Suspend seashells in clear gel candles for a one-of-a kind candle.

Making Gel Seashell Candles

by L. Christine Shepard

When made correctly, gel candles are crystal clear and serve as a showcase for objects inside them such as seashells. These seashell candles could serve as part of a table centerpiece for a beach-themed wedding or party. The candles, made from the results of a beachcombing excursion, would also be a reminder of a pleasant vacation spent in the sun. By adding seashells, sea glass and sand to the candle, you can create a miniature image of a day at the beach. A benefit of gel is that it is longer lasting and has a lower flashpoint than candle wax.

Clean small seashells with detergent, water and a nailbrush to ensure the gel candle does not become cloudy from salt on the shells. Dry the shells with a clean rag.

Pour 1/2-inch of aquarium gravel in a small, clear drinking glass or jar. Bury the base of a candlewick in the gravel, in the center of the glass or jar. Place several seashells atop the gravel in the jar.

Heat the candle gel in a saucepan on a burner set at a low temperature. Insert a candy thermometer into the gel. Remove the saucepan from the burner when the temperature reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, the gel resembles a syrup mixture.

Keep the thermometer in the gel. When the temperature reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit, pour the gel into the glass or jar to cover the seashells, filling the container to 1/2-inch below the top edge.

Balance a wooden skewer over the center of the glass or jar. Wrap the candlewick over the skewer to straighten and center the wick. Let the gel cool and firm up for 12 hours. Cut the candlewick to a height of 1/4-inch over the gel with scissors after the gel solidifies. Repeat all steps to make additional gel seashell candles.

Items you will need

  • Small seashells
  • Detergent
  • Nailbrush
  • Clean rag
  • 1 ounce aquarium gravel
  • Clear drinking glasses or jars
  • Metal-tabbed candlewick
  • Candle gel
  • Saucepan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Wooden skewer


  • Add a small amount of gel candle fragrance and color to the gel when the gel is melting, if desired.
  • To clean the saucepan, place it in the freezer after making the candles to harden the gel, which peels off after frozen.


  • Do not carry a gel candle when lit. The hot gel could spill and cause a burn.

About the Author

L. Christine Shepard has been a print journalist since 1994, covering news, home improvement, gardening and food for the "Oakland Press," "Rochester Post," "Troy Times" and "Michigan Meetings and Events" magazine. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Oakland University and received the Michigan Press Association award for journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Images