Sweet 16 candle centerpiece
sweet 16 party centerpiece

One of the most important birthdays in the life of girls is the Sweet 16 Celebration. I have ideas for Sweet 16 party decorations and rituals involving candles and candle holders. I’d like you to consider a wonderful, warm candle lighting ceremony that you can cater to your specific needs or situation. I have been researching candle ceremonies, as many of my regular readers know.

I found that a candle lighting ceremony, complete with a special Sweet 16 candle lighting centerpiece or set of candle holders can turn a bland gathering into a celebratory, special occasion to make lifetime memories for your teen and the entire family. Imagine what your teen is about to face these days! I think this rite of passage is important to illustrate to the birthday girl that family, friends and community value her. Your teen will need to know people care about her and want her to have a happy, successful life.



I would like you to consider adding a candle lighting ceremony to your plans for a Sweet 16 party. I found that Mexico, Latin American nations and Latina communities in the United States celebrate a female’s transition from girl to woman at the age of 15, or Quinceanera celebration. This rite of passage is a religious and social event that reinforces the importance of family and society in the female’s life.


In Spanish speaking cultures the birthday begins with a special mass for the girl, her parents and godparents. Mass is followed by a reception attended by friends and family. The reception is filled with music, food, dancing and well-wishing.

The birthday girl will often have a “court of damas” or maids of honor and possibly chamberlains, which would be male friends or siblings. The celebration can be elaborate or simple, depending on the resources of the family. Some families will have extravagant wedding-like catered affairs. Others are happy with a gathering of people wherever they will be comfortable to express their best wishes to the young woman.

No matter whether the 15th or 16th birthday is chosen by your culture to honor your child, the idea is the same. This is a special year that marks her entrance into society as a young woman, where different behavioral rules will apply. You want your child to know that she is loved and valued as she passes through these years of rapid change.

You can decide your own format for the party of your choice. There are speeches from party goers or parents. Sometimes, you can choose a symbolic event to formally denote your teenager’s passage through time. For example, one tradition involves the birthday girl “handing down” a doll to a younger female sibling, to represent the passing down of childhood ways to the next child. If there is no female sibling, one could vary the ceremony to have the birthday girl “hand down” a favorite toy to a younger brother.

If there are no siblings, there is always the symbolic “changing of shoes” where the birthday girl dons a pair of high heeled shoes for the first time, symbolizing her reaching young womanhood. I have read about celebrations that feature a dance by the birthday girl and her father, if possible. There could be many high points to the evening!


Here’s the Sweet 16 Candle Lighting Ceremony basics. As stated above, feel free to personalize the ritual according to your own needs.

In one scenario, the birthday girl calls people up to celebrate with her by lighting a candle. The birthday girl could speak about the influence given her by the person who lights the candle. She can speak about the special guidance of a person or some other attribute of the relationship as she calls up to 15 people up to light individual candles in the candle centerpiece. The candle sets featured on this page are merely suggesstions. They can be used for 15 year old girls and 16 year old girls. They can be simple or elaborate: that’s up to you.

Another variation of the ceremony involves the family head leading the candle lighting ceremony by expressing their hopes and dreams for the girl. They could invite specific people up to the candelabra to light a candle while speaking about their relationship with the birthday girl.

You can create a specific plan according to your needs and desires. There is a lighting order for the candles traditionally. You may want to plan your own ceremony according to these candle lighting practices:


Candle 1 is for the parents.

Candle 2 is for siblings, if any. If no siblings, then grandparents.

Candles 3 through 6 are for aunts, uncles, cousins or other family members.

Candles 7 through 14 are for specially chosen people who have close relationships with the celebrant, like teachers, clergy or others in the community.

Candle 15 is for the best male or female friend.

Candle 16 is for a male – either a friend or boyfriend.

Note: Candle 17 is for the Sweet 16 party only. Its use is to symbolize good luck for the future.

Warm words and hugs should accompany each lighting of a candle. You could have the guests and family say a few words as they come up to light a candle. Or, you could have the birthday girl choose her own participants and decide whether she wants to speak about them or vice versa. People have both sometimes, since girls in this age group certainly have a lot to say to each other!

Another variation has the birthday girl lighting the candles while she speaks about the people she has chosen to be part of the celebration. If you invite guests up to say some words, it’s great to prearrange this – some people get tongue tied and need the preparation time.

Some families choose to have a musical accompaniment to the candle lighting ceremony. Specific songs could be played while certain friends and family come up to light the candles. Each song should evoke a memory or relationship with that individual.


I wrote this post to help people looking to celebrate Sweet 16 birthday parties. The post discusses the influence of the Mexican-inspired Quinceanera celebration. I believe the Spanish speaking tradition of marking a girl’s 15th birthday is more religious and highlights the goodness of the birthday girl as well as her family and well-wishers as she continues her journey through life.

God knows how important these teenage years are in the lives of our children. Especially today, with all the negative influences there are to shield from and educate about, the celebration of your teen’s coming of age can be quite stressful for onlookers. These young adults need to feel as loved as you can make them, while introducing them to society and the adult relationships they will now form.

The candle lighting ceremony is a perfect way to stop the festivities for a few moments to solemnly and gratefully acknowledge positive forces in the young woman’s life. It’s a sure way to communicate your love to your child, your family and friends. Thanks for reading and I hope I gave you ideas to help your family make memories and happy occasions.

This site is always under construction. My aim is to blog about candles, their holders and uses for anyone looking for ideas. If you have comments, concerns or just want to share your experiences, I would love to hear from you. Just fill out the comment box and I will reply within 24 hours.



I have found the perfect reference guide if you are a person who enjoys making your own candle holders. This publication is not new, but it is filled with homemade candle holder creation secrets that are startlingly easy to make while looking professional enough to give proudly as gifts.

The author of this book is a seasoned professional in the home decor industry. Gloria Nicol is the former “HOMES” department head at Good Housekeeping. She wrote (according to me) the definitive how-to guide when it comes to candles and their display.

The publication, The New Candle Book: Inspirational Ideas for Displaying, Using and Making Candles, formally cited below, is a treasure trove of information you never knew you needed.

“The immense potential for using and displaying candles in the home often goes unrealized…” Nicol states. Then, she proceeds to explain how to transform almost anything into a candle holder of great beauty. Her talent as a master crafts person is obvious.

The book is divided into four sections: The Introduction; Candle Style; Candle Making; and the very impressive Containers for Candles segments. I want to share one secret idea from each section of the book. This way, you can plainly see the value of this information.

By the way, the book has stunning photographs. Nicol partnered with a photographer who is renowned for her images employing only natural light while capturing textures and colors exquisitely.

The author presents so many creative ideas on each page, it is difficult to choose which to present to you. Have you ever considered storing candles in plain sight in such a way as to appear to be French Countryside Shabby Chic? No? You must check out page 15 of this book. The author simply makes a pile of cream colored tapers and ties the pile with a decorative ribbon. Store on the countertop or in a cupboard. This adds style to your room while being functional as well, keeping candles pretty until they are needed for use.

The book continues to enlighten and guide the reader to use candles and the holders you choose to display them in as reflections of your uniqueness. You know, I have researched home lifestyles enough to know that there is a trend forming lately. People are increasing the attractiveness and appeal of the private spaces in their homes to maximize the restfulness of the short hours we get to spend in these spaces.

For example, there is a growing trend in fashion and home decor to mood specific scents and even lingerie. One’s bath and bedroom can become the sensual Zen garden of your dreams!



Did you know that any taper candle can be heated until it twists? It’s true. You can make a twisted candle by employing just the right amount of heat until the candle is pliable. Then, just twist with your hands on each end of the taper. It’s tips like this one that begin to illustrate just how much expertise is contained in the book.

Have you ever considered turning an existing candle stick into one that has mirrored mosaics on it? It’s possible – and inexpensive to do following this book. Themed candle holders are explained in the book, also. Styles such as Byzantine and Provincial are illustrated in detail.

Candle collection ideas specifically for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are just some of the candle uses and decorations that begin with an ordinary soda can or dried leaf from nature. Even add a few drops of your favorite aroma and enjoy the sensuality. Every step along the way is clearly defined. Shopping lists of supplies are included.

Here is another tip or two for you from the book I’m getting to know as my bible. Make candle holders from used food tins. Make a habit of saving and collecting cookie tins and jelly jars. You can paint your own color scheme in a pretty pattern to make them stand out in your decor. It’s easy to do with the hints in this book.

I have never considered myself a crafty person. I cannot draw a straight line. But, I am overjoyed to find this book, written by a truly-gifted craft person. It makes it simple for me to display and use my candles to my heart’s content. Remember, using candles and holders in groups of two, three or four adds drama and beauty to your decor.

OK, one last tip. The author advises us that a little gold leaf paint goes a long way when painted on the inside of a cleaned out coconut shell. You wind up with a gilded candle container! Even instructions for making and using papier-mache for candle holders is explained and recipes given!

The making of copper sconces to hold candles is completely explained. All materials are accessible through craft stores and other retail outlets. Templates for designs are included also.


I have written this blog to review the publication, The New Candle Book, written by Gloria Nicol. It attempts to showcase the creative talents of the author, while acknowledging the artistry of photographer, Debbie Patterson.

In my humble opinion, this book should be required reading for anyone who has ever been drawn to candlelight and inexpensive beauty. By breaking the subject of the book into four sections, the author’s expertise on each aspect of candles is revealed.

As someone with absolutely no craft ability, I must state that this book made it possible for me to proudly display my budding artistic ability while allowing me more enjoyment of my passion – candles.

This website is always under construction. I would love it if readers were to return back to the site to review future blogs. And, please, don’t be afraid to communicate. I invite all readers with any comments, criticisms or questions to leave me a note in the comment box that follows this post.

All communication will be answered within 24 hours. Thank you for reading. Please be advised that we serve as an affiliate marketer. It is possible for us to make a commission ( at no increased cost to you!) if you should purchase anything through use of this site. Thank you.

Nicol, Gloria (1995), The New Candle Book: inspirational ideas for displaying, using and making candles, Hodder & Stoughton, Anness Pulbishing, Ltd., ISBN number: 0-7336-0085-9



I’m aware of many readers and our shared love of candlelight. Even the flame of a dollar store candle is drawn to the human eye. Some people enjoy crafting gel candles at home. If you are one of these people, you might already know about gel candles. However, I was a candle lover who just learned about them and their beauty and versatility. It’s an easy craft and a great way to become known and loved for your crafty candle gifts!

Gel, when melted, is transparent. This means you can add other elements to the gel (besides fragrance and color) that appear in the candle. Anyone with a little imagination can envision gel candles that contain glass, ceramic and other non-flammable items displayed in them.

I don’t recommend making gel candles unless you’ve done it before or you are willing to pay close attention to safety precautions that come with the gel. The gel seen above comes in hard form. I like this gel, but you’ll have to work at getting it out of the container.

Melting the gel will take time. Patience is very important! You must keep the gel at the recommended temperatures in the directions. It is recommended that one keep a large supply of baking soda on hand (for putting out fires) and a spare fire extinguisher, available here:

It’s very important to watch the temperature of the melting gel. It must be kept at a low heat and melt slowly, because gel has a flashpoint temperature at which it will burst into flames. The melting gel can do this very quickly. It is NOT recommended you leave the room or become impatient during the procedure. It requires patience and attention to detail.

Stir the melting gel with a metal utensil, the gel could melt plastic spoons – but it will NOT ignite a paper towel you rest your metal spoon on.

Precaution: The gel will need time to melt properly at the low temperatures required by the manufacturer’s instructions. I would suggest not even taking a quick phone call while you are engaged in this process: It is surprisingly easy to become distracted and it only takes a second or two for disaster to strike.

Once the gel is melted and removed from the heat source, it will cool very quickly – so quickly, in fact, that if you intend to pour multiple candles from one melt, it is recommended that you place the gel back on the heat to test after each pour – gel can cool 50 degrees in the time it takes to pour one gel candle!

The temperature of the gel at pour time affects how many ( or how few) bubbles you get in your finished candle. The hotter the gel, the more bubbles will occur. If you prefer your gel candles without bubbles, then place the candle in a 175 degree (F) oven. Once it melts, you can stir the bubbles out.

One appealing aspect of gel candle making is the different effects that can be achieved by experimenting with the bubbly aspect of the gel. It lends itself to different textures.

I grew to be attracted to gel candles because of their aability to be unique. Gel candles can be made with many things embedded in the gel. This creates stunning effects when poured into transparent holders like bell jars, champagne flutes, beer mugs, brandy snifters and jam and jelly jars, to name just a few.

Even martini glasses ( straight up!) can be used to hold gel candles: for a great effect, place an wax embed shaped like an olive in the bottom of the glass. Place a toothpick on the side, secured with tape and add a wick – voila! You have a martini glass gel candle for a gift, party favor or your own enjoyment.

I became involved thinking about all the things that could be used to personalize or just decorate any gel creation: glass beads, non-flammable fabric, pictures even small metal objects can be used to create a gel candle. All you need to do is suspend the bead, shell or other object with sewing thread. Wind the thread around a pencil several times, then susepend the pencil over the top of the container when pouring melted gel. The object will appear “suspended” in the completed candle.


For use in gel candles, zinc-cored wicks or wax coated wicks are the best choice. They burn well and are stiff enough to be inserted into a poured gel candle. NEVER USE PAPER WICKS IN GEL CANDLES!

Tabbed wicks are those that have a metal tab glued to the bottom of the wick. These are great for use in gel candles. They are also easily available:

If you choose not to use tabbed wicks, the wick you make should never reach down to the bottom of the holder. Always be sure to leave 1/2″ gap between the bottom of the candle holder and the end of the wick, if not tabbed. If you use tabbed wicks, the tab will protect the bottom of the chosen candle holder.

Wick maintenance is vital when one burns a gel candle, If the wick, before being lit, is longer than 1/4″ from the top of the candle, you must trim the wick. Burning a wick that is too long will cause soot to gather at the top of your chosen candle holder. Always trim the wick, before lighting the candle each time, because you don’t want burned wick to get into the beauty of the gel or its’ container. Soot and burned candle wick will greatly diminish the candle’s attractiveness and negatively affect the beauty of the candle light. To extinguish, always use a candle snuffer::

Gel can be fragranced by adding 1 or 2 drops of your favorite essential oil into the melted gel. You can add color to your candles by adding any dye that is safe for wax candle making. NEVER USE FOOD COLORING IN GEL CANDLE MAKING.

Remember there are wax embeds that can be added to gel candles to create special effects. Colored sand can be layered with melted gel for special designs. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

If you are ever dissatisfied with the results of a gel candle that you have made, remember that the candle can always be placed in an oven at 175 degrees (F) or 79 degrees (C) for several hours until melted down completely. Gel is completely recyclable. Just add the unused gel back in with the hardened stuff in the container you bought it in.


I hope you all try your hand at gel candle making. It is not difficult and with just a little patience, attention to detail and creativity, you can find yourself able to customize candles for yourself and your friends.

Think of the things you could use in a transparent candle, scented or unscented. Colored marbles, ceramic and glass ornaments can be displayed in the gel, as well as soda or beer bottle caps – jewelry or other small pieces (spare nuts and bolts – for the man in your life!) can be suspended with sewing thread and embedded in your candles. Even wax embeds, in the shape of food, are available, as discussed above.

Use chunks of lightly colored wax embeds at the bottom of a gel candle. Gel candles can be poured into all types of glass and other, transparent containers. Control bubbles by placing embeds in a small amount of melted gel in a shallow glass, before placing in your candle design. Allow the embed to bubble, thus reducing the bubbling upon placement in the candle gel.

I hope you all communicate with me. I would love to hear about your experiments and crafts gone wild with transparent gel candles. My site is always under construction, so check back regularly for new blogs. Please be sure to leave any comments also. Thanks for reading!

Rankin, Chris (2001), Gel Candles; Creative and Beautiful Candles to Make, Lark Books, ISBN 1-57990-216-2