How to make...
Primitive/Grunge Candles

      Also called Grubbies, these rustic looking pillar candles are textured with various objects and are very popular.
This method can also be used on votives or tapers.


Medium melt point wax for pillars (around 135-140)
Additive of preference (stearic, vybar, etc.)
Candle dye/color
Fragrance oil
Pillar mold (whatever size you wish)
Wicking for pillars in appropriate size
Dipping Can or extra pitcher
"Grunge" stuff:  herbs, spices, potpourri, sand, oatmeal, rosehips, candy, etc.


First make a core pillar as you normally would using wax, additive, color and scent.
Be sure to make enough wax for the pillar, repours and extra for overdipping.  Once the pillar is hardened, remove from mold.

There are a few different ways to "grunge" your candle:

1)  Dip your candle into the pitcher of melted leftover wax, then quickly roll candle in your
    "grunge" mixture (you can use a sheet of waxed paper to roll it on).  Or you can paint
     a layer of modge podge on the outside and roll in your grunge mix.  Once your candle
     is covered with grunge, then overdip it in wax again to coat it.

2) Add your grunge mixture to the leftover wax in your pitcher or dipping can, and dip your
    candle into the grungie wax until desired look is achieved.

3) You can also pour your leftover wax into a mixing bowl and add your grunge stuff, wait
    til the wax begins to cool and a slight skin forms on top (like with the cake candles), kinda
    stir/whip the wax and slop it onto your candle with a spatula.  You can then overdip it.

There is no absolute set way of doing these primitive looking candles, the possibilities are endless and only limited to your imagination.  Here are some ideas of items to use in your grunge mixture.  These items can be used each by themselves or in combinations, whatever looks good:   Herbs, spices, oatmeal, sand, rosehips, crushed nuts, coffee grounds or crushed coffee beans, crushed cereal or candy, candy sprinkles, chopped potpourri, etc.

When overdipping the grunged candles, you can overdip in solid colored wax of the same color as your candle, or if you want the herbs and such to show thru, then use a clear uncolored wax for your overdip.

You may leave the candle as is, or you can do an overdip in the same color wax, or clear wax depending on what look you prefer.  The clear wax dip will give it a glazed donut look, while smoothing out the texture a tiny bit.


Many people make and sell these candles with the intention that they not be burned, but only used as decoration.  The herbs and other "grunge" items can possibly float into the flame once a melt pool has formed, and catch fire!  In pillars or tapers the flaming items could drip over the side and fall off the candle, possibly catching tablecloth, carpet or whatever on fire.  Even if burning in a container, the flaming objects floating too close to the edge of the glass can cause the glass to crack or shatter.
If your primitive candles are not meant to be burnt, please make sure you provide a warning label on each candle you give or sell.  Don't ever assume the customer knows these things!

If you would like to make primitive candles that can be burned, it would be best to use pillar candles over 3 inches in diameter, use a harder & higher melt point wax, and even a slightly smaller wick so that the candle will only core burn down the middle and the outer edges will never melt (basically like a hurricane candle).  By leaving an outer shell about 1/2 inch wide, you only allow the inner plain wax to melt and liquify, thus keeping the grunge items away from the flame.  If you plan to sell these for burning purposes, make sure you test burn them yourself first before selling them for the safety of your customers and yourself!

Good luck and happy grunging!

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