Shotgun Shell Candles




About: I love to sew, as I'm sure you can see from my ibles ;) I also love lawn flamingos, going to the beach, dinosaurs, and doing random stuff.

Shotgun shells. They're EVERYWHERE in the logging roads around here, and I think they're pretty cool. I've wanted to do this for a long time, but never found suitable shotgun shells until now,  because usually the metal part is all rusty.

Step 1: Supplies

You'll need:
 * Used shotgun shells (That's kind of a  given) Make sure that the plastic is intact and the metal isn't completely rusty, because if it is, then it could break.
 * Candle wax. You can use the big blocks of it, or tea lights, or old candles. Whatever you want.
 * Double boiler. I use one that is originally meant for melting chocolate, but I find it more useful for this. You can make one by putting a tin can in water in a pot, or you can buy one.
 * Some kind of colorant. You can use another candle, or crayons, or that coloring stuff that's meant for candles.
 * Candle wick
 * X-acto knife
 * A stirring utensil

Make sure you put something down for when you are pouring the wax, otherwise it could get everywhere.

Step 2: I'm Melting!

Chop up your candle wax  and put it in the double boiler  (not the part of it that the water goes in) along with whatever you are using to color it. I used an old candle  that I made probably over a year ago since I couldn't find any red crayons. Put it on the stove on a medium-ish to low heat. Whatever you do, just don't make it too hot.

Once the wax starts to melt, stir it a bit.

Step 3: Preparing the Shells

Your shotgun shells may be dirty. A couple of mine were. You're going to want to make sure they don't have any dirt or anything in them, because that would look bad on the outside of a candle.

Depending on how long the wick you have is, you can either put it in now or wait until after you pour the wax. I'm waiting until after.

Step 4: Once the Wax Is Melted...

It's time to pour it into the shells! Put them on something like tin foil or newspaper,  because you are bound to spill at least some wax.

So pour the wax into the shell, up to the very top. You can put your candle wick in now if you haven't already, or you could even wait a little bit longer until it's had some time to set up.

Step 5: Removing the Plastic

Once it is completely cooled you can remove the plastic. Removing the plastic is quite simple. Make a cut down the side of the shell, and then around the base of the plastic. Try not to cut into the candle, though it may be difficult not to. Once you've done that you can peel the plastic off. If you want to, you can just leave it as is, but the wax won't be very shiny or anything. Probably partially because of the crayons, and partially because of whatever dirt may have still been in the shell. If you don't like how it is, just dip it in some more wax.

You can see where I accidentally cut into the wax on the first picture :P

Step 6: And You're Done!

Enjoy your new candle :D

I really recommend that you put something under it to catch the wax if/when you burn it, because there's really nothing to keep it from making a mess.

Hmmm... Redneck wedding decorations anyone?

Also, just a couple of tips:

If you use crayons to color it, use Crayola ones, because Roseart ones are kind of weird.

You should put the wick in THEN pour the wax if possible, to avoid any air pockets that may be created when inserting the wick, which is what happened to me :P

  After you remove the plastic casing of the shell, there will be plastic at the bottom still. You may want to dip the candle in wax again to cover it up a bit. Don't let that plastic burn, by the way, because these candles burn down pretty fast.



    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Frozen Treats Challenge

      Frozen Treats Challenge
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

    36 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I just made these, put them on a clay skeet and lit them with a shotgun-shaped loghter


    3 years ago

    Great instructable tip don't use 20 ga shells


    7 years ago on Step 6

    If you put a candle in the freezer for about 1 hour PRIOR TO burning it, the candle will drip less & last longer.

    I know that may be impossible with larger candles, but with this size of candle, it should not be a problem.

    Maybe a "plate" that looks like a shotgun shell box to hold the candle(s) AND keep the wax from making a mess on your table or whatever...

    Candle wicks are usually fairly cheap at a craft store, where you can also purchase coloring for candles as well as Crayola Crayons....

    Might I suggest having a wick that runs the length of the candle? That way you never have any candle left over without a wick(unless you want candle left overs). not trying to tell you what to do, just offering ideas.

    IF, if you buy the wax instead of recycling old candles, there is an additive that you can add to the wax to make them drip less...then there is also a special bulk wax that you can buy that will drip less...
    do not ask me how it works, I have no idea HOW it works, I just know that it does.

    I like this Ible...4 stars. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    If you spill the wax, DO NOT try to clean up hot wax....if you can, freeze it. It will clean up 1000 x better...usually it will pop right out/off....unless it is cloth, then you are SOL(S*** out of luck).


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i would be careful in making these because in some states it is illegal to have even used shell casings in your possession without an FID

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Ive never read anywhere about USED shell casings. Those are just bits of metal and plastic, no potential at all. Only one state that I know of requires a FOID card for purchasing of ammo, and thats Illinois.
    Any other states you can walk in, and walk out with ammo.
    Whats an FID? Been shooting for a while and never heard of that o.O

    You might want to cut off the "frilly" ? part on top, since thats where it was folded over on the top of the shell, unfolded they are approx 1cm longer than folded (and loaded :P)

    I just wanted to clear that up and make that suggestion, and now I have a reason to collect some shell casings at the range next time I go :D


    inlaws: "my, what funny candles you have there."
    you: "yup"
    *10 minutes later*
    *inlaws run*

    you: *well that's a problem over with. lets go grab dessert"

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    LOL!! This is so funny. When I make these candles, and you know I will!, with your permission I'd like to print this off and wrap it around them before I wrap them in the box they came in! WHAT A HOOT! My best friend and her husband will very much appreciate the suggestion--- I mean humor... they both dislike his mother... for good reason..... :-)


    8 years ago on Step 5

    lol, awww thats so cute. how big waz the wabbit you killed with it, if it was a rabbit


    8 years ago on Introduction

    instead of a double boiler, you can usually find a cheap rice cooker at a thrift store. it'll heat up quickly, evenly and keep the wax melted. much less headache. just don't try to use it for rice again...

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah :D If I were a dad, I'd like to get this for fathers day. However, I am not a dad.