D.I.Y. "Black Flame Candle" Prop from Hocus Pocus
Updated: Oct 8, 2022
Halloween 'bout to be lit - literally! Bring some witches back from the dead by creating your very own Black Flame Candle with this Salem & Binx tutorial...
"What Hocus Pocus fan has not wanted their own Black Flame Candle at some point?!"
Well now it's your turn to bring the Sanderson sisters back - or at least have a killer Halloween decoration!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
Pillar Candle; either regular soft wax candle or battery-powered, flickering flame, soft wax candle.
Black marker (not permanent).
Acrylic Paint: Brick Red, Black
This prop is a bit open to interpretation. Essentially, it's an ivory candle covered in red markings with, of course, a black flame. Mine is based on this version on Etsy, which, to my understanding, seems to best depict the illustrations on the actual Black Flame Candle prop used in the film (I tried to copy it almost exactly). MANY interpretations exist (especially on Etsy), but this version seems to match up very well with the rare, close-up images of the prop that I've seen in my internet searches, so I recommend basing your engravings on this - if you're going for accuracy. However, feel free to mix up the imagery and have fun with it, especially if you're confidant drawing free-hand! I'd say as long as it has engravings on it that are in a 17th century-like style, it'll look just like the one in the movie anyway!
To begin, take a moment to study the illustrations and their placement, get a real sense of where each section will be, and where you will detail things later; you will routinely be switching between drawing and carving.
I used these three images, which really helped because you can see how each side bends into the next.
Use the marker to draw small portions of some of the imagery/symbols on the candle at a time (get some significant markings down first, for example the astrology belt on the top portion, etc.) Use the carving tool to then go over those markings. The wax will curl as it is uplifted; this will split the ink - some will lift, and some will remain on the candle, which will be a bit messy, but brushing off each section with a wet cloth or paper towel as you go will help to reduce ink from getting all over - and actually help get into the fresh crevices, which is good. You'll get a better sense of how it will look when those engravings are filled with color, and will help you to better continue...
The carving process is time-consuming, but fun! If you make a mistake (I sure did a few) don't go over it too much, it'll deepen the crevices and stand out more after adding color. You can expand by adding lines outside of existing lines, which can help a bit, but try to move on if something is just getting worse - once the wax is gone, it's gone!
*If you're using a candle that does not dip on any side (I used a real one so it was fresh and un-burned), you will have a small extra space to play with where you can add some imagery or symbols. I chose to add the skull and wings image commonly seen on Puritan headstones, which would have been prevalent in the time of the Salem Witch Trials - you can copy my design if you like!
Once the carving is completed, congratulations: it's time for color! At this point you probably have candle with engravings that are semi dark from the ink you used (and this will add to the depth of the carvings and bring out the imagery even better), but now you can make it REALLY looks like the Black Flame Candle by adding some red.
I used a brick red color - you can make your more rusty/orangey to look aged, or go for a richer blood-like red to appear more new (we can all assume the Sanderson Sisters used blood for this right?) - whatever you prefer.
Dip your brush into a cup of water and then into the paint, and vice versa - you want the paint, although acrylic, to be wet. We want to stain the carvings, not the whole candle.
Brush upwards and downwards, sections at a time, wiping the candle as you go. Once done, let dry, and repeat later. Continue until you are satisfied with how much color is in the carvings, and keep wiping the candle so as not to stain the un-carved areas. Let dry!
Once fully dry (overnight preferably), feel free to use a light coat of Mod Podge to preserve, if you desire.
*If you are using a faux flame candle, this is where you can use a small amount of black paint to cover the flame. DO NOT fully cover it, you want some light to peek through. Dry-brush thin amounts on the front and back of the flame.
Now you have your very own Black Flame Candle!
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"If you like this Hocus Pocus D.I.Y. check out "D.I.Y. 'Upside Down Barb' Prop from Stranger Things," and for more inspiration check out my Halloween party albums in Work!"
"Happy Halloween!" 🎃