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About this Workshop


Join me for this Workshop and you will learn about the most famous Japanese characters and paint them in a candle with acrylic.

The use of candles for the purpose of relaxation and decoration is very prevalent in Asian cultures like Japan’s. Painted candles – also known as e-rosoku – are sumptuous items that were long prized among samurai families. Delicate and vivid patterns such as chrysanthemums, plum blossoms and peonies are painted onto candles made of natural Japanese wax extracted from the fruits of lacquer trees.

Drawing a kanji (a Japanese character) on a candle is a way of expressing your wishes for your own home or for whomever you want to give that candle to. Kanji is symbolic or logographic. It is the most common means of written communication in the Japanese language, with more than 50,000 different symbols according to some estimates. Each kanji has a history, a meaning and a way to be drawn.

Floral painted candles originated in Tohoku (northern Japan). During the harsh winters it was difficult to get fresh flowers, therefore people started to paint flowers on the candles and used them on Buddhist altars at their homes.

To paint or draw on round surfaces, such as walls and domes, we will mix up the experience by using  a technique that originated in Europe.

In Western countries, people use a similar craft on many occasions like birthdays, weddings or funerals. It may be known as a "Birthday Candle," "Memorial Candle" or "Anniversary Candle" depending on the occasion. In Japan – just like floral painted candles – the Kanji candle may be used any time of the year and also can be a nice gift for your loved ones.

Many people purchase decorative candles in stores but most of them are not painted. Typically you can find sticker labels for candles or use decal paper to decorate them, but whenever I have presented a gift of a candle painted by myself, I see that people are joyfully surprised and grateful. A homemade gift is always more precious than a pre-made one.

I have taught this craft, and variations, at the Japan Club of Guam between 2005 and 2010, and to many friends and acquaintances who became interested in it. I believe anyone can do it regardless of age or skill.

I hope to paint some candles with you!

Please note: This Workshop is recommended for ages 8+ and requires patience and a steady hand.

What You'll Need

GLOkit What's a GLOkit?


Japanese Kanji Candle GLOkit

This GLOkit contains a candle, a #2 paintbrush, acrylic paint, and a sheet of Kanji symbols.

GLOkit Included
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Additional Supplies

Learners will also need:

  • A ballpoint pen 
  • Masking tape
  • A glass of water
  • A palette, or a dish, for their paint

Technical Requirements

You will need a device (computer or tablet) that is equipped with a camera, microphone, and speakers. For more information, please check out our Technical Requirements page.

Meet the Instructor

instructor headshot

Santiago Flor CaraviaView Profile

Hello, my name is Santiago.  I was raised in Ecuador, but I have lived in the US for around 10 years, and in Japan for 20 years.  Therefore, my countries and my cultural backgrounds are now many, and I have been enriched by all of them in so many different ways. My personal artwork embodies the beautiful nature of Ecuador, the impetuosity of Spain, the practical ways of America, and the Japanese sense of beauty.

Near my hometown in Ecuador there is a small village called San Antonio where absolutely everybody is dedicated to crafting. Even today they produce all sorts of wooden arts and crafts for all seasons.

Throughout my life I have been creative.  The first time I made something special was a portrait of my roommate's mother. We were away at college, and he was missing her a lot.  To this day that portrait hangs on the wall in his mother's home.

I believe one of the most fulfilling moments in life is when you can share artistic values and ideas with others. It makes people happy and it makes you grow along with them.


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NOTE: You can choose any available date on the calendar and rest assured that your GLOkit(s) WILL arrive before your workshop time! We only display dates/times that allow time to ship.

Workshop Reviews


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Great experience for the students!

by Elizabeth on

The artist was so patient and the kids really enjoyed the experience. They were very proud of their projects. Thank you!

workshop poster

Japanese Kanji Candle