A few years ago the kids and I made some fall-themed votive candle holders for St. Martin’s Day lanterns using baby food jars and red, orange, and yellow tissue paper. The kids could not have been much older than four and two when we made them, but they turned out beautiful.

I pull them out every fall and fill them with candles to enjoy them time and time again. So when we started searching for simple gifts even the littlest kids could make, these were the first idea on our list.

For more great DIY Christmas gifts kids can make be sure to check out our landing page with ideas, tutorials, and printable downloads.

Colorful Votive Holders: DIY Christmas Gifts

Votive Candle Holder Supplies

  • Clear Glass Votive Candle Holders. Any shape or size will do. The smaller ones worked well for the younger crafters. We liked these round ones for the older kids.
  • Colored Tissue Paper. Make sure you do NOT use artist tissue paper, but regular gift wrap or non-bleed tissue paper. The colors in artist tissue paper bleeds when damp, which is great for some projects, but not for this one.
  • Foam Brushes
  • Mod Podge – Matte or glossy; both work nicely
  • Paper plates for easy clean-up
  • Bowls for paper squares
  • Spray Acrylic Sealer
  • Patterns for designs, printed on cardstock already pre-cut by an adult (optional — patterns provided below)
  • Scissors
  • Paper cutter
  • Tape (optional)
  • Exacto knife (optional)

Votive Candle Holder Instructions

  1. Cut your tissue paper. We used the paper cutter to cut one inch wide strips and then the scissors to snip them into squares. We didn’t measure, but they ended up being about a 1″ x 1″ square. We separated the colors into bowls so the kids would have easy-access to the colors they wanted.
  2. Prepare your workspace by laying down old newspaper and placing out paper plates with a good puddle of Modge Podge in the middle. Distribute your bowls of paper squares down the center of the table.Colorful Votive Holders Pattern
  3. If the child wants to do a pattern design on their votive, first have them trace the pre-cut template onto a larger square of tissue paper and then carefully cut it out and lay it aside.
  4. Take another copy of the pattern — this one does not have to be carefully cut — and tape it to the inside of the glass container. Tell the child NOT to cover the area within the pattern outline with tissue paper squares.
  5. For best results with the patterns, you will want to use the Exacto knife as the child works (and the tissue paper is still damp) to cut away any parts of the squares covering the design area.
  6. We were not so exact with ours. They still turned out beautiful, but the designs are not as distinct as they could be — especially when lit. The desired effect is up to you and your child and the amount of work you want to put into making things just right.Colorful Votive Holders Glue
  7. Using your foam brush, cover a small area of the glass with glue. It doesn’t need to be gloppy and working in a smaller area — say 2″ x 2″ at a time — ensures the glue doesn’t dry too quickly.
  8. Place a square of tissue paper on the votive and smooth it out. Continue placing tissue paper squares around the votive slightly overlapping and smoothing as you go. As you fill a section smooth a thin layer of Modge Podge over the tissue paper and then begin the next section.Colorful Votive Holders Paper
  9. Continue adding tissue paper until the entire votive is completely covered. This is where some of our younger crafters had to be encouraged to finish.Colorful Votive Holders young crafters
  10. If you chose to use one of the design templates put it in place last and cover it with a thin coat of Modge Podge.
  11. Let the votives dry completely — at least 24 hours and then cover them with a thin layer of spray acrylic. Then light them and enjoy!Colorful Votive Holders Spray

The printable tutorial and seasonal patterns are hosted at Craftsy. Click here to download them.

You will need to register for a free Craftsy account if you do not already have one. While you are there be sure to check out the huge selection of online classes and project tutorials — many of them free.

Colorful Votive Holder Tutorial

The votives are almost fool-proof for even your youngest crafter and make a beautiful seasonal gift. Be sure to make some in fall colors for the Thanksgiving table or with a traditional Christmas motif. Bright spring colors make them a wonderful Mother’s Day gift as well.

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For more great DIY Christmas gifts kids can make be sure to check out our landing page with ideas, tutorials, and printable downloads.

Pam Barnhill

Pam Barnhill

Pam is the author of The Your Morning Basket Guide and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. She also is the host of three popular  podcasts -- The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Your Morning Basket, and The Homeschool Solutions Show. She lives in the Deep South with her husband and three kids, where she is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a just a pep talk on a rough day.
Pam Barnhill
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