Candle magic is an integral part of my own personal witchcraft practice but also the witchcraft practices of many others. There are so many different ways that you can do candle magic. It’s very versatile and today I want to talk about dressing candles for your candle magic.
To dress a candle basically means to add extra stuff to your candle. You can add different ingredients. You can add oils and herbs and stones. Basically, it’s a way of dressing it up for a specific purpose. Think of it like you would when you dress up to go on a date. Your normal clothes typically will work fine depending on what you’re doing, but you can change the way that you dress to tailor your outfit to the specific event that you’re going to.
The same thing can be said for candles. You can dress them up on the outside for a specific purpose using different ingredients that correspond with your intention in your spell. So you’re literally dressing up your candle. You’re dressing it with an added layer of ingredients for a specific purpose.
A Note on Candle Safety
Before I talk about how to dress a candle or some different methods that you can use to dress a candle, I need to address some safety concerns first. When you work with fire and when you work with other ingredients, you need to make sure that what you’re doing is safe. These are going to be things like don’t let your candles burn unattended and don’t leave candles burning overnight. Since you’re adding things to your candle, there are a few extra steps that I would strongly encourage you to take before dressing a candle.
Check Your Herbs
Some herbs release toxic smoke, some herbs aren’t safe to use around children and animals, or if you have specific medical conditions. You’re always going to want to check that what you’re burning is safe to burn.
Use Essential Oils Wisely
You also want to make sure you use essential oils safely. Some essential oils, just like herbs, don’t do well when they get hot. If you are using essential oils, you want to make sure they’re diluted in a carrier oil so that for one, they don’t hurt your skin, and two, that’s just best practices when using essential oils. They are concentrated and can be extremely irritating to your skin and your nose depending on how strong they smell.
Less Is More
You do not need to coat your entire candle in an extra layer of herbs. You want to use them in a safe way. Overdoing it, overdressing your candle, can lead to many different things. It can lead to the candle just not burning because you have too much too close to the wick and you basically starve the flame of oxygen because there are too many things close to the wick.
The one thing that I always see happening though is you have all of these things close to the wick that are combustible and then the entire candle catches fire and it becomes a very big fire hazard. So please be safe with your candles before dressing them, make sure that what you’re burning is safe, and don’t burn down your house.
Ingredients and Additives
You can dress a candle with pretty much anything that is safe to get hot or near a flame.
So you can use dried herbs. I don’t recommend using fresh herbs because they generally have more moisture and therefore if they do get close to the flame they are harder to burn. You can add stones. You can add oils and carvings and sigils…and pretty much whatever you want.
If you work with glitter you can add glitter. If you work with glitter I highly recommend using a biodegradable kind of glitter because glitter is a micro-plastic and isn’t environmentally friendly at all.
Glitter is made from plastic sheets and used in a wide array of products, including cosmetics. When washed down the drain, glitter becomes a subset of marine plastic litter known as microplastic. Microplastics, which measure less than five millimeters in length, are found throughout the world’s oceans, from the surface to the deep sea floor. They are consumed by plankton, fish, shellfish, seabirds, and other marine life. Plastic bits collect in birds’ stomachs, where they can cause them to die of starvation. Scientists have become increasingly concerned about its effects on fish and other marine life.To Save the Oceans, Should You Give Up Glitter?
Use whatever you have. You don’t have to be limited to using a very specific herb that’s really hard to find that goes with your correspondences. Dressing candles is just like any other magical working. It’s very personal and you can tailor it to your specific needs.
Candle Dressing Tips and Tricks!
So when I dress candles, I treat it as any other magical working. It’s just the pre-spell. You’re just getting ready to do your spell. So I cleanse my candles, I cleanse my hands, I cleanse the space and I really just get ready.
The methods that you use will depend entirely on the type of candle that you’re burning. For example, it might be more difficult to carve larger sigils on a chime candle because it’s small. So if you want to carve large sigils on your candle I recommend using a larger pillar candle either without glass so you can actually carve into the candle or with glass and instead of carving you can just draw on the glass.
Tea lights are small and versatile and I don’t actually see a lot of people dressing their tea light candles for their work because they’re so small. There are different things that you can do to make it work for you. You can take a spell oil and drip it around the outer edge of the candle. If you can get your tea light out of its little aluminum container, you can actually rub oil all over it. You can put herbs on the outer edge and you can even poke holes and pour oil in it or add stones when the wax is warm.
Now my favorite type of candle to dress is a chime candle just because it’s so small and cute without being too small and too cute and just generally hard to work with. What I like to do with my chime candles is if I am in the mood I’ll carve some sort of sigil or symbol on the side of it and then dress it with a spell oil. You can rub the chime candle in oil and then cover it in herbs.
When you burn chime candles and when you dress chime candles like this with herbs on the outside, you need to make sure your chime candle has a stable base and plenty of room to burn. Some of these herbs can catch fire and become a fire hazard if you’re not paying attention.
You know what else you can dress like this but probably not with as many herbs as the chime candle? Birthday candles. If you are in a bind and you need to do candle magic quickly but you still want to dress your candle with an oil or something, use a birthday candle. They burn quickly. They’re small and they’re easy to use and easy to get your hands on.
Now the last type of candle I want to talk about is a pillar candle. You can dress a pillar candle outside of glass and inside glass very similarly. Again make use of herbs that correspond with your intention for your spell.
With glass pillar candles, what I like to do to dress them with oil is to actually poke holes in the top of the candle and drip oil inside of it. Doing it that way doesn’t end up with a pool of oil on the top, because again, that’s a fire hazard. So we are wanting to make sure that we’re dressing our candles safely. Poke holes in the top of it and drip some oil in there.
Less is more. Just use a couple of drops each. Put herbs on top, write on the glass, draw sigils and symbols on the outside of the glass and use it any way that you would use any other spell candle.
Now with larger pillar candles that don’t have glass, I don’t recommend dressing the outside of them in oil unless you’re putting it in another container. It gets messy and then you end up with oil everywhere! You can still poke holes in the candle and put a couple of drops of oil in it. That is generally safe to do so in my experience.
What you can do, and what I’ve done in the past, is carve sigils on the outside of the candle and rub a mixture of spell oils and herbs to get into the carving. That seemed to work very well for me and so far I haven’t had any issues burning candles like that and doing so safely.
Lastly, I just want to say that there’s really no limit to how you can dress a candle. Dress it with what you have. If you don’t know what herbs correspond with your intentions, I have some sources for that at the bottom of this post. Please make sure that you dress your candles safely. Don’t overdo it. I know having beautifully overdressed candles is aesthetically pleasing but it’s not practical and it’s not always safe.
So be safe. Have fun dressing your candles! I find that when working closely with candles like this and really adding to the energy of the candle — you know you’ve already picked out the color of your candle, if it has a fragrance, the size, what kind of candle it is — adding this extra layer, literally, as you dress your candle can add to the energy of your spell, especially when you do it with purpose and you give each of these ingredients a job.
So go forth, have fun dressing your candles, and be safe.
Sources and Extra Stuff
- Tisserand Institute Essential Oil Safety Guidelines
- University of Minnesota – Choosing Essential Oils
- Witchcraft Correspondences || Where do they come from? (video with captions)
- Elements in Witchcraft || Common Correspondences and My Thoughts (video with captions)
- Make it Yours || Personal Correspondences for the Eclectic Witch (video with captions)
- Color Correspondences – Tradition or Emotion?
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