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How to Paint Candles with Ombre for a Simple Scandi Centerpiece

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Elevate your candle game by using our step-by-step tutorial for painting ombre candles and creating a beautiful Scandi centerpiece.

Hello friend.  I hope this holiday season is treating you right!  Casa Watkins Living and I are having so much fun sharing globally-influenced DIYs, decorating ideas, and more for A Very Global Christmas

Today is day 9 and we have created simple Scandi Christmas centerpieces for you to try!  If you’ve missed any posts, you can find all the holiday global projects on A Very Global Christmas page.

Learn how to paint candles!

Try ombre/two-toned painted candles for a simple scandi christmas table centerpiece like this trio of pink, yellow, and green with faux garland and a global table runner.
How to Paint Candles

Every art enthusiast knows the allure of a blank canvas. But what if that canvas was a candle or a candlestick? Making everyday items beautiful is not just fun but also a fantastic way to spice up your home.

Whether you’re looking to brighten up a simple white candle or breathe new life into a vintage candlestick, learning how to paint candles with acrylic paints offers the versatility and vibrancy to do just that.

Acrylic paint for candles is awesome because it’s super versatile—it sticks well to lots of different surfaces and it comes in a bunch of cool colors, letting you get really creative!

However, if you want to know how to paint candlesticks, it’s important to note that the approach can differ slightly, depending on whether your candlestick is made of metal, wood, or ceramic.

So, dive into this guide and learn how to turn regular items into eye-catching pieces using my pro tips and tricks. 

How to paint candles to look like ombre with acrylic paint showing paint tubes and finished ombre taper candles in black candle sticks.
DIY Colorful Painted Taper Candles

How To Paint Candles – DIY Two-Toned Painted Taper Candles

I love the idea of Hygge (the Danish lifestyle of cozy living) and simple Nordic and Scandinavian holiday decor but I also love color! 

So for this Scandi Christmas centerpiece, I added subtle, colorful details with a warm patterned table runner and a quick 5-minute candle DIY in lieu of purchasing new colorful taper candles.

What you need for painting white taper candles showing paints, brush, candles, and candle stick holders on a wood table.
Materials for DIY Painted Candles

Here’s what you need for hand-painted candles:

  • 3 Taper candles (preferably in light or neutral colors)
  • Non-toxic, water-based acrylic paint in 3 pairings of colors. (You can easily find these at local craft stores.)
  • Fine and Smooth paintbrush
  • scrap paper, paper plate, or paint palette to mix paints
  • Paper towels and water
  • Candleholders to let the painted candles dry

What is ombre? 

Ombre, from the French word meaning “shading,” is the blending of one color hue to another, usually using shades and tints. The ombre effect creates a gradual and seamless transition between colors, which can range from subtle to vibrant. 

This technique can be applied in various art forms and designs, including textiles, hair coloring, nail art, and interior décor, creating a visually pleasing and harmonious look.

So, now you might be thinking: can you paint wax candles? 

Absolutely! You can do so by: 

Choosing the Right Acrylic Paint for Candles:

When painting candles with acrylic paint, you should pick the paints that stick well to the wax. Every acrylic paint is different! Some are great for porous surfaces like wood, and others work best on wax.

Skip the oil-based paints— they just don’t stick well to the wax, and they can be unsafe when the candle is burning.

Now, Here’s a simplistic way to achieve ombre effect on candles: 

Showing mixing paint for DIY painted candles with acrylic tubes of pink and purple paint on wax paper with a paint brush.
Make Color Variations

How to Hand Paint Candles with Acrylic Paint? Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Masterpiece:

Start by setting up your space: Place your paint tray or plate on your workspace. Squeeze out the colors you want to use.

Make sure you have a bowl of water and paper towels nearby for cleaning your brushes.

Before you start, ensure your candles are clean. A clean surface is a happy surface! Ensure your item is dust-free and, if required, primed for the best painting results.

Wipe them down with some water or rubbing alcohol using paper towels. Make sure they’re completely dry before you start painting.

How To Mix Paints For An Ombre Look On Your Candle:

  • Create three color pairings.  Mine were peachy pink and bubble gum pink, lemon yellow with ochre, yellow-green and ochre.
  • Use the first color on the top of the candle, painting a thin coat on with a paintbrush.
  • Mix a little of the first color with the second color for a variation on the bottom half but still in the same color family.
  • Paint the mixed color on the bottom half of the candle and overlap some in the middle for a smooth transition and ombre effect.  
  • After you’re done painting, place the candles in the candleholders. The paint will dry fast and a little goes a long way!
The first coat of orange paint on top half of a white taper candle in a black candle holder.
First Coat of Paint on Top Half of Taper Candle

Pro Tips:

If you are worried about releasing toxins while burning the candles, look for craft paints that are non-toxic and formaldehyde-free. Most water-based craft paints are non-toxic!

To keep the candles securely in place, a dab of candle adhesive at the base does the trick.

If you’re gifting or storing these candles, be gentle with them, as the paint can chip. Wrapping them in tissue paper helps protect the design. 

A trio of taper candles painted with pink, orange, and green ombre technique in black candle holders.
Hand Painted Candles

A few words of caution!

While these painted candles are a sight to behold, remember safety first. Ensure that the paint is nowhere near the wick to prevent any unwanted fumes when burning.

Renovate Your Candlesticks

Several years back, there was a phase when deep, earthy tones were all the rage. Think deep reds, olive greens, and rich browns. While they had their moment in the sun, my heart always leaned towards lighter and more neutral palettes. 

Call it the joy of minimalism or just my liking for cheerful, lighter atmospheres. So, when I recently rediscovered some candlesticks tucked away in the attic, I knew it was time to give them a modern twist.

How To Paint Candlesticks With Chalk Paint: A Step-By-Step Tutorial

Chalk paint is a fantastic solution for upcycling those old candlesticks that don’t quite fit in with your current home aesthetics. With its smooth matte finish and the ability to beautifully age items, it’s no wonder chalk paint is a top choice for beginners and experts alike.

Prepping Your Candlesticks

While chalk paint doesn’t need much prep, it does require a clean, dry surface. So, make sure to wipe down your candlesticks, removing any grime or dust. If necessary, use a mild cleaning solution, ensuring it’s completely rinsed off and dried.

Painting Process

  • Prepare the Paint: Follow the chalk paint manufacturer’s guidelines. Depending on the brand, you might need to add a bit of water to get the right consistency.
  • Apply the Paint: Use a small brush to apply the first coat. Depending on the thickness, you might want to apply a second coat. Remember, thinner coats allow more control over the finish.
  • Mind the Drips: Check the undersides of the candlestick to ensure no paint is dripping. Smooth out any drips quickly to avoid them drying.
  • Allow Drying Time: Give the paint ample time to dry before adding another coat. Typically, a four-hour gap between coats should suffice.
  • Distress the Edges (Optional): For a more rustic look, you can sand away the top layers of the chalk paint. This can give your candlesticks an aged appearance.
  • Apply a Finishing Wax: This step seals the chalk paint, preventing it from rubbing off. Depending on your preference, choose a clear or dark brown wax for different effects.
Set a Scande Christmas table with a white tablecloth, tribal colorful runner, and a trio of hand painted colorful taper candles in black candle holders with minimal garland.
Painted Candle Centerpiece

Create a Scandi Christmas Centerpiece

Here’s how to set your table with a DIY Scandi Christmas centerpiece. It’s so simple and beautiful!

  • Layer a colorful table runner over a white tablecloth.
  • Use faux or real leaf garland (I used faux in a silver-toned) and set three taper candle holders with your DIY candles in the middle. 

And that’s it! Enjoy your painted taper candles at Christmas or any time of the year.

You might have seen these in our eclectic winter dining room tour yesterday! 


  1. What kind of candlesticks work best for achieving a Scandi centerpiece look?

Opt for candlesticks with smooth surfaces and minimalist designs to maintain the simplicity and elegance typical of Scandi decor.

  1. Can I use acrylic paint for the candlesticks instead of chalk paint?

Yes, acrylic paint can be used on candlesticks, but chalk paint provides a unique matte finish and requires less preparation, making it an ideal choice for those new to the DIY world.

  1. Can damaged or chipped candlesticks be used for this project?

Yes, but it’s recommended to sand them smooth before painting to achieve the best finish and adherence of the paint.

  1. Can chalk paint be used on the candles as well?

Chalk paint is best suited for candlesticks only; however, if you’re wondering how to paint candles, acrylics adhere better to the wax surfaces of candles. Also, there is no need to seal acrylic paint on candles as it adheres well to the wax surface.

  1. Is it OK to spray paint candles?

Spray painting candles is not recommended due to the significant risk of fire hazards and the release of harmful fumes. Metallic spray paints, in particular, contain metal flakes that can spark and float when exposed to flame, posing additional dangers. For those exploring options on how to hand paint candles, it is safer to use non-toxic, water-based paints and avoid painting near the wick.

DIY ombre taper candles up close.
Pretty DIY Ombre Candles

So, Can You Paint Candles? Bottom Line!

Reviving old decor isn’t just about the aesthetics. It’s also about the joy of creating and the satisfaction of sustainable living. Who knew that a simple paint job on old candles and candlesticks could inspire such a delightful change in your living space? 

And with this quick 5-minute DIY and supplies you probably already have, you can learn how to paint candles using the ombre effect for a Scandi Christmas centerpiece in no time!  

What do you think? Will you give painting candles with acrylic paint a try?

diy two toned candles

How to Paint Candles

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: easy

Did you know you can paint white candles in any colors you want to match your decorating style? Follow this easy step-by-step tutorial for how to paint candles to look like ombre with acrylic paint.


  • White taper or pillar candles
  • Acrylic or non toxic water base craft paint


  • Paintbrush
  • Paper plate or paint palette


  1. Add a little paint to your paint palette and create a secondary color by tinting or shading the first color.
  2. Paint a thin layer at the top of the candle with the first color. It will dry quickly!
  3. Either hold the dried end or place the candle in a holder.
  4. Add the second color to the bottom half in a thin coat letting it overlap the first color in the middle.
  5. Let dry and use!

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Don’t forget to snap some photos of your beautiful creations and share them. If you’re on social media, tag them with #DIYHandPaintCandles

And trust me, once you start exploring how to paint wax candles, you’ll be looking at every old item as a potential masterpiece.

And that’s it! Enjoy your painted taper candles at Christmas or any time of the year.

A corner shot of a dining room in a Japanese house with eclectic global decorating and painted taper candles.
Our Scandi Christmas Dining Room
A view into a global eclectic dining room in a traditional tatami room with wallpaper, eterege, bar cart, dining table with mixed chairs and a DIY scandi Christmas table centerpiece with hand painted ombre taper candles.
View into Dining Room

For another Scandi inspired table centerpiece, check out Casa Watkins Living’s Simple Scandinavian Christmas Centerpieces Two Ways.

Simple Scandinavian Winter Centerpiece Ideas

Thanks so much for stopping today!  We have 9 days down and 3 more to go.  Wahoo! Head over to the winter holidays, DIYs, and decor page for more articles and resources!

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