This week’s DIY is a bit late. I was waiting for the clay to dry, which took forever! That said, one of my DIY dreams has always been to make a clay candle holder. Call it a Ghost complex, but I am constantly draw to working with clay only to remember, oh, yeah, you don’t have a clay wheel or terracotta oven. But a couple of days ago, I was thinking about DIY Christmas present ideas and I started fixating on clay candles. I love beautiful scented candles and I think they make the most decadent presents. Long story short, I decided to give it a go. I’ll admit this is not the quickest or the easiest DIY. The trick is to keep your hands really wet and summon all your zen patience. But the effort is well worth it. This clay candle holder is gorgeous and earthy and the perfect combination of artisanal, but still sleek and high-end looking enough for you pass it off as shop bought.
air-dry modelling clay
gold and white acrylic paint
microwave safe bowl
gingerbread scented candle fragrance oil
Grab a golf ball sized piece of clay. Shape into a sausage and flatten either end on your work surface.
Use your middle finger to poke a hole 2/3 of the way through the sausage. Slowly start widening the hole by using your finger and thumb to pinch the clay upwards, while you rotate. Once it’s wide enough, use two fingers to continue pitching and pulling until your clay begins to look like a water glass.
Grab your teaspoon, dip it in some water and use it to smooth and even out the walls of your clay candle holder. Try not to press. It’s better to rub the spoon along the walls as if you’re icing a cake. This will give you the smoothest surface.
Place your candle holder on a flat plate. Press down to flatten the bottom. Wet your hands and start smoothing the outer surface. The wetter your hands are, the easier it’ll be to get a smooth finish. Rub rather than press, while you rotate the plate. Keep working until all the walls are about the same width and the rim is smooth. This is the time consuming bit, so make sure you’re streaming something good! Leave to dry for 2-4 days. The clay will turn white as it dries.
Grab your acrylic paints and blend together until you have a really soft muted tone. Brush broad strokes in a criss cross pattern. Don’t put too much paint on your paintbrush at once. The flicks of paint are meant to be really light. Work in a random pattern, brushing up and down, until you’re happy with the checks. I love this technique because every brush stroke is a different tone, some lighter, some darker, plus it looks deliberately casual, which covers up my painting ineptitude.
Place your soy wax in the microwave safe bowl and carefully melt in the microwave, add a few drops of gingerbread scented candle fragrance oil and set aside. Use a hot glue gun to secure your wick to the base of your candle holder. Wait a minute for it dry and then pour in the wax until it almost reaches the rim. Leave to set and snip off any extra wick.
I used gingerbread scented oil to give my candles a festive air, but you can use whatever fragrance you like. And that’s how you DIY a clay candle holder! I know it seems like a lot of work, but no particular skills are required, just a bit of patience. Think of it as an evolution of the homemade candle, just a whole lot more special!