Give Old Candles a Quick, Coastal Makeover

Get creative to give old pillar candles a coastal makeover in a snap.

If there's one thing my frequent estate/garage sale forays have taught me, it's that no one need ever pay full price for a candle. 10-20 bucks for a pillar candle? What?! I can't remember the last time I shelled out more than $1 for one. The only downside to purchasing secondhand candles is that they're often dented, scratched or are a color that won't work with your decor. No worries, a little hot glue and twine will cover a world of sins.

I recently picked up some bargain candles at an estate sale in Knoxville before heading down to my sister's work-in-progress beach house. I had some jute twine and furniture webbing left over from other projects so I decided to give these 3 thrifted candles a quick beachy makeover — et voila:  

Beachy, Twine-Wrapped Candles

Beachy, Twine-Wrapped Candles

Got ugly candles? Easily disguise them by attaching hemp twine or upholstery webbing with hot glue.

Photo by: H. Camille Smith

H. Camille Smith

Pretty, huh? I paid $2 for the 3 candles and, as I said, I had the other materials on hand — but, if I had to buy them, this would be a $10-$15 project. After their crafty makeover, the new/old candles fit right in with our other beachy bargains: 

I know people will ask about fire safety for obvious reasons — twine and upholstery webbing are flammable. First, as with any candle, you shouldn't leave it burning without supervision — but — I’ve done variations of this project (covering pillar candles in paper, ribbon, bark and even paint) many times and never had a problem. The key is to choose a pillar candle wide enough that the wick burns down the center leaving an outer wax shell and you limit the crafty covering to the candle's sides. Don't try this technique on a narrow pillar or taper candle.

Covering the candles with twine is easy — just start at the bottom, applying hot glue as you turn the candle and attach the twine in sections. You can cover as much or as little of the candle as you wish. As you can see below, this particular candle had an odd raised gold stripe so I covered it completely.  

The upholstery webbing cover was even easier to apply. Just cut a strip large enough to meet in the back, then hot-glue it to the candle along the seam. Disguise the seam by tapping in a few nail heads or brass thumbtacks. 

That's all — it's quick, easy and cheap — my favorite kind of project. 

From Dump to Dreamy Beach House

See All Photos

Tranquil Transformation

Lisa Marie Brooks, a real estate agent, and her husband, Scott, a commercial airline pilot and builder, know potential: Together they've built or renovated 25 homes in three states, most of which they've resold. "This house actually had a lot of pros," says Lisa Marie of the 2,000-square-foot bungalow. "A pitched roof and a sunroom with lots of windows, plus great big oak trees all around." Now the fixer-upper is their home for good. Says Lisa Marie, "No chance we're selling this one anytime soon."

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Before the Remodel

To most people, the shabby shack with its worn-out siding, cracked windows, and overgrown lawn looked like a condemned shed. But to the Brookses, the little house in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., was a hidden gem that just needed a bit — OK, a lot — of polishing. They bought it through short sale for $270,000, a drastic reduction from the onetime asking price of $900,000, without even seeing the interior in person. The overhaul cost about $120,000 and took a year to complete.

Photo By: Courtesy of the homeowner

Living Room: Before

Instead of replacing the dated oak built-in, the Brookses saved money by removing the doors and painting it white (Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams). They also tore out the old wood-burning stove and installed a ventless fireplace. "We did a ton of work, but in the end, we felt like, gosh, it doesn't get any better than this,” says Lisa Marie.

Photo By: Courtesy of the homeowner

Living Room: After

The wall that surrounds the new fireplace was made by setting real seashells and starfish in plaster of Paris. The sectional sofa is covered with durable white denim fabric, and the shag rug feels about as soft as the white sand outside.

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley


Before the remodel, this space off the living room, which leads to the back deck, didn't show off the pretty view of the Choctawhatchee Bay. So the Brookses installed French doors with trapezoid-shaped windows above them. Problem solved. Outdoor party supplies are stowed inside the storage benches that are covered with linen cushions and throw pillows.

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Dining Room

When they bought the house, it had plywood on the ground instead of floors. Lisa Marie wanted hardwood throughout the home. "I think hardwood stands up better over time than prefabricated floors. We went with an inexpensive wood — pine — and had it stained ebony," she says. The dining table and rattan and wooden chairs, all from Restoration Hardware, are beachy and casual.

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Kitchen: Before

A half wall in the middle of the old kitchen and barely any counter space made for an awkward layout, not to mention unsightly linoleum flooring and shoddy cabinets. Lisa Marie and Scott did a lot of restructuring, knocking down walls and reconfiguring doors.

Photo By: Courtesy of the homeowner

Kitchen: After

The new space has a peninsula with a cooktop and space to sit, as well as marble countertops that Lisa Marie bought for a discount from a stone remnants distributor. The cabinets are made with affordable maple. "If you're using wood like this, mix in a few glass-front doors so your cabinets don't look too heavy," says Lisa Marie. The backsplash from Home Depot came in 1-foot-by-1-foot sheets of travertine and blue glass tiles in a block pattern.

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Outdoor Deck

Nearly every door in the house leads to the wraparound deck, which the entire family (son, Logan, 12; and pet Lab-mix, Buddy, included) uses all year. "We have coffee at this table almost every morning, and we've thrown parties with 60 people out here," Lisa Marie says. Since the deck is uncovered, Scott coated it with wood protector by One Time to help keep it from weathering.

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Added Space for Easy Living

Lisa Marie and Scott added 900 square feet of wooden decks, boosting their home's size by 50 percent. "Living on the water motivates us to slow down and chill out, " she says.

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Keep Reading

Next Up

3 Easy Steps to Give New Life to an Old Wood Bowl

You don't have to be a world-class chef to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of an antique or vintage dough bowl but years of constant use can really take a toll on the wood, leaving it dried-out, scratched and stained. In just 3 steps, you can reverse decades of use and give new life to an old wood bowl.

Scents of the Season: Make Your Own Holiday Candles

Skip the overly fragrant, store-bought candles and make your own for just a few bucks.

5 Old Window Ideas We Love

Get creative and inexpensive ways to transform old windows into chic and functional home decor.

5 Darling Ways to Dress Up Old Dresser Drawers

Transform old dresser drawers into designer accents with these smart ideas.

12 Bold Coastal Color Palettes You Haven't Considered

Beach house style doesn't have to be all about neutrals. 

See How This Elevated Coastal Cottage Takes Home Design to a Whole New Level

Architect Darryl Cobb thought beyond the stilts to give this elevated coastal home in the heart of South Carolina's Lowcountry all the charm and curb appeal of its inland counterparts.

See How Coastal Accents Create the Ultimate Relaxing Master Suite

Soft, light fabrics and a vaulted ceiling make this breezy coastal master suite the perfect place to relax.

13 Coastal-Cool Living Rooms We're Ready to Call Home

You don't have to live on the beach to bring coastal style home.

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces You Can Make in Minutes

Creating a show-stopping centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table doesn't have to be time-consuming. We have easy ideas for arrangements you can pull together on the fly.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts