DIY votives: vintage candle holders made from glasses

DIY votives: vintage candle holders made from glassesOver at Hammer Like a Girl, we usually try to use materials that have been cast off, scrounged, or salvaged. So when we first were planning this DIY votives project, we thought it would be a great idea to use cut-off bottles. You’ve all seen the technique online – soak string in acetone, wrap it around a bottle, light it on fire,

turn turn turn to get an even burn and when the flame starts to die down, dunk it ice water, and the bottle breaks where the string was, essentially turning a bottle into a glass. It sounds so cool (and easy). We went out and bought acetone, dug in our recycling bins and went to work. Maybe we were doing something wrong, but for the life of us, we could not get a nice clean break. The edges were jaggedy, like something you’d see in a bar fight. So with singed arm hair, we went to the Goodwill, where we bought 3 glasses for $.69/each instead. Here’s some instructions – not how to singe your arm hair – but for making unique decoupage votive candle holders.

You will need:

  • Drinking glasses, preferably with straight sides
  • Ephemera of your choice – we used an old poetry book, a fiction magazine, and old postage stamps
  • Antique Matte Mod Podge
  • Brush
  • X-Acto knife
  • Fine sand paper (220 grit)
  • Bottle for holding the glass while decoupaging

First find some clear drinking glasses – the straighter the sides the better. We lucked out at Goodwill and found a large, a medium, and a small glass, making a perfect little varied size “set”.

GlassesSelect some of your favorite papers to cover your votive holders. Old wrapping paper, books, magazines, craft paper work great. We used an old poetry book, stamp collection and a literary magazine from 1954 (with a great orange advertisement for whiskey).

Ephemera Ephemera_stampsCut the paper so it is slightly larger than the glass. The paper should hang over the top and bottom edges. If the paper is too small to go all the way around the glass, that’s ok, you can just piece another paper over the top and cover the gap.


Spread Mod Podge onto the back of the paper.

ModPodgeBackTurn the glass on its side, and lay the paper over the top of the glass, letting the excess paper hang off the top/bottom edges.

ModPodge_wrappingRoll the glass on the table until the paper covers the glass.

ModPodge_wrap2Smooth the paper onto the glass, working from the center outward to the edges.

ModPodge_smoothIf you have a gap, cut another piece of paper to cover it. Keep the design in mind, here’s a chance to add a little interest.

ClosingGapLet the decoupage dry thoroughly  – a couple hours should do.

Trim the excess paper off the top by using an X-Acto knife. Gently poke the blade through the paper and using the edge of the glass as a guide, trim off excess paper.

TrimTopRepeat along the bottom edge.

TrimBottomIf needed, touch up areas along the bottom of the glass (where it curves) with Mod Podge.

TouchUpBottomGently press down/in with fingers, working your way around the glass.

PressDownBottomLet Mod Podge dry thoroughly. If the edges are a little rough, you can take fine sandpaper and gently touch up the edges, sanding in an inward direction.

SandEdgesPlace the glass upside-down on a stand of some sort (we used a soda bottle, a glass and bottle of paint) and apply a coat of Mod Podge to the outside.

FinalCoatLet it dry and repeat with another coat of Mod Podge.

FinalCoatDryingBottlesThere you go!  A simple project (if you skip the part where you light your arm hair a string on fire) that has some fun effects when you place lit candles inside. You can customize and use your favorite pattern papers, kids drawings, etc…

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DIY votives: vintage candle holders made from glasses


Votives_final_litDIY votives: vintage candle holders made from glasses DIY votives: vintage candle holders made from glasses DIY votives: vintage candle holders made from glasses
How to create pretty vintage votive holders with Mod Podge and old glasses!


  1. says

    Amy, those are cute! Love the stamps. I am glad I am not the only one who cannot get that burning string, acetone, ice water trick to work. I tried many times and it wouldn’t break at all or not a clean break. I gave up luckily without any injuries.
    Off the subject but I recently found sock monkey print fabric and made a baby quilt for my niece and gave it as a gift with a sock monkey. It is a silvery grey minky fabric on the back with a red ruffle around it. Awe, I know you like those.

    • says

      I haven’t tried with fabric, but would think it would work just fine! The only thing that may not work quite as well is trimming off the excess top/bottom. The paper is stiff so it works to use an X-Acto, but the fabric would be more soft and would flex a lot when you try to slice through it. The bottom edge you could just tuck underneath (no one would see it) but the top edge looks nice when it ends at the lip of the glass. Good luck, give it a try! :)