you'll need three wires for this one.

Using the same types of wire, loop them around the top of the candle holder and connect to three points on the ceiling.



Thanks to randofo for the help with the messy trial and error.

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    60 Discussions

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    Andrewtkinsman

    Question 8 weeks ago

    I know this is an older post but was hoping I might get some suggestions from others. I'm trying to drill through 5" tall candles with a 3/4" diameter. I'm trying to drill from top through bottom as I'm going to wire flickering LED's in 6 of these and need the wire coming out near the bottom. I tried last night slowly drilling on my drill press while it was in a vice, but as after about an inch or two down the whole thing cracks and slips. I then tried just doing this even slower just holding it and moving it into the spinning bit, what I've been realizing is the amount of drag created as it goes further down becomes enough to cause this to split. I then thought about using a hot nail, so I used my MAP gas torch to heat a 4" nail until the end was glowing, then tried pressing it through the bottom but even that gave me problems as it seems like it was cooling way too fast and had to keep reheating the nail and doing it. I've been trying to research how to hollow out a wax candle as such and haven't found a thing other than only doing a couple inches down on a large diameter candle. I've been tempted to try drilling again but using a larger bit for the first 1/2" then downsizing to a smaller bit for ever 1/2" down I go, this would allow me to potentially hollow it without allowing too much drag to cause this to be an issue. This is my theory, I could definitely be wrong. My other thought would be do use the small drill bit again on my press but heat the middle of the bit so as it goes down it would help melt and take out some of the wax causing the drag. I only have so many of these candles left, I thought this would be a straight forward project but no, that is why I'm seeking your advice. One last option I could do is to take a mold of the candle, melt the wax and pour it into the mold allowing the LED and wiring to be set in place or just insert a long dowel I can pull out after it sets (not sure if this would tear the candle apart or not), or maybe I can do a metal tube/straw so I can do this.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

    3 answers
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    fungus amungusAndrewtkinsman

    Answer 7 weeks ago

    3/4" diameter? That is going to be tough. My first question would be: does it have to be a real candle? If not, there are options for plastic tubes.

    So many of these options are messy. You could also use sheets of beeswax and roll them up in a tube instead.

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    Andrewtkinsmanfungus amungus

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Well no it doesn't need to be real candles but for the size, shape, and look, 14mm red wax candles 5". So I was wrong on my diameter, after measuring again they are 14 mm which is just over 1/2". Since asking this question, I had a coworker recommend drilling it out and clearing the bit. I tried this and was successful in drilling almost to the bottom then a angled hole 1/2" from bottom going up to meet the center bore. This took much time as I was only drilling about 1/4-1/2" at a time, then back the bit out all the way, clean the bit from the wax then go back in. I was doing this on a lower RPM on my drill press so I did all this with it running, I know probably not the wisest cleaning a spinning bit but it worked. Now I have 5 more to go. I'm using 26 AWG wire (red - matches the candle perfectly), I had to keep boring out the hole more and more until I could get the wires and LED just to stick out. Now the challenge is trying to create a fake flame. I'm using yellow 5mm flickering LED's - 1 per candle. This works good but I've realized it is still too dim, so now I'm trying to figure out if I added a white flickering LED under that, if the appearance would look more realistic. Currently for the fake flame I'm using Saran wrap and tissue paper, I first put a light wrap of Saran wrap around the LED, then wrap with 1 layer of tissue paper, then come back for a final wrap using a bigger piece of Saran wrap. This looks alright but I want to try other ideas for this, I was thinking about maybe hot glue, I love the flickering flame in the wind LED candles they have but looking at that it is only visible really well when faced head on and I want this viewible from all angles. I've attached a photo for the candle with LED.

    candle.jpg
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    fungus amungusAndrewtkinsman

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Oh, yes, constantly clearing the bit. I should've mentioned that before. I've done something similar with was and used a brush to keep clearing it off. Hard because it can stick so easily. With a hand drill I was able to quickly speed up when I removed it and let centrifugal force clear it.

    Creating a flame-shape diffuser with hot glue is a good idea. You'll be losing some intensity, but it spreads out the light nicely. Problem is getting the shape right. Might be able to carve it down with an xacto.

    As for LEDs, it could be interesting to try multiple flickering LEDs. Having one flickering LED always looks too artificial for me. It lacks the liveliness of a flame dancing. Having multiple LEDs could likely reduce that feeling.

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    srivastav

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent Tutorial..

    Only pain is HOT wax falling on your hair. so i used electric candles - See "Electric candles preparation (DIY)" for this. Best part is, we can control brightness :D

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    lorrainet

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I had a similar idea years ago based on the Hogwarts floating candles from Harry Potter but I made them out of construction paper and hung them on fishing wire! They look great in black lights - you can't see the wire, the white paper glows and they have become one of my most popular Halloween House decorations. Best part - no FIRE! Great to have around a house full of kids.

    1 reply
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    mavenlorrainet

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Best idea I've seen yet, and with the candle flicker LEDs that are out now...this could be quite fun.

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    tellner

    7 years ago on Step 4

    You could use a black Sharpie to cut down on the reflectivity of the wire

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    greentea

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Just a thought but with a long needle ( I've seen ones up to 9inch.) and a somewhat soft candle wouldn't it be feasible to heat the point push it through the candle from crown to base then up the other side trailing the wire. This way it wont simple pull out and the bit of wire on the bottom could be covered with wax drippings from another candle with relative ease.

    This is a good instuctable but its just a thought I had while reading it. I'm going to play around with doing this now.

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    hanelypgreentea

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I had a similar thought, using a heated wire to melt a hole through the candle instead of drilling.

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    Jezter Long

    9 years ago on Step 4

    Just a Tip, If you do make this and the candle falls and wax gets on your carpet.  Just grab paper lowels fold 4 sheets and put it on the wax, go over the wax with a hot iron.  The wax will get obsorbed by the paper towls, just make sure to change them often, if the carpet starts to get too hot the wax will seep down intead of up!

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    revelae

    9 years ago on Introduction

    idea: you could use a frosted glass oil lamp shaped like a candle and adapt a hanging method. that way you dont have to worry about the "candle" falling on the ground and getting wax everywhere.

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    Goodhart

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Could you possibly use a less glossy, maybe even colored black "thread or string" that would hold them up and be less visible (other then that, this is a great idea)
     
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    zimmemic25

    10 years ago on Introduction

    what do i do if the candle burns to the "center of gravity"? call the firefighters?