Hands up if, come birthday time, there’s invariably a moment of panic where you wonder, “oh my goodness, do we have birthday candles somewhere?” And, if the answer is “no,” then a quick dash to the nearest corner store or supermarket becomes necessary. Well, one day not so long ago, we thought we’d save ourselves that moment of panic by putting on our thinking caps before the next birthday on our calendar. Gradually, we started accumulating candles, snagging a pack whenever we spotted new or different ones, either in person, or online. Now we have a drawer full of candle options so we won’t have to think about them for a while and we’re ready for a slew of birthdays!
As it turns out, there’s a heck of a lot of birthday candle options out there. For that reason, we thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of some of the ones we discovered. If, like us, you fancy stocking up a drawer with birthday candles so there are no more last minute panics, here are some of the options on the market, broken out into ten different categories:
- STRIPES AND POLKA DOTS - Most of us will be familiar with the white striped Betty Crocker candles available from the supermarket in pink, blue, yellow and white. But, as it transpires, there’s a whole host of other striped (and spotted!) options out there. Unique makes candles with stripes of various colors and in alternating thicknesses. Design Design sells packs of striped candles too - the stripes are all the same width, but the colors are a little more unusual, very bright and cheery. Another option is Creative Converting’s white candles with fat stripes in cheery colors, reminiscent of cabana beach towels. Last but not least, we’d point to both Unique and Paper Eskimo as makers of cheerily colored combo packs of striped and polka dotted candles. They were so similar that, at first, we thought they might actually be from the same maker but a quick look at their yellow candles and there was a noticeable difference in tone. The Paper Eskimo candles were more lemony-yellow, whereas the Unique candles were more golden yellow.
SOLID COLORS - Again, solid colored candles will not be new to most folks. However, prior to our candle research, we pretty much thought that birthday candles predominantly came in blue, white, yellow and pink. Not so! There are makers producing all sorts of different colors. Tag, for example, makes tall, slender candles in a rainbow of solid colors. For a more electric, fluorescent color palette, check out Creative Converting’s tapers in neon yellow, pink, blue and orange. Last but not least, we’d draw your attention to GoodLight candles - we snagged a pack of their candles at Cambridge Naturals, a fab local store that specializes in natural body products and foods. It was no surprise then to find that GoodLight candles are plant-based and are also paraffin-free, lead-free and phthalate-free. The pack we chose was one containing solid-colored candles in varying shades of blue, from baby blue, to navy. They also offer packs on a pink-purple color scheme, rainbow colored, or solid white.
COLORED FLAMES - We didn’t include trick candles in our round-up (the kind that are especially hard to blow out) as the birthdays we’re celebrating these days are largely for youngsters who are still just getting the hang of blowing out candles. But, we did not want to leave out novelty candles entirely so were happy to discover that there is an alternative out there in the form of colored flames. We picked up a striped and polka dotted set by Celebrate It and another by Rainbow Moments in solid colors. We have yet to use them en masse for an actual birthday but tested out single candles to see what they look like and can report that they perform as advertised.
SQUIGGLES, WIGGLES AND TWISTS - Ok, so this is the category that was new to us that probably tickled our fancy the most - and, we think it’s a category of candles that will delight both young and old for sheer whimsicality, namely candles in unexpected shapes. We liked Unique’s striped coil candles so much that we bought two packs - and, we also picked up a packet of their brightly colored zig-zag candles. For something a bit taller, we added a pack of Tag’s rainbow colored twist candles to our collection and, last but not least, from Creative Converting, a packet of spaghetti thin wiggle candles in blue, red, yellow and green.
OMBRÉ - There are more than a few elegant ombré options out there - we especially liked the look of Ginger Ray’s pink ombré candles for chocolate cakes (there’s something about pink against chocolatey brown that’s eminently appealing, no?). We also picked up a set of Party Hits’ tie-dye rainbow candles and, while shopping at Papyrus one day, took the opportunity to lock in a packet of their cheery, multi-colored ombré candles.
GLITTER AND SHINE - Shimmer and shine is practically by definition a celebratory characteristic - that’s why we did not hesitate to pop a pack of Ginger Ray’s tall, shimmery, golden tapers in our shopping basket, or to pick up a pack of beautifully colored striped and spotted candles that happened to be glitter imbued while at Papyrus.
PATTERNS AND PRINTS - In addition to stripes and polka dots, birthday candles are now available in an array of patterns, like Unique’s diamond-printed candles, or Bakery Crafts’ animal printed tapers, patterned after giraffes, zebras, leopards and tigers. Examples of other patterns we have seen include: camo print, marbled and stars.
LETTERS AND NUMBERS - Whether spelling out “happy birthday,” “congratulations” or “I love you,” to our surprise, we discovered that there are many candle packs out there that help convey happy messages both literally and metaphorically. We recently added a rainbow “hooray” set made by Design Design to our candle drawer as eminently versatile and handy for all sorts of celebrations and occasions, from birthdays, to anniversaries.
SPECIALTY CANDLES - In addition to stick candles (be they straight or squiggly), there are also genuine specialty candles out there. We’re talking candles made in the shapes of people, creatures and/or things. For example, we ordered a beautiful little Peter Rabbit, perfect for a wee one’s birthday. Other specialty candles we’ve spotted: a cow, giraffe, puppy, baby dinosaur, a set of flamingoes or owls- and many more. If you are doing a themed party for a birthday boy or birthday girl, be they turning 1 or 100, you may well find the perfect cake topper in candle form that will match your theme and scheme.
- HANDMADE CANDLES - Last but not least, we want to give a shout out for going the handmade route because we were so impressed by the lovely candles we ordered from Oklahoma-based Scott Catlett and Sara Catlett, the makers behind Pioneer Candle. Made from 100% pure Oklahoma beeswax sourced from small, local apiaries, we ordered both a rainbow set of tall candles, and a slightly shorter set of naturally colored birthday candles. Needless to say, given the workmanship and natural materials going into these candles, they were a bit of a splurge. That said, when put to the test, they burned beautifully (dare we say delicately?) as compared to many of their mass market counterparts. They smelled lovely too and seemed to burn more slowly. Thanks to quite tidy dripping and their height, we were also able to save them for future re-use. All that said - the disappointing news - since we placed our order, Pioneer Candles has shuttered their Etsy doors. We hope they make a comeback because they did great work (and a beautiful packaging job). But, in the meantime, you may wish to have a scout around for a candlemaker local to you, or check out other candlemakers on Etsy that look similarly amazing - shops like izzywicks, FarmersDaughterGifts or pumpkinbear.
A final note on candle holders - if they aren’t already included with your candles, you may wish to look into getting a set if you are using candles that contain glitter or shimmer, or if you don’t like the idea of wax coming into contact with your cake. It’s also worth noting that, practicality aside, there are also some candles sold as sets with candle holders that can actually become part of a celebratory scheme - for example, Party Hits’ sells a five candle set that comes with little train cars that act as candle holders. We locked in a pack in anticipation of a little feller’s birthday and, if you too have a youngster who is particularly fond of something (like trains), you may wish to check out the various candle/candle holder sets that are available.
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