collection of carved candles

The art of carving candles is an old German craft. The finished pieces above may look like carved sculptures, but they are all actually made entirely of wax. The video below is from an episode of “How It’s Made” and it shows a candle carver from Holland House Candles demonstrating the techniques used in the traditional craft of candle carving.

“It involves layering different colored wax. Then carving designs to expose those luminous colors. It’s hard to beat the radiant beauty of a carved candle.”


According to the video, it can take up to to a year for a carver to learn how to carve the candle quickly as you only have about 15 minutes before the wax hardens to a point where it is too hard to work with. The whole process begins with a six-pointed candle base. Then, the candle carver dips the candle into various waxes that have been colored with specially formulated dyes.

After adding layers and layers of colored wax, it’s almost time to carve out the beautiful designs. Before doing so, the candle carver (as seen in the video below) cuts off the drippings on the bottom and shapes them into a decorative mushroom candle. These candles are more decorative than practical to burn, but it seems like such a waste to just throw them away. Watch the video to see more of her carving process.


I simply love these candles. I first came across them when I wandered into a shop when I was on vacation in Savannah, Georgia. I had never seen anything like it before and couldn’t leave until I watched the carver finish the candle. Though the craft may not be known by all, you can find people selling candles all over the internet and many videos documenting the process. To see more, scroll through the finished candles below and check out more videos at the end of the post.

cathedral twist carved candle

Cathedral twist. Photos from Holland House Candles.

Also, in case you are worried about burning it and then no longer having this beautiful candle, the people at Holland House Candles have a solution for you. They, essentially, advise you have a controlled burn of the candle until a nice deep well has been melted out. Then, you can just put in a flickering light to simulate a candle burning and still enjoy the lighting effect without reducing your candle to nothing.

I certainly would give candle carving a try if I could get ahold of all the supplies necessary, but what about you? Do you think this craft is something you would try to tackle yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments and enjoy this soothing video of candle carving.

wedding carved candle meringue

Wedding candle

tulip carved candle

Tulip candle

Daisy carved candle

Daisy candle

Dutch garden tapers.

Dutch garden tapers

Check out the amazing collection of candles that you can see off to the left at the beginning of this video.

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith

Nicole is an former Editorial Intern at Make: She is a long time maker and previously worked for (Penolopy Bulnick). Every day she is inspired by something new and wishes there was more hours in the day to make!

  • Leif Burrow

    “it can take up to to a year for a carver to learn how to carve the candle quickly as you only have about 15 minutes before the wax hardens to a point where it is too hard to work with.”

    I wonder if a candle could be reheated to just the right temperature to allow further carving. Maybe this could be done with one of our favorite toaster-turned-reflow oven configured with an apropriate heating profile.