By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Have you been invited to some holiday parties this month and are stuck for cheap and cheerful hostess gifts? Here is a Homespunspa-style craft project that will be sure light up any party — Votive Candles.
I came up with this craft project many years ago to enhance the table setting for my family’s Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. And everyone got to take one home afterwards. I spent many hours walking up and down the aisles at my local Michael’s store trying to figure out how this would all come together and I was really pleased with the result.
When I first conceived this idea, I wasn’t expecting the candlelight to flicker through the coloured glass gems. As the 12-course meal progressed, a lovely pattern appeared around each candle on the white table cloth. It was like the light was dancing.
Dancing Light Votive Candles – A Home Spa Craft Project
To make 12 candles, you will need the following supplies that are all available at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store:
- 1 to 3+ value pack bags of glass gems in any translucent colour (clear, red, green, purple, blue, etc.) (most likely found in the floral department).
- 12 glass votive cups (you can get bigger quantities by the box).
- 1 value pack of votive candles, scented or unscented (I like vanilla for the aromatherapy and because of the off-white colour but the scent might compete with your menus).
- 1 bottle of Crafter’s Pick, The Ultimate Glue (it’s a non-toxic water-based glue that sticks to glass and dries clear).
- 1 towel-lined baking sheet (for drying).
- Decide on a bead pattern you would like to glue on to your votive cups — either flowers, diamonds, crosses, rings, squares, abstract polka dots, etc. — these ideas are totally customizable and free form.
- Make sure the glass is at room temperature, otherwise the beads will slide off before they set. (I figured that out that hard way).
- You can only work on one side of the round candle at a time and can’t turn the candle even slightly until after the glue dries (at least 15 minutes). It is best to set up a production station and work on several candles at once while you wait for the glue to dry.
- To make a flower pattern like in the above photo for example, prop a glass votive on a towel so it doesn’t roll. To make your first flower petal, apply a dab of glue on a glass gem and stick it approximately 1 centimeter or 1/2 inch down from the top ridge of the cup and press the bead with your thumb for a few seconds to secure. Then, stick another gem (using the same colour or not) underneath the first petal. You should have some space between the bottom edge of the gem and the bottom edge of the cup. Now you’ve got your first column. Set aside face up on a towel-lined baking sheet to dry. Meanwhile, you can repeat this step on the other candles you are making.
- Once the first column is set, take another gem (maybe a second or third colour?) and place it half-way in between and next to your first two gems in the middle of the glass votive. This is the flower’s center. Then using two more gems that are roughly the same size as the others, stick one gem above the center and one gem below. Now you’ve got 2/3rds of your flower glued. Place on the baking sheet again to dry and move on to the other candles.
- Once these gems have dried, you are ready to glue on the last two petals of your flower. Keep them lined up with the first two and there you have it.
- Once all of the glass beads have completely dried, pop in a candle. That’s all there is to it. You can either light the candle now or wrap it in tissue for a gift.
This project is more time-consuming than difficult. The finished product will last years and years and the gems won’t come off from the candle’s heat. The only problem is they’re hard to clean once the wax has melted into the cups.
I hope you enjoy making these candles. Let me know what you think of this idea and whether or not you would like to see more craft project instructions on my blog.