When I decided to throw a Harry Potter Party, I went all out. Because that’s how I do things. Full obsession or complete apathy. And what Harry Potter party is complete with out the floating candles from the Great Hall?
It’s really not as hard as I thought it would be. There are some varying levels of this project. I went medium grade this round. We’re doing the HP party every other year for Halloween, I think. I made SO many things and it was such a great hit, I’d hate to not use it all again. Anyway, here’s how I did it.
Things you need:
Toilet paper rolls and/or paper towel rolls
Paint brush (you can use the cheap foam ones or a fairly large brush)
Hot glue gun
Regular glue for glue gun (nothin’ fancy)
Battery powered tea lights (I used flickering ones that I found in the candle section of Target, the Room Essentials brand, because they were MUCH cheaper than the ones you could find in the Halloween section, and it doesn’t matter what they actually look like, but white would be best)
Clear string/fishing wire
Pin vice (seriously, this is worth the $10-$12 investment)
1. Take all of the tea lights you plan to use, and using the pin vice, drill a very tiny hole at the center near the top of the plastic flame.
FOR EASY MODE:
2. Use the paintbrush and paint the toilet paper rolls white. Set them aside to dry.
3. Once the paint is dry, take your hot glue gun and glue around the tea light and insert it inside the top of the toilet paper roll. You may have to press it against one side a bit, depending on the sizes of the roll and tea light.
At this point, this is the super easy end! Just attach your string to however long you want the candle to hang, and with the pin, attach to the ceiling. If you want some more detail or more challenge, continue reading!
4. Once everything is dry, get out your fancy glue gun again. This time glue “drips” from the top to look like wax is melting down the side of the candle.
5. I decided to paint over the glue once it was dry. My thought was that the wax needed to also be white like the candle. This is totally optional. You could also go a super creepy route and paint the “wax drips” red or black. Go crazy! You do you!
And now we’re done with medium mode! Go ahead and get that string and cut the length that you want and hang it with a pin to your ceiling. It wasn’t that much more work, but when you’re doing a couple dozen of these things, it can get tedious. There is one other option to make your Harry Potter Great Hall look complete. I did not do this, but there are other tutorials that have, and they look amazing.
This requires more supplies. If you’re working with a small hallway, this is more manageable. To make your floating candles look like the night sky in the Great Hall, you’ll need some black or navy blue material (or realistic starry night sky material if you can find it) that is large enough to cover the entire ceiling area where your candles are going. You can try your hand with some fabric paints to make some splatters and dots of various sizes to look like stars (or go super awesome and paint away a galaxy). If you’re not into painting, you can just hang the plain fabric on your ceiling before pinning all the floating candles. This will give your hallway ceiling a bit more depth and will create a better illusion of candles floating in the sky.
– Why didn’t I attach the string to the sides of the tube instead of using the vice pin and drilling through the tea light? Well, I tried that at first. It will work in a pinch; however, it can cause some balance issues because the candle becomes top heavy with the tea light. When I used the paper towel rolls (which are significantly longer) they almost toppled over with the strings on the side. So I decided to try the pin vice and it definitely looked better and balanced well.
– Having trouble turning lights on? Try using a long butter knife. This is something I didn’t anticipate the first round – how the heck to turn the lights on after all the crafting is done. If you find the tea lights that have a button that you push to turn on, you’re gold. I didn’t, though. The switch ones are much trickier and can be really frustrating. I didn’t use many paper towel rolls because of this – I tried to stick to shorter toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls that were cut down a bit.
Let me know how this goes! If you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me an email. Post pictures and definitely share if you go beast mode on this!