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Saguaro Cactus Candles

Updated on December 17, 2014

A Simple How-To Procedure

I have always loved cacti and Southwestern décor and have come up with a simple way to make candles shaped like Saguaro cacti. If you love cacti as much as I do and would like to try your hand at making a Saguaro cactus candle, I will walk you through my procedure step by step.

Don't worry if you have never made a candle before. As it turns out, neither have I, at least not from scratch. The methods I will be employing here make use of premade candles and other simple materials, with some minor assembly.

Saguaro candles are great if your house is decorated in a Southwestern theme. They also make the perfect gift for someone you know whose home décor is similarly themed.

All images on this page are by DIY Mary unless noted otherwise.

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The Saguaro Cactus

The Saguaro (pronounced "suwaro") is a large, tree-sized cactus that is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Northern Mexico and parts of California. This majestic cactus can grow up to 50 feet tall and can live up to 150-200 years. Saguaro cacti grow very slowly and over time, they often develop sidearms which generally curve upwards.

Saguaro cacti vary widely in shape, but most tend to have a main trunk with sidearms that are larger at the base than at the top. These giant cacti can sprout up to around 25 sidearms in a lifetime, and even the sidearms can grow ones of their own. Like many cacti, they are covered with prickly, protective spines. In the late spring, they bloom with white and yellow flowers, and in the summer, they produce edible red fruit.

A saguaro cactus in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Make your own Saguaro cactus candles.

The steps below will walk you through the process of making a Saguaro cactus candle. With my simple techniques, you do not need any prior experience with candle making. All the necessary materials can be readily obtained online or at your local hobby supplies store, and most of the tools required are most likely ones you already have at home.

Step 1: Assemble starting materials and tools.

Materials (see photo below):

  1. Three green candles, tapered (length: 10-12")
  2. One small terra cotta pot (height: 2.5")
  3. Two 1-1.5" tall votive candles (diameter: 1.5")
  4. One green crayon
  5. One brown crayon

Tools (see photo below):

  1. Kitchen knife
  2. Matches
  3. Razor blade
  4. Food thermometer (range: 0-220F)
  5. Large candle (for use as a heat source)
  6. Tweezers
  7. Large Styrofoam cup
  8. Phillips head screwdriver

Step 1 Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Step 2: Prepare the terro cotta pot.

  1. Trim the bottom edges of one of the votive candles using a razor blade (see photo below) so that it sits securely in the pot. The diameter of the votive candles (1.5") may be slightly larger than the inner diameter of the base of the terra cotta pot (about 1.3-1.4"), depending on the exact shape of the pot.
  2. Remove the wick and flatten the top of the bottom votive candle by scraping with a razor blade (see photo below).
  3. Place the trimmed votive candle in the terra cotta pot and stack the second votive candle on top (see photo below).
  4. Light the top votive candle and let it keep burning until the wax becomes molten and fills the pot.
  5. Once the top candle has completely melted, remove the metal base of the wick with tweezers (see photo below).

Step 2 Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Part A (trim votive candle bottom edges)Part B (trim wick and flatten votive candle top)Part C (stack votive candles in terra cotta pot)Part E (remove metal base of wick)
Part A (trim votive candle bottom edges)
Part A (trim votive candle bottom edges)
Part B (trim wick and flatten votive candle top)
Part B (trim wick and flatten votive candle top)
Part C (stack votive candles in terra cotta pot)
Part C (stack votive candles in terra cotta pot)
Part E (remove metal base of wick)
Part E (remove metal base of wick)

Step 3: Prepare the sidearms.

  1. Cut around 1/3-1/2 off the tops of two green candles. Use a sharp kitchen knife dipped in boiling water and bear down firmly enough to cut the wick. (The heat from the knife will melt the wax as you make your cuts, which greatly speeds up the process.)
  2. Fill a large Styrofoam cup about halfway with hot tap water. Run the water under the faucet until it is hot enough to soften the candle, but not so hot that it melts the wax. Use a food thermometer to make sure the temperature does not go above 130F.
  3. Form the elbows in each sidearm as follows. Immerse each candle in hot water. Let candle soak for several minutes and remove from water. Push candle with fingers firmly, but do not apply too much force or it will crack. As the wax softens, take the candle out of the water, bend it a few degrees, and put back in the water. Repeat this step until a right angle bend (90 degrees) about 2/3 down from the wick is achieved (see photo below).
  4. While forming the sidearms, continually monitor the temperature of the water so that it is between around 105-125F (see photo below).
  5. Let the candles (sidearms) cool to room temperature undisturbed. (See below for a photo of the finished sidearms alongside the trunk.)

Step 3 Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Part C (form elbow in sidearm)Part D (monitor water temperature)Part E (sidearms and trunk)
Part C (form elbow in sidearm)
Part C (form elbow in sidearm)
Part D (monitor water temperature)
Part D (monitor water temperature)
Part E (sidearms and trunk)
Part E (sidearms and trunk)

Step 4: Join the sidearms to the trunk.

  1. Using a Phillips head screwdriver and kitchen knife (both dipped in boiling water), dig a V-shaped hole or groove about 3/8 from the bottom of an uncut green tapered candle. On the opposite side of this candle, dig another hole about 5/8 from the bottom. Grooves should be fairly deep, but do not cut through the wick (see photo below).
  2. Using the heat from the flame of a candle, heat one of the grooves (see photo below) and the fat end of one of the sidearms enough to melt the wax at the surface. (Do not hold either candle in the flame for more than a few seconds.) Join the sidearm to the trunk while the wax is still molten on both candles by firmly pressing the sidearm into the trunk.
  3. If the grooves are not deep enough, remove some more wax and repeat the above step until the sidearm is securely affixed to the trunk.
  4. Melt a green crayon using the flame from a candle and drip the crayon wax along the joint between the sidearm and the trunk (see photo below).
  5. Repeat Parts B-D for the second sidearm.
  6. Let the assemblage (see photo below) cool undisturbed to room temperature.

Step 4 Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Part A (V-grooves)Part B (melt wax in groove over candle flame)Part D (apply melted green crayon wax to sidebar-trunk joint)Part F (Saguaro cactus candle)
Part A (V-grooves)
Part A (V-grooves)
Part B (melt wax in groove over candle flame)
Part B (melt wax in groove over candle flame)
Part D (apply melted green crayon wax to sidebar-trunk joint)
Part D (apply melted green crayon wax to sidebar-trunk joint)
Part F (Saguaro cactus candle)
Part F (Saguaro cactus candle)

Step 5: "Plant" the Saguaro cactus in the terra cotta pot.

  1. Using a Phillips head screwdriver and kitchen knife (both dipped in boiling water), dig a hole of about 0.75" diameter and 0.25-0.5" deep into the wax in the terra cotta pot (see photo below).
  2. Heat the bottom of the Saguaro cactus candle with the flame of a candle and press firmly into the hole (see photos below).
  3. Melt a brown crayon with the flame from a candle and apply to the wax in the terra cotta pot until it is completely covered with brown wax (see photo belows). Apply extra crayon wax around the joint between the terra cotta wax and the cactus.
  4. Let assemblage cool to room temperature undisturbed.

Step 5 Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Part A (dig a hole)Part B (heat bottom of cactus over a flame)Part B (press bottom of cactus firmly into hole)Part C (melt brown crayon over a flame and apply to wax in terra cotta pot)Part C (cover wax in terra cotta pot completely with brown crayon wax)
Part A (dig a hole)
Part A (dig a hole)
Part B (heat bottom of cactus over a flame)
Part B (heat bottom of cactus over a flame)
Part B (press bottom of cactus firmly into hole)
Part B (press bottom of cactus firmly into hole)
Part C (melt brown crayon over a flame and apply to wax in terra cotta pot)
Part C (melt brown crayon over a flame and apply to wax in terra cotta pot)
Part C (cover wax in terra cotta pot completely with brown crayon wax)
Part C (cover wax in terra cotta pot completely with brown crayon wax)

Et Voila!

Do you like cacti candles and other Southwestern-themed art?

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    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Love it!

    • whodiesinthenew profile image

      whodiesinthenew 5 years ago

      Well done! I could not believe this candle is hand-made.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Useful information ..I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      That's is so impressive; I am very pleased by this post. Complete information on this post!!! I really like it things to do carrboro

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      Yep! So crafty, I like how you describe the process step-by-step

    • AndrazP profile image

      AndrazP 6 years ago

      I will definitely use this tip when making Wild West ambient for the Halloween ;) Big like! :)

    • JaneEyre9999 profile image

      JaneEyre9999 6 years ago

      These are adorable. Great lens!

    • proteinweb profile image

      proteinweb 6 years ago

      Mer ha gustado mucho esta lens y la forma tan artística de hacer velas

    • profile image

      kayla_harris 6 years ago

      Cacti candles are so cute!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD. This is great information and a well done lens. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Squidoo LOTD Lenses 2. Hugs

    • profile image

      julia007 6 years ago

      Very insteresting cacti candles! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      jammarti 6 years ago

      Congrats for being the LOTD! Very interesting lens. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      Wow. Very clear and easy to understand. Nice candles. d

    • profile image

      quicpost 6 years ago

      I sure do-thanks for a very good article-I never knew you could make candles at home-I always buy it at the store. Southwestern themed art is lovely!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 6 years ago

      Yes, loved it; great idea, thanks for sharing, cool lens.

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 6 years ago

      What a super cute craft idea - Loved it!!

    • profile image

      SuzanneRachel 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      LOve the idea,it was just amazing Designer Indian Clothes

    • profile image

      atlastechnow 6 years ago

      That's pretty cool, bet the kids would enjoy helping in creation.

    • profile image

      signletters 6 years ago

      Cute candle and nice lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome information. I am really surprised with this topic. Keep up the good work and post more here to read.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Not only is this unique but your instructions I was able to follow. *blessed by a squid angel*

    • bonusprint lm profile image

      bonusprint lm 6 years ago

      Nice lens.Thanks for sharing with us.

    • profile image

      kAAtya 6 years ago

      What a great lens. I love unique candles, and you just gave me a great idea for one. Thanks

    • allenwebstarme profile image

      allenwebstarme 6 years ago

      Excellent! What a unique designed Candles. Love it.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 6 years ago

      Interesting lens, itâs very different. You did a great job presenting this, thanks for taking time to put this together.

      Congratulations on making Popular Pages - Featured Lenses and LOTD. TerrificHonor!

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 6 years ago

      The best person to buy this idea is my son. I am sure he will use his next Sunday for this purpose.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Amazing.. I just loved the idea.. Would try it out for sure.. By the way keep up your good work.. Looking for some more creative ideas.. :)

    • profile image

      wbl 6 years ago

      Great lens :)

    • profile image

      LasgalenArts 6 years ago

      Congrats on your award and thanks for sharing. What a simple idea!

    • NightMagic profile image

      NightMagic 6 years ago

      Congrats on the LOTD. I loved the cacti candles.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      congrats on your LOTD. Well-written lens! Thumbs Up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      congrats on your LOTD. Well-written lens! Thumbs Up!

    • CarreiraS profile image

      CarreiraS 6 years ago

      Congratulations in reaching the first page. I'm a new squid and let me say you are an inspiration to me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LotD honors for your Saguaro Cactus candle tutorial, what a cool and creative idea, now we can all have the Saguaro in our homes and add some interest to our candle making, delightful!...*

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 6 years ago

      Very cool and unique, Blessed

    • profile image

      Lakota429 6 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD!!! Great lens and easy to follow directions. Looks like a lot of fun! A~

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 6 years ago

      Hey your pictures make it look pretty easy. Thanks for sharing such a good idea.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great ideas. Thanks.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I realized I had been mispronouncing Saguaro until I visited Sedona a few years ago. Your candle craft idea is perfect for anyone who appreciates the beauty of this majestic cactus plant. Congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      jaymill 6 years ago

      Yes! This lens is very useful!

    • profile image

      PaulRyan 6 years ago

      For sure and it would make a nice decoration for a themed party, mate.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      These would be a great decoration for a Cinco de Mayo party! Congratulations on LotD!

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 6 years ago

      cool page

    • Ribolov LM profile image

      Ribolov LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens, with a lot of good infomration. Thnx for sharing!

    • neuromancer lm profile image

      neuromancer lm 6 years ago

      Looks funny and awesome.

    • profile image

      spelaspela 6 years ago

      hvala za super idejo, super fotografije za boljše razumevanje

    • squidluck profile image

      squidluck 6 years ago

      very creative idea. unique. thanks for sharing.Congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 6 years ago

      Very nice idea for candles, you can even sell them :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago


    • James20 profile image

      James20 6 years ago

      This is great. I have always loved succulent plants.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I was just in Arizona, but I never saw any of these particular cacti as I was in the north of the state. What a great project though, might have to try it someday! Congrats on LOTD :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great idea

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Wow! That is amazing. Great explanation too! Congrats on Lens Of The Day!! :)

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 6 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Very neat lens to celebrate a great idea! Congrats on LOTD

    • cynthiannleighton profile image

      cynthiannleighton 6 years ago

      Enchanting. Thanks!

      Never even thought of this before!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 6 years ago

      What a great and fun project!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love your creative ideas lens. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I'm loving it.

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 6 years ago

      Very cute and so creative!

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 6 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Great lens and congrats on LOTD. Great tutorial, I may have to give it a try! Blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks your are very creative.

    • justDawn1 profile image

      justDawn1 6 years ago

      Great idea ! Seems simple enough ;) Maybe I'll give it a try :) Thanks for the directions!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I might have to make one of these for my son. He loves the saguaro cactus!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congrats on LOTD! Awesome tutorial.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 6 years ago

      What a fabulous how to create saguaro cactus candles page! Congratulations on Squidoo Lens Of The Day. You have my blessings and a bit o' sunshine!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is a very cute idea. A great idea for a decoration for a Cinco de Mayo party

    • profile image

      Petar 6 years ago

      Neat candles. Congrats on being featured as the lens of the day, very well deserved. Great lens.

    • Whitwillow LM profile image

      Whitwillow LM 6 years ago

      What a great idea!

    • profile image

      fish-oil-expert 6 years ago

      I love cactii. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very cool! Nice lens...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Really cool idea!

      Great lens

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Living in the southwest, I am surrounded by southwest themed art. I have a cactus garden but don't decorate with cactus art. I like this craft and will share it with my crafty ladies group at work. Thanks for sharing.

    • BubblesRFun profile image

      BubblesRFun 6 years ago

      I have never seen anything like this....I'm dying to try to do this! Thanks great lens!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Terrific lens. Congratulations on getting LOTD!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I do love this kind of art, and this cactus candle is so fun! Blessed!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm not a big fan of Southwestern décor, but I know some people who are. This is a really cool craft. Congrats on lotd!

    • parmaggie profile image

      parmaggie 6 years ago

      very nice. cool idea!

    • menskincaretips profile image

      menskincaretips 6 years ago

      Interesting! I never thought of combining cacti and candles, this is a great decoration piece!

    • missyjanette profile image

      missyjanette 6 years ago


    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 6 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Nicely done! Love the results--congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 6 years ago

      Love it! I once watched a saguaro being transplanted. It took several days. Congrats on LOTD!

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 6 years ago

      yes i do. congrats on LOTD

    • KathyBatesel profile image

      KathyBatesel 6 years ago

      Cute! Passing this along.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 6 years ago

      Congrats. on your LotD. Great instructions and very different.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 6 years ago

      Congrats on being chosen for lens of the day, very much deserved.

    • spaderdabomb profile image

      spaderdabomb 6 years ago

      Great lense! Very deserving of LOTD congratz =)

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      This is so clever. Congrats on LOTD.

    • blogalexg profile image

      Alex Graham 6 years ago

      Quite interesting and great for a Sante Fe themed condo! Thanks!


    • profile image

      im1337mi 6 years ago

      Great stuff, thanks for sharing!

    • PennyHowe profile image

      PennyHowe 6 years ago

      Yes, and this is a great idea. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Congratulations on your award. It is much deserved.

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 6 years ago

      What a fun idea! I love candles.

    • fdurham profile image

      fdurham 6 years ago

      How cute and crafty! Congrats on LOTD!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 6 years ago from Albany New York

      Congratulations on LOTD!! So gald to see you here.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 6 years ago from Maryland

      This is a wonderful tutorial. You included just the right pictures to make me feel like I could do this! What a unique kids would love this! :) SquidAngel Blessed!

    • profile image

      YourFirstTime 6 years ago

      Never seen anything like these candles. Great tutorial.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 6 years ago

      I love how realistic the Saguaro candle looks! Nice lens!!

    • virtualboy profile image

      virtualboy 6 years ago

      what a crafty idea, nice lens

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 6 years ago

      Fantastic craft idea. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! That is very clever and looks much more difficult than it actually is. When I saw the picture I first thought you have bought. Well done.

    • profile image

      JennySui 6 years ago

      Congrats on getting LotD!


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