House & Home

DIY Upcycled Candle Holders

Posted November 21, 2012 2:35 p.m. EST

I can't even remember the last time I bought a candle holder. Actually, I don't know that I've ever bought a candle holder, come to think of it. And why would I? No need, when there are so many fun and functional freebies just lying around, ready to be upcycled into an eco-friendly fire display.

Truly, there are about a million and one ways to turn old odds and ends into new candle holders – with results ranging from the quirky to the elegant to the edible, and everything in between. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Bottles: Obviously, right? Wine bottles, beer bottles, soda bottles – these all make excellent stand-ins for a standard candle stick. I especially love old wine bottles topped with those candles that look white, but drip rainbow-colored wax. But any bottle will do, and any tall candle will do. These look especially pretty when grouped together in very large numbers.

2. Mason jars: Again, it's obvious, but their charm is undeniable and I couldn't not include them. Mason jars are perfect for votives or tea lights. They come in so many sizes which allows you to really customize your look. Also, try filling them half full with interesting objects like sand, pebbles, marbles, or brightly colored salt (easy to make, just salt + food coloring + time to air dry), and then placing the candle on top of the filling. You can also gussy up a mason jar by tying pretty ribbon around it – red gingham for a country feel, raffia for a luau, and on. If you're a good painter, or even an amateur, you can dress up a Mason jar by painting it.

3. Dishes: But not just any dishes, of course. My favorite old dishes happen to be vintage tea cups, which are perfectly adorable for holding little tea lights. Bonus points (and maximum cuteness) if you have the matching saucer. Other favorites are vintage drinking glasses, either fun colored glass or clear glass featuring some sort of funky graphic pattern like big bright 1960's flower-power flowers. Drinking glasses are just great for holding your votives.

Here's a super sly trick to keep the wax from adhering to the dish, thus ruining it: put about a centimeter of water in the bottom. It won't disturb the candle and it will keep the wax from sealing tight.

4. Upside-down wine glass: A wine or champagne glass, flipped on its head, makes an elegant and unexpected candle display. The base is naturally inverted making it perfect to hold a tea light, which looks lovely suspended on the tall delicate stem. For extra pizzazz, add a pretty object underneath the glass. It's like a miniature bell jar! Something like a big bright flower (no stem, just the bloom flush on the table), or a pine cone, or a sea shell.

5. Fruits and vegetables: Yes! This is such a sweet way to present tea lights as part of a table spread. Just cut out a hole in the top of an apple or orange or any other similar fruit. Use the unlit tea light to get the width and depth correct. The best part is that these will smell sweet, too! Or, make an artichoke tea light holder. Another way to use fruit: Austin handyman Walt and his design blogger wife Morgan of Casa Cullen featured a huge glass bowl full of apples with a chunky pillar candle lodged right in the middle. It's a statement piece that only requires a big glass bowl, apples, and a candle.

6. Also, check out these cool ideas posted on

Have you repurposed any strange items into candle holders? Please share your ideas in the comments!

Sayward Rebhal writes for

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