Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making PVC Candles

While browsing through the local post this am I came across a Lowe's store advert. Something on the front cover caught my eye. Instantly I thought to myself... I bet I could make that for Halloween for less than half the retail cost... so I quickly reverted to my office to start rummaging through my saved tutorials until I found this one. Quite a gem from JimmyZDC also known as Phantom Hollow over at a Halloween Forum I haunt. It is for making faux candles from PVC. Keep in mind this doesn't cover the making of the actual base and or support to hang it and for those of you with less enthusiasm that I.. you can always just go to Lowe's and buy a finished product!

According to JimmyZDC You will need the following:

Parts List:

~ 1 1/2" PVC Pipe - Full length 8-10 ft pipes
~ Great Stuff Insulation Filler - Link
~ LED Tea Lights - Pic
~ Hot Glue
~ Hot Glue Gun - Pic
~ 1 1/2" Forstner Drill Bit (or whats the size of your tea lights are) - Link - Pic
~ Rustoleum Painters Touch Spray Paint (Heirloom White - Satin) - Link


1. Cut your long PVC pipe to your desired lengths. I used a chop saw (Pic) but if you don't have that then you can use a hacksaw. I went in 2 inch increments (12", 10", 8"...etc.). I also tried to cut them a little taller or shorter than each one of the those increments so each candle looked to be a unique size.

2. Place the pipes upright on a hard surface. Make sure you cover the surface with some type of material since the foam insulation will come in contact with it. I just put down some painter's paper on my garage floor and set the pipe on top of that.

3. Fill the pipes with Great Stuff Insulation Foam. I usually filled mine about 1/2" from the top since it expands.

4. Let the foam dry completely. I filled mine up at night and then worked on them the next day.

5. Cut off the foam so it is even with the pipe. I came back with chop saw to trim it off or I found you can just slice it off with a hacksaw as well.

6. Use you forstner bit to trim down the foam inside the pipe to the desired height you want the tealight to sit. I found that putting the drill in high speed mode rather than high torque works best. Drill slowly so the bit cleanly slices away the foam. If you go to fast the bit just rips out chunks.

7. Once you have the pipes drilled out it's time to apply the hot glue. I found that using a high temp hot glue gun works the best. Since the gun is high temp the glue becomes very runny and creates nice drips. Just work around the pipe and going in multiple layers seems to give a nice effect. Another thing I found out through the whole process is try to make a nice long drip right over the printing on the pipe. When you paint it it will help in covering up the printing.

8. After the glue is dry you are ready for paint. If the printing on the pipe is showing you can try to remove it by sanding it off or using nail polish remover to take it off. Spray the candles in nice smooth strokes making sure you get all the nooks and crannies around the drips. It took me 2-3 coats to get the printing on the pipe to not show through.


NA said...

They really turned out nice.

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

Very nice!


Chris in the Emerald City said...

Cool! I just found my weekend project....