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How to: Make DIY Colorful Holiday Votive Candles with Hot Glue!

by on Nov 14, 2013

I came up with this idea one night while watching Project Runway. Designer Justin LeBlanc created a hot glue embellished dress, and I wanted to turn that technique into a decorative holiday project for the home. The process was super simple, super affordable, and I totally love how they turned out. Let’s make some!

The great thing about this project is that the list of materials is really quite short. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • A clear glass vase* 
  • A hot glue gun with lots of extra glue
  • Spray paint
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • A votive or small candle

Paint, vegetable oil, a candle and a glue gun.

*The vase should be one uniform width all the way up so you can easily slip the glue layer off of the vase and back on. It should also be at least 4 inches wide so that the heat from the candle doesn’t melt the glue when you’re finished. This is very important.

Do it yourself glass candle holder step by step guide with hot glue.

1. The first thing to do is coat the vase with vegetable oil spray. If too much oil builds up, simply blot it with a paper towel so there’s an even, thin coat on all outside surfaces of the vase.

2. Next, begin adding glue to the bottom of the vase in your desired pattern. I chose swirls for my round vase. They key is to make sure that the glue overlaps in many spots on the vase so it will hold together once you remove it.

3. It should look like this once you’ve finished the bottom.

4. Now use the same technique on the sides, making sure to overlap the glue swirls onto the ones you’ve just created on the bottom. You may want to wear protective gloves because the hot glue will heat up the glass.

Different patterned materials are bent into rounded shapes.

5. Once the glue has dried and cooled, it’s time to remove it from the vase. Use your fingers to carefully lift the glue layer. You may find that a small screwdriver or other tool helps with this process.


6. Slide the glue completely off of the vase. Wash the vase and the glue layer (very carefully) with dish soap to remove the vegetable oil spray. Let it dry completely.

7. It should look something like this.

8. Once the glue has dried off, bring it outside and spray paint it according to the instructions on the can. Let the paint dry thoroughly and slide it back onto the vase… and that’s it!

A lit tea candle inside of a glass cup covered in a swirly red design.

Rectangular vases also work, as long as they are no wider at the top than they are at the bottom. But again, ensure that your vase is at least 4 inches wide at its narrowest point. I chose a geometric design for this one, to accentuate its rectangular shape. 

A lit tea candle in a tall rectangular vase with criss crossed gold lines on the outside.

If you’re doing a similar geometric design, be sure to add a line of glue around the top edge of the vase to reinforce it. I chose gold spray paint for this one, giving it a metallic look. My dog Charlie seems to like it.

A votive candle resting on a stack of books.

These votive holders are perfect for the holidays, and they make great gifts for everyone on your list.

Red and gold candle holders on book on small table near couch.

They also double as flower vases if candles aren’t your thing. Your friends won’t believe that you made them! 

Two different votive candle holders made of hot glue, one red and cylindrical and the other square with gold piping.


Looking for more seasonal DIY projects and ideas?Sugared red berries on a vine.


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  1. Just came across this. I’ll be using colored glue sticks tho, to eliminate a few steps. Thank you for the inspiration!