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quick easy lighting idea
This balloon wax luminary is simple and creates a beautiful centrepiece, as well as being a candle (LED) holder. For the original tutorial check out: http://www.candletech.com/techniques-and-ideas/water-balloon-luminaries/

Posted by Mel W from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia • Published See Mel W's 33 projects »
  • How to make a votive / candle holder. Wax Balloon Luminaries - Step 1
    Step 1

    The easiest way to break up your wax, whether it be a block of wax or a candle is to get a chisel and hammer and go to town on it. A flathead screwdriver will do in a pinch, but don't use a knife - it will render it useless afterwards and it takes way to long.

    If you don't know where to find beeswax or blocks of it, buy some candles in some pretty colours and smash them. I bought some red candles with rose scent - it's kind of awesome actually, they still smell nice.

  • How to make a votive / candle holder. Wax Balloon Luminaries - Step 2
    Step 2

    TIPS for melting the wax

    #1 Don't melt wax in a pot you plan on using later on
    #2 Attempt to find a tall, cylindrical container which will fit your inflated balloons without scraping the edges

    * I spent $3 on the glass bowl you see - which was a handy investment even though it was useless in the actual balloon dipping process.
    * As the bowl got taller it also got rounder = less height on the balloons despite more wax
    * I used my glass bowl over boiling water as a double boiler to melt my wax before transferring it to a coffee/milk can.

  • How to make a votive / candle holder. Wax Balloon Luminaries - Step 3
    Step 3

    Yes, I did heat this can on the stove directly.
    - No I am not crazy. I was so scared it'd explode but I saw someone else do it with a coffee can on a portable gas stove in the blogsphere so assumed it was safe enough to give a go, (yes i'd probably follow someone jumping off a cliff too) but I was getting pretty desperate.

    - I CONSTANTLY checked the base of the can to ensure it wasn't turning black or anything
    - I had it on a low heat for short amounts of time (as the wax was already melted to liquid in the double boiler)
    - I only used the flame on the can to warm up the wax so it wouldn't solidify.
    - You just need liquefied wax to dip in, not bubbling boiling stuff.

  • How to make a votive / candle holder. Wax Balloon Luminaries - Step 4
    Step 4

    Whilst your wax is melting (it will take a while - hence melting it in a bowl first as it's able to take the prolonged heat), fill your balloons with tepid water, basically you shouldn't be able to tell if your finger is in the water or not - meaning it is the same as your body temp.

    Hold on to the rim of the balloon as you fill it from the faucet or it will bounce off and a water balloon will squirt its contents into your face. (Don't worry tap is off in this pic - but this tip was definitely learned the hard way)

  • How to make a votive / candle holder. Wax Balloon Luminaries - Step 5
    Step 5

    Balloon shape matters. It's the mould - I skimped on this so my luminaries are all sizes but I don't mind.

  • Step 6

    Pour the melted wax from your bowl into your coffee can. Or if you are lucky enough to have a double boiler that won't be used for food later - use it.

    # When you dip you balloon in the warm wax DO NOT go above the water line. Therefore, fill the balloon as much as you want and squeeze out as much air as you can before tying a knot.

    # Dip you balloon in the wax fast, otherwise you see a drip line. Hold it for a few (2ish) seconds, pull out of wax fast and let the excess wax drip down. Dip again and repeat until smooth and desired thickness (~10ish times).

    # Spread some baking paper onto you table tops and place balloon after last dip quickly onto it to flatten the base. Be careful when you push down that you don't split the top of the luminary as when you flatten the base of the balloon you are essentially making it fatter = prone to bursting. Once it's on the paper and flatten a bit, you can use both hands to cup the balloon as you flatten it further onto the paper.

    # If you screw it up - start breaking the wax off the balloon whilst it's warm otherwise if you wait until it's cold it will take you ages to get all the little pieces of wax off a static balloon.

  • Step 7

    # Grab a baking tray and a few layers of baking paper. Place it on top of the pot of boiling water you've been using as a double boiler to flatten and smooth the top edge of luminaries. Basically invert the thing and twist it in your fingers till nice and smooth.

    # Chances are you'll have a bunch of left over wax in your container - best to pour it into a ceramic bowl you never want to eat out of again and poke some holes in in whilst its still soft, so you can break it apart easier once it has set.

  • How to make a votive / candle holder. Wax Balloon Luminaries - Step 8
    Step 8

    Tad-dah you are done. So these are made from candle wax so don't put a real candle inside!!! An LED candle or a LED throwie would work nicely. I personally prefer the throwie have a look at my blog for a comparasion of what they look like inside these luminaries

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Jax L.
Jax L.
I put my melted chocolate for dipping pretzels in jars in a water bath in my crockpot so it stays melted while I dip. I'm sure this would work with the cans of wax as well as long as the water is super hot before you start.
Becsta! · Clarkefield, Victoria, AU · 3 projects
Costco is awsum LOL I would Love a walmart though... xD
Your Gracious
Your Gracious · Melbourne, Victoria, AU · 7 projects
This is so cool!, i'm going to try find a heap of wax to do this!
Mel W
Mel W · Melbourne, Victoria, AU · 34 projects
@RiaCreations - aahahhh walmart the elusive american megastore lols I wish I could go there but Australia sadly does not yet have one, we do have costco though. Do you mean fireless candle burners as in there is still melty wax involved because then the heat would be bad for these luminaries, but if you mean LED tealight candle thingos, they work nicely too.

@Angel C - they make awesome lighting at parties and events and in garderns, basically anywhere! =D
Angel C.
Angel C.
This is so CooL! Verra LoveLy for an outdoor party...
RiaCreations · Chantilly, Virginia, US · 8 projects
you can buy fire-less candle burners at walmart, as well as pretty big candles. it may be a tad safer