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Golden Feather Candles

When arranged on a mantel, these feather-imprinted pillar candles imbue the space with warmth and seasonal charm.

Photography: Maura McEvoy

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2007


The harvest theme takes on new dimensions when executed in unexpected colors and materials. Turkey quill feathers and magnolia leaves, colored on one side with floral spray, are mixed with stalks of wheat to create a stunning wreath. The feathers reappear as gold imprints on pillar candles, which are paired with faux-bois versions in a rich green and gold. Quinces, a nest of golden eggs, and more gilded magnolia leaves continue the unusual color scheme.

Faux-Bois Candles
We used 6 sheets of smooth beeswax to roll a pillar candle from scratch, although you could wrap a sheet of beeswax around a store-bought pillar (start with step 3, below). Keep in mind that the color of the sheet of wax may not match the store-bought candle.

Feather-Printing Candles
A single feather can be reused on several surfaces. This technique works equally well on any type of candle, cotton or linen fabric, and on heavy paper, such as card stock. Feathers are available at crafts or fishing-gear stores.


  • For Faux-Bois Candles:Ruler

  • Craft knife

  • Smooth beeswax sheets

  • Wicking

  • 1-inch-wide craft brush

  • Glazing medium in gold

  • Wood-graining tool

  • For Feather Printing: Feathers

  • Ink pad in metallic gold or brown

  • Scrap paper, for blotting

  • Tweezers

  • Candles

  • Brayer


  1. With ruler and craft knife, cut a sheet of wax to the height you want your candle to be. Cut wicking 1 inch longer than this measurement. Lay wicking along 1 short edge of sheet, allowing a 1/2-inch overhang.

  2. Fold edge of sheet over wicking, and roll tightly, adding sheets until candle is desired circumference. Trim. Smooth the seam with your fingertips.

  3. With the ruler and craft knife, cut a sheet of wax to fit the just-rolled (or store-bought) candle. Lay sheet on a flat, clean surface protected with paper.

  4. With the craft brush, coat the sheet with glazing medium.

  5. Drag wood-graining tool across the wax. (If you don't like the results, try again, wiping the tool between uses.) Let dry.

  6. Align the edges of the glazed sheet with the top and bottom of the candle, and roll the sheet gently in place. The warmth of your fingertips should make it stick; if not, use a hair dryer set on medium to warm it slightly. Smooth out the seam with your fingertips, being careful not to smudge the glaze.

  7. Place a feather on ink pad; place a piece of scrap paper on top. Flip, then press with fingertips. With tweezers, remove feather from pape.

  8. Place the feather, ink side down, on the surface you wish to print. Lay a fresh piece of scrap paper over the feather, then carefully roll brayer over the surface. Remove the feather with tweezers. Let dry.

  9. The ink will only partially dry on the candle's wax surface. It is still suitable for use, but can smudge, so handle with care.

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