Candle shell

A project log for Unity Candle

Taking the idea of a unity candle to the next level

QuinnQuinn 06/03/2014 at 14:250 Comments

This project is not only going to be up front of the couple, and the attendees, it is likely going to be in the background of many wedding pictures. Because of this, it cannot look like a propane tank with plumbing on it.

With some help, I created a decorative shell to look like a stone pedestal, with a large candle on it. The proportions were so that it would appear like a scaled up standard unity candle.

The shell is made from 2" thick insulation foam. This is a great, quick material to work with for decorative projects where you want bulk. This was done with a single 4x8' sheet, with cuts made with a hot knife foam cutter. Pieces were then screwed together with 4" long drywall screws. Given the nature of the foam, it is not super strong, but ends up more so than you'd expect. Care must be taken when screwing into foam as you cannot put much pressure on the screw going in, just letting the drill do the work. Screw heads, and gaps were filled with caulk. The design is simple, and is mostly just stacked pieces to look like a traditional stone pedestal. The top layer has a large hole to hold the candle piece which rests on the next layer down. It stands 3' tall, and is 28" wide/deep. Many thanks to K. and A. who helped me cut out and screw the pieces together.

The pedestal is open on the back, with a slot in the top to allow it to be placed around the tank and plumbing. This also allows easy access to the valves. In our case, it will be placed next to a lake, so no one will be viewing it from the back.

Back side:

The candle is made from a 3' segment of 8" ducting, with some steel strips to hold a spacing to make it approximately 12" in diameter. This was done instead of purchasing 12" ducting because I wanted the large open strip in back to allow air to flow up past the nozzle and HSI when activated.

The base was painted with a cream color base paint and speckle spray paint on top to make it look like stone. Note that you can only use some kinds of paint on this type of foam. Brushed on standard house latex paint works fine. You cannot use any spray paints, as it will dissolve the foam. With the base layer down, using the spray speckle on top was fine. Many thanks to the wizardry of J. for the skills to make it look real. On top of this was hand painted a segment of design copied from the wedding invitations in one of the wedding colors. Again thanks to K., K., and A. for their hand painting and design skills.(all tasks I couldn't have done)

The candle was sanded for paint adhesion, and painted with a flat off white. The shell still needs some artificial ivy and flowers added to it, but looks great!

Though no of the guests should be able to get a close look at it, even when standing right up front of it, you cannot tell it is foam and steel. In total, it stands about 6' high which will allow the wind shield to just stick out the top by several inches. The wind shield was painted brown, as another wedding color, and to look sorta like a candle wick.