Project of the Month
November 2000
by Nanette Fladung

Votive Candle Holder


I start with a small glass votive from Wal-mart. If you ask, you can buy them by the case from Wal-mart. I have found Wal-mart prices very competitive, even compared to wholesale prices. Plus, by picking them up at the store, you don't need to worry about breakage.

I start this project with a simple green to gold Skinner blend.

I used the thick setting on the pasta machine to make my blend.

You can see that the sheet of clay is not large enough to completely cover the glass votive. This is GOOD! I won't end up with a lot of excess clay.

Plus, the votive will look more delicate because I will end up wrapping it with a 1/16 thick sheet of clay, not 1/8 inch sheet of clay.

I want to end up with a continuous color around the votive so I pass this sheet through the pasta machine to stretch it out.

This is the orientation I used of the blend to the pasta roller. This will increase the width, but not the height of my blend.

I now have just enough clay to completely wrap my little candle holder.

I decided to put the green on the bottom and the gold at the top. I then smoothed the seem by cutting away the excess clay and blending it with my fingers.

I also removed the excess clay from the top and bottom.

While the vessel at this point looked perfectly lovely, I decided I wanted to have some light holes for the candle to shine through.

I have several one inch cookie cutters I have collected over the years. I chose a simple leaf design to use as an embellishment for my candle holder.

Using the small cookie cutter, I pressed the leaf design into the raw clay.

Because of the curvature of the candle holder, it is difficult to completely cut through the clay with the cutter.

So I used a needle tool (actually a hat pin) and finished cutting through any areas that need some extra assistance.

After cutting out my leaf shaped light holes, I could have left the outside smooth. But for this example, I decided to imprint the clay with a leaf.

I used a mum leaf because they are small, yet have lots of interesting detail.

I then brushed the edges of the leaf with Pearl Ex® powders. I used a lot of different metallic colors. One of my favorites is Sunset Gold.

After the Pearl Ex® powder has been applied, I shifted the leaf slightly. You can see here the clean edge formed by this technique.

Oh! One last thing. When using Pearl Ex® powders, you need to seal the finished products, so the Pearl Ex® does not rub off over time.

I normally use Future® Floor Polish. A water based polyurethane such as Flecto-Varathane® works well too.

Of course, glazes made by the polymer clay manufacturers also work well.

Another view of the votive, looking through the top and showing some of the cut outs. You can also see the impressed veins from some of the leaves used.

Below are two different votive holders. Both are very easy to make, but very different from the project shown here. These votive holders are great to set out around your living space, perhaps during a meditation session or just a night of taking it easy.


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