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How to Grunge Candles

Grunge candles, also known as clumpy, primitive or grubby candles, are made to look natural and textured -- similar to those from the early days of candle-making. Grunge candles can give your home decor a rustic, earthy feel, and they make good gifts as well. Create your own grunge candles by whipping melted candle wax and incorporating gritty substances such as ground coffee, sand or seeds into the candle-making process.

Things You'll Need:

  • Votive or pillar candles of any size
  • Wax cubes in color and scent of your choice Whisk
  • Medium-size saucepan
  • Melting pot or small metal bowl
  • Wax paper
  • 1 cup sand, birdseed or ground coffee (optional)

Fill your saucepan approximately halfway with water, and heat it on the stove over medium heat.

Place your bowl or melting pot on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler.

Put the wax into the bowl and let it completely melt, until there are no more solid chunks. The amount of wax you should use depends on the size of the candle you are coating. Three cubes of wax is enough for one standard-sized pillar candle or about five votive candles.

Remove the bowl of wax from the heat and let it cool until a thin, hardened layer forms on the top.

Use a whisk or fork to whip the wax. Mix it quickly, using the same technique you would use to beat eggs. As you mix the wax and it cools down, it will become thick and clumpy.

Hold your candle by the wick and dip it into the clumpy wax. If your candle is too big to dip, use a spoon to spoon the wax over the candle. If your wax begins to harden, place it over the heat a gain for a few moments to remelt it.

While the wax on the candle is still wet, sprinkle a gritty, natural substance onto it -- such as sand, ground coffee or birdseed, to add additional texture. This is optional, but gives the candle an even more natural, rustic look.


  • Do not use synthetic materials such as plastic beads to cover your candle -- they may give off harmful fumes when burned.

Stand your candle up on the wax paper after you have finished coating it with the wax and other substances. Let the candle dry completely before you light it.

Alternate Method

Another way to make grunge candles is by mixing your gritty substances, such as ground coffee and cloves, into the melted wax directly. When the wax begins to cool and becomes clumpy, use a paintbrush to carefully blob the mixture onto the sides of a tea light, pillar or votive candle. This method is ideal for tea lights, because they're too small and delicate to dip into the wax.


Make several grunge candles of differing sizes and textures and display them together on a coffee table or as a centerpiece.

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