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How to Make Terracotta Pot Candles

Richard Sweeney

Candles in the garden can create a magical feel. Making candles in terra cotta pots and arranging then around the garden can transform the space into an area for an early evening party. Terra cotta flowerpots gain a shot of glamor with a shimmering of gold around their rims. Not only does the candlelight add sparkle to outdoor entertaining, but a generous dash of citronella essential oil in the candle wax deters annoying insect invasion as dusk falls.

Candle pots add an element of rustic glamor.
  1. Prepare to apply gold leaf to the pots. Start by brushing acrylic gold size around the rims of the flower pot and then leave to dry until transparent, but not so dry that it has lost its adhesive property. The length of time this takes will depend on the ambient temperature and humidity, and may be anything between 10 and 30 minutes--some acrylic size has an indefinite 'open' or working time, making it foolproof to use.

  2. Cut the metal leaf into manageable pieces. Place the metal leaf on the prepared area and gently ease into place using a soft bristled brush. Gently brush away excess leaf. Continue until all of the sized area has been gilded.

  3. Apply a coat of amber shellac to the gilded area to form a protective seal. Leave shellac to dry, following the manufacturer’s directions.

  4. Push a small piece of modeling clay into the drainage hole at the bottom of the flowerpot to seal it. Suspend the candle wick centrally in the pot by attaching the upper end of the wick to a pencil or twig laid across the top of the pot.

  5. Embed part of the bottom of the wick in the modeling clay, allowing the remaining pan to lie across the bottom of the pot so that the finished candle will burn for as long as possible.

  6. Melt the candle wax in a double boiler. Add a few drops of citronella essential oil.

  7. Pour the molten wax into the flowerpot and leave until set, then snip the wick with scissors.