2

votes

How to reproduce "candlelight" without using candles?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 03, 2011 at 7:35 PM

I love candles--the soothing glow, the fascination of fire, the way they flatter people's faces, the lack of sleep-interfering blue-light. However, I have a cat and would really rather not having burning flames lying around just waiting to get knocked over.

What are some good thoughts on how to reproduce the effect of candles using electric lights? Ideally the effect would have the same wavelength of light, similar intensity, etc.

I am not interested in those flameless candles that flicker and run on little batteries. I have one of those already and it looks like it is just trying way too hard to be what it is not. Plus the life of those batteries is ridiculously short.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on July 28, 2012
at 07:32 AM

"Candle light is black-body radiation" Not actually true. No black bodies actually exist.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on November 06, 2011
at 01:04 AM

Vote up. Came here to talk about color temp but you already did.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 04, 2011
at 02:00 AM

I just checked a bunch of websites and they all say between 1850 to 2000K. But it doesn't matter -- you have to turn the dimmer down and match the color by eye anyway. If it's really 1000K you'll just turn the dimmer lower. By the way here's the most interesting site I ran across -- a professional cinematographer explains how he mimics candle light in movies. He does the same thing as described here -- incandescents and dimmers. He says he aims for around 2000K and matches by eye. http://www.deakinsonline.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=26&start=0

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on February 04, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Nice. I should perhaps clarify my question a bit. It's not just that the cat might knock it over, it's that I want to use this type of lighting extensively whenever I feel like it, so I'm not enthusiastic about having open flames all the time, and they are not as easy to light as a lamp, and they lead to sooty walls over time. However, for the occasional real candle, I couldn't agree more!

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on February 04, 2011
at 12:59 AM

Rob, great information! I thought I've seen the color temp of candlelight as 1000K, though? The 20 or 45 watt plus dimmer on a lamp sounds like it will work really well. Sherpamelissa...Awesome! Just what I am looking for.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 04, 2011
at 12:31 AM

Ikea has cheap/easy dimmer switches. http://cgi.ebay.com/IKEA-Light-Lamp-Cord-Dimmer-Switch-/320648861250?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa8295642

Ed79e4d6fa09dd4afc2e4b54cb07f7bf

(90)

on February 03, 2011
at 11:44 PM

I have dimmers on most of my overhead lighting. It's nice to have, especially for getting up in the middle of the night and not wanting the fully awake effect of glaring lights. However, these little LED fake candles are pretty close to the real thing without a flame. Mine are inside frosted glass cylinder holders. No, they don't flicker. But neither do the dimmed sconces in my hallway.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 03, 2011
at 10:28 PM

The original poster wants to reproduce candle light. LEDs cannot duplicate candle light because they don't produce a continuous spectrum. The same thing is true of fluorescents. Only incandescents produce a continuous spectrum.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 03, 2011
at 08:32 PM

These are good answers. And I would bet that even if the cat is curious at first, it will soon lose interest in the candle holders.

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on February 03, 2011
at 07:52 PM

yes, get candle holders that are un-knock-over-able. or ones that mount to walls.

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7 Answers

9
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 03, 2011
at 09:24 PM

What are some good thoughts on how to reproduce the effect of candles using electric lights? Ideally the effect would have the same wavelength of light, similar intensity, etc.

To reproduce candle light electrically, you need an incandescent bulb and a dimmer switch. Here's why:

Candle light is black-body radiation (in other words, it has a continuous spectrum) with a color temperature around 1850 degrees Kelvin.

To simulate it, you need an incandescent bulb because incandescents (including halogens) are the only kind of household bulb that has a continuous spectrum.

Unfortunately, incandescents normally have a color temperature around 3000K. That means they look bluer (less red) than candle light.

To compensate for the difference in temperature, you need to run the incandescent with a dimmer switch. Adjust the dimmer until the color of the bulb is the same as candle light.

If you don't want to bother with a dimmer swtich, a 20 watt incandescent bulb has a color temperature around 2400K. This may be close enough to candle light to satisfy you.

As an alternative, have you considered oil lamps? Some of them were designed to be used in wooden ships and I imagine they are safe even when knocked over.

https://www.vermontlanterns.com/

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 04, 2011
at 12:31 AM

Ikea has cheap/easy dimmer switches. http://cgi.ebay.com/IKEA-Light-Lamp-Cord-Dimmer-Switch-/320648861250?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa8295642

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on February 04, 2011
at 12:59 AM

Rob, great information! I thought I've seen the color temp of candlelight as 1000K, though? The 20 or 45 watt plus dimmer on a lamp sounds like it will work really well. Sherpamelissa...Awesome! Just what I am looking for.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 04, 2011
at 02:00 AM

I just checked a bunch of websites and they all say between 1850 to 2000K. But it doesn't matter -- you have to turn the dimmer down and match the color by eye anyway. If it's really 1000K you'll just turn the dimmer lower. By the way here's the most interesting site I ran across -- a professional cinematographer explains how he mimics candle light in movies. He does the same thing as described here -- incandescents and dimmers. He says he aims for around 2000K and matches by eye. http://www.deakinsonline.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=26&start=0

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on November 06, 2011
at 01:04 AM

Vote up. Came here to talk about color temp but you already did.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on July 28, 2012
at 07:32 AM

"Candle light is black-body radiation" Not actually true. No black bodies actually exist.

5
92549e74c37aed4d5930b22e910dcf22

(382)

on February 03, 2011
at 07:47 PM

Why not get a long heavy vase that you cat couldn't knock over or reach his/hers little kitty paws down in to. Put some decorative glass beads down around the candle. Would be classy and cat proof!

25ed4acfb632d928507f8673bcb0923a

(650)

on February 04, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Nice. I should perhaps clarify my question a bit. It's not just that the cat might knock it over, it's that I want to use this type of lighting extensively whenever I feel like it, so I'm not enthusiastic about having open flames all the time, and they are not as easy to light as a lamp, and they lead to sooty walls over time. However, for the occasional real candle, I couldn't agree more!

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on February 03, 2011
at 07:52 PM

yes, get candle holders that are un-knock-over-able. or ones that mount to walls.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 03, 2011
at 08:32 PM

These are good answers. And I would bet that even if the cat is curious at first, it will soon lose interest in the candle holders.

1
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on November 05, 2011
at 04:47 PM

You need the right flameless candles. Candle Impressions brand is the best there is. Amazingly realistic using a real wax candle. I have about 30 of them and they come with timers so every night at 6:00 they all come on and stay on until midnight. It's the most beautiful thing ever and I don't worry about the animals (or their owner) knocking them over. They run on full sized C and D batteries and the charge lasts about 3 months for me (using rechargeables) Honestly these things are one of my favorite possessions.

1
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on April 07, 2011
at 12:19 PM

There's nothing wrong with actual candles. In order to prevent your cat from getting into them, get some hurricane globes. I have two, and there's no way the cats could knock them over. Plus, it makes it much safer to have on a dining or living room table, as well.

Sooty walls only means you're leaving the wicks too long - trim before you light each time and they shouldn't smoke.

Hurricane Shades

0
2b2c2e4aa87e9aa4c99cae48e980f70d

(1059)

on November 05, 2011
at 01:54 PM

Go to a craft store and look for the electric candles. There are tea lights and larger candles which mimic the feel of flickering candles. I had the same concern with cats and these worked out great.


0
C9c851f5cfb8bad7678b51fabff26615

on April 07, 2011
at 10:09 AM

There's a LED Tea-Light Rechargeable Candle Lamp with Glasses Kit (12 candles) on DealExtreme, that people are very happy with. I have one on the way and could post a review in a few days, if anyone is interested.

UPDATE: I've been using the electric candles for about a year, and I like them. They last for between 3 and 8 hours, and have a switch at the bottom to be turned on or off individually.

0
Ed79e4d6fa09dd4afc2e4b54cb07f7bf

(90)

on February 03, 2011
at 10:18 PM

"hampton bay tea light twin pack" is the name on a package of LED lighted candles I received as an Xmas gift. My husband does not like open flame in the house and these are a nice substitute for real candles. They came from Home Depot.

Google for "LED tea light candles"

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 03, 2011
at 10:28 PM

The original poster wants to reproduce candle light. LEDs cannot duplicate candle light because they don't produce a continuous spectrum. The same thing is true of fluorescents. Only incandescents produce a continuous spectrum.

Ed79e4d6fa09dd4afc2e4b54cb07f7bf

(90)

on February 03, 2011
at 11:44 PM

I have dimmers on most of my overhead lighting. It's nice to have, especially for getting up in the middle of the night and not wanting the fully awake effect of glaring lights. However, these little LED fake candles are pretty close to the real thing without a flame. Mine are inside frosted glass cylinder holders. No, they don't flicker. But neither do the dimmed sconces in my hallway.

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