Math is Real Life: DIY Advent Candles

by | Nov 25, 2018

Dinner during the month of Christmas was always special at my house growing up.  Each night, we’d burn a special candle that my Aunt Carol gave us.  It was no ordinary candle, but an advent candle.  This candle made each night in December so cozy and special.

This tradition has continued on with my own family.  At the end of each November, I make these advent candles for my mother and siblings.  I adore this simple craft because it also involves a little bit of math.


Creating My Own Advent Candles

As I thought about gifts for friends and family this year, I wanted to share something meaningful to me and remembered…the candle.  I checked online to see how much advent candles were and was stunned to find them as much as $7 a stick!  I was planning on giving these out to a lot of people and knew that wouldn’t fly with my budget.  So of course, I set out to Pinterest.

I found this pin and decided to try it with oil based Sharpies instead of regular ones.  The theory being that they would stay juicy on the candle.  This pin from Rainbow Stitch didn’t go into detail about how far apart the numbers needed to be or how to keep your numbers straight.  Math to the rescue!


The Real World Math!

The candles I selected from the dollar store were 10 inches long.  I can’t use the entire length of the candle for the numbers, so I chose to work with 9 inches of space.  I also knew that working with a ruler I had fourths, eighths, and sixteenths to work with for measurement.  Through my reasoning, I knew that fourths would be too big of a measurement and eights might be as well.   I wondered how many sixteenths were in 9 inches. So, I began figuring out the steps: 

Step 1:
9 x 16 = 144

Step 2:
There are 24 nights before Christmas, so I knew that I needed to divide 144 by 24 to figure out my measurement for the numbers.
144 ÷ 24 =  6
so….I needed a number every 6/16 on the candle.

Step 3:
Ah ha!  I could use this measurement above or I could reduce this fraction by dividing it by a 2/2 (a copycat one).
6/16 ÷ 2/2 = 3/8

I like this one much better!

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Here are the directions for making your own advent candle:



  1. Cut a piece of making tape about 9 inches long and place on your ruler.  Mark every 3/8 inches on the tape until you’ve reached 9 inches.
  2. Pull the tape off of the ruler and place onto the length of the candle.  Be sure to keep your tape straight.  Use your oil-based Sharpies and press down the tip on a scrap piece of paper to get the flow of the paint going.  Start at the top of the candle and write the number one proceeding down the candle until you reach 24.
  3. Write the odd numbers on one side of the lines and the even numbers on the other side.  This gives you more room to write!
  4. When you are finished writing the numbers, draw a star at the bottom to signify that Christmas Day has come.  I decided to decorate the back of my candles a little more by adding swirls, candy canes, and lights.


Math is Real Life: DIY Advent Candles
Math is Real Life: DIY Advent Candles

November is winding down and I just finished making my advent candles for my family.  I’m super excited to create the warm cozy feelings again for my family this year.  If you enjoyed this craft, please share with your friends and loved ones!

Adrianne Meldrum

Adrianne Meldrum

Owner of Math for Middles

I’m the owner and creator of the math videos here at Math for Middles.  I’ve tutored students for over ten years.  When I am not creating here, you’ll find me down by the river with my family.  Interested in working with me?  Connect with me here.

Math is Real Life: DIY Advent Candles

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