Monday, May 31, 2010

Blah to Beautiful Votive Covers

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.

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!!




Al May 31, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

What cleaver ideas - I love the one with the strings.

Decorchick! May 31, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

I love these! So very creative!! Great job. Visiting from Mad in Crafts. :)

Chelsey May 31, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

Wow! These are amazing. I love this idea! This is perfect for our master bedroom redo :)

Ann @ makethebestofthings May 31, 2010 at 1:29 PM  

Love the candlelight thru all of these treatments. What a great way to add texture and interest to plain old glass candle holders!

The Polka Dot Closet May 31, 2010 at 8:32 PM  

What a great idea, it would be an inexpensive way to add candles to a big event!

Alyssa May 31, 2010 at 11:14 PM  

These are awesome!
I love them all.


Delia June 1, 2010 at 12:12 AM  

Very unique and looks cool! I bet I could do this with my kids too. :)Thanks!

Jennifer Juniper June 1, 2010 at 9:19 AM  

I love how the flame glows through the paper and string. I can just picture them lining a windowsill at an outside party!

Lelan @ Good Gravy! June 1, 2010 at 5:52 PM  

Ridiculously cute!!!

Patrice June 1, 2010 at 8:41 PM  

I love the blue string one, but they are all great!

Vicky June 2, 2010 at 8:22 AM  

great post! Easy, inexpensive...I am telling my niece about it. She has a beach wedding this summer, and i think ones covered in twine would be beachy! Thanks for sharing!

Jelli June 2, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

I AM making this as soon as I move next month. What a great idea, and oh so budget friendly (exactly what I need!) Thanks a million!

Sandy June 2, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

These are fantastic, what a great idea to use everyday materials to jazz things up a bit!

Stephanie Lynn @Under the Table and Dreaming June 2, 2010 at 11:28 PM  

Super cute! Love the twine! Great idea for sprucing up those plain glass holders {I seem to have a little collection of them myself} Thanks so much for joining The Sunday Showcase. I greatly appreciate it! Hope you are enjoying your week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

Lindsey June 3, 2010 at 8:53 PM  

wow! those turned out so beautiful!! and it looked easy, so i just might have to try it:)

Helena June 3, 2010 at 10:03 PM  

Um, awesome idea! I've seen people use similar techniques for decor balls, but as a votive holder?? Amazing.

Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} June 4, 2010 at 7:38 AM  

I'm loving that blue dyed twine! Such a gorgeous color. Great idea to dress up your votives!

Becca Ross June 4, 2010 at 8:33 AM  

So clever! I see a kindergarten mother's day project in my future! Thanks for linking up to Home and Family Friday!


Helena June 4, 2010 at 9:15 AM  

I'm featuring this too! You guys have such great ideas.

memakingdo June 4, 2010 at 10:15 AM  

I love these great job!

sydney @ sewineededapaycheck June 4, 2010 at 10:40 PM  

these are awesome. loving the twine (natural and colored). wonder what would happen with some pliable twigs. Reminds me of my paper mache days!

Beverly {Flamingo Toes} June 4, 2010 at 11:24 PM  

Oh these are just great! It's so hard to decide what I like best - maybe I need to make them all for different rooms! Thanks so much for the clear tutorial. :)

Funky Junk Interiors June 5, 2010 at 1:30 AM  

Totally adorable! Funky even :) I love the rustic touches and that they're so different yet the same. Cool. :)

Thanks for linking up to SNS!

Erin @ The Little Apartment June 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM  

wow, great inspiration! thank you.. it opens up a whole new world of possibilities (:

KimMalk June 5, 2010 at 6:14 PM  

I think I like the crepe paper and white string, so clean looking. But they are all great.

Fawnda@Fireflies and Jellybeans June 6, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

These are FABULOUS!

I featured you here:

Amy June 9, 2010 at 9:32 AM  

So cute! I had a similar idea, too! I love the use of the twine!

Jen @ Letsmakeitours September 1, 2010 at 9:05 AM  

Awesome idea! I can't wait to try this. I have a couple hundred of those votives left over from our wedding (5 years ago lol) that need to be sold, but I think I will hang on to a few!

Kate September 3, 2010 at 8:03 PM  

I love these! I can't wait to make some for this autumn/winter. Congrats on the CSI top ten!

N√≠tdia March 6, 2011 at 5:34 AM  

Great! Posted here

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