I imagine that I'm not the only person who has developed quite a stash of these over the years. Clear votive holders and a variety of tea light candles are common party favors at weddings, showers and everything in between, so I have plenty of non-matching sets sitting around. I do love the twinkling that a few votives can add to a setting, but as far as presentation, they can be a bit of a dud.
So I made myself a few of these.
I originally set out to make all of my votive covers like the blue one pictured above. But once I got working, my plan just kept evolving and I thought of different and "better" ways to do it as I went. I thought I'd share the basics of how I made these 4, and you can copy the method for the cover that you like best, or come up with an even better version.
To start off, I blew up a balloon so that it was slightly bigger than my votive holder, and this would be the base of the votive cover. Since the balloon was a bit lopsided, I used the top of the votive holder as a guide, and made circles around the top and bottom of the balloon with a sharpie. This gave me a guide as to where exactly to wrap the strings, and also ensured that my votive cover had a flat base. I made the bottom circle (the base of the cover) a little smaller since that is where the votive would be sitting, and made the other end (the top of the cover) relatively wide, so that the heat from the candle could escape easily without setting anything on fire. A necessary precaution, I think.
I then turned to my Mod Podge, using a few different methods to get these results I was hoping for.
1.) Paper Painting.
For this first votive holder, the white one, I used white crepe paper and white cotton twine. I started off by cutting several strips of crepe paper about 5 inches long, and in half lengthwise.
I used the Mod Podge as glue to stick the end of the crepe paper to the balloon. I stretched out the paper until it was pulled relatively taut, and then gently painted the Mod Podge over top of the strip, smoothing it down as I went. I had tried dipping the strips, but this kind of paper is so delicate that it kept tearing before I could even get it onto the balloon. Painting on the Mod Podge worked much better, and I covered the balloon strip by strip.
When the crepe paper was dry, it seemed too delicate and like it needed a bit more texture, so I added some cotton twine using method #2.
2.) Twine Dipping.
For this votive cover I wanted a bit of color, so I first soaked some white cotton twine from my stash in watered down blue fabric paint. I let it sit for an hour, wrung it out, and let it dry. I then cut the twine into long strips (about 4 feet long each), dipped into some Mod Podge that I had in a bowl, and started carefully wrapping it around the balloon, wringing it out as I went. I wrapped 2-3 long strips around the balloon, let those dry completely, and then went back and did a few more strips just to try to cover as many of the gaps as possible. This cover took me 4 different sessions of wrapping 3 strips of twine at a time. (Don't worry, it dries out pretty quickly in this hot Illinois heat!)
3.) Twine Painting.
For this votive cover, the brown one, I wrapped the ballon tightly with one long strand of jute twine, tucked the end under, and then painted the Mod Podge onto the threads. It was so easy!
4.) Paper Dipping.
For this one, the newspaper cover, I simply shredded newspaper into 3 inch strips, dipped it into the Mod Podge, and wrapped the strips around the balloon a little at a time. I liked this method because it was easy to cover any little cracks with tiny pieces of newspaper, and kept the translucent look that I would have sacrificed if I layered the paper on too heavily. It was a bit more time consuming, but much easier to work with than the crepe paper.
So which one was my favorite? The grand prize winner goes to...
The newspaper cover!! I'm a sucker for book page crafts, so this one might have had my heart from the beginning! The newspaper is durable enough that I don't feel like it is about to rip, but is thin enough that the light still shines through with a bit of a funky glow.
Which one do you like? I'm sure you have some great ideas on how to improve on this project, and I'd love to hear them! I still have many more clear votive holders floating around the house...
Also, I feel a bit obligated to say, if you do make one of these, please make sure that the top of the cover is wide and higher than the flame. They are made out of paper and string, so, as with all fire items, please do not leave your candles unattended, even if they are outfitted in beautiful new covers!
I hope you like these and they can help banish a few of the boring votive holders in your home. Please check out the link parties hosted by these amazing ladies here, and I'll see you next Monday. Happy Memorial Day!!