How to Make Cement Candle Holders

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About: Hi. I'm Richard Neuman. I started making Paper Mache Props for Halloween and didn't stop! Lately I've been making Tiki statues and other outdoor garden sculptures.

These fascinating Tea-light candle holders look great at night and are super-easy to make in no-time at all.

Take an old cloth, dip it in cement and drape it over a cup. Once it cures, turn it upside down, paint it and add a tea light. That’s it!

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Step 1: Supplies

Rapid Set Cement-All
Old face cloth
Paper or Styrofoam cup
Plastic wrap or tinfoil
Non-stick cooking spray.
Battery operated flickering Tea light.
Felt with peel-off sticky backing

Acrylic Paint
Water

X-Acto Knife or scissors
Stainless Steel bowl and spoon
Dust Mask
Gloves

Step 2: Trim the Cloth

Grab an old warn-out facecloth from the back of your linen closet.

The front of the candle holder is shorter than the back so you can see the tea-light reflect off the back of the inside of the candle. It also makes it easier to access the tea light to turn it on and off.

As the opening in the front has less cement than the back, it will be lighter than the back. If you have too much cement at the back of the candle, the unbalanced weight may cause it to tip over.

I recommend cutting away some of the cloth in a kind of star or crown pattern. With less cloth and therefore less cement, it cuts down the weight at the back. This pattern also creates cool looking, gravity-defying pointy sections that mysteriously stick up from the candle for a medieval look.

You can either print out the diagram or design your own shape on your MacBook with a Vector Graphics program like Inkscape.

Step 3: Practice Position

Soak the cloth in water then wring out most of the waterso it’s damp. This will help it absorb cement throughout the entire cloth.

Remember, you’re designing your candle holder upside down.

Set your cloth in place with an opening at the front so you’ll know where to place it once it’s covered in cement. Trim it some more if you’re not happy with the look.

Step 4: Mix the Cement

Put on your dust mask and gloves NOW, ‘cause it’s gonna get messy!!

Rapid Set Cement-All is a fast-setting cement that hardens in about an hour. It’s extremely strong, so once the cloth is soaked in cement and cured, it will be extremely rigid and have no problem sticking straight up above the tea-light.

The standard mixing ratio is 4 parts cement to 1 part water. But we want this mixture to be more runny so the cloth can absorb it better. The ratio will me more like 3-1/2 to 1.

A full face cloth will need around one cup of cement. For this cut-down cloth, you'll need around 3/4 cup. Start with ¼ cup of water in a stainless-steel bowl, then add up to 1 cup of Cement-All a little at a time, stirring as you add. You may not need the entire cup of cement, as the mixture should be the consistency of runny pancake batter.

Step 5: Dip and Place the Cloth

Put the cloth in the bowl and turn it over a few times in the cement to make sure it’s entirely saturated with cement. If the cement starts clumping up, add a little more water.

Drape the cloth over the cup they way you did in the practice position. It may hang differently now that it’s much heavier, but you can still manipulate the cloth to where you want it to a certain degree. Curl back the front edge if you like the look. Keep the opening fairly low on the cup, unless you want the tea-light to be visible.

If you have any cement left over, add a little water to it and give it a vigorous stir until it’s runny again. Pour the cement over the top and let it drizzle down the sides. Cool effect.

Make sure the top is flat as it’s important that the bottom of your candle be level when it’s turned upside down so the candle holder is stable.

Step 6: Painting

Once it’s dry, remove the cup. You can either leave it in its natural cement state or paint it any way you like! You can use acrylic paint or spray paint.

Try watering down some black acrylic paint into a wash and paint the entire candle black first. This will get the deep recesses nice and dark, and allow you to dry-brush the protruding surfaces in another color to make them stand out. Paint the inside gold or silver to reflect the light from the tea light.

Step 7: Felt the Bottom

Trace the bottom of the candle holder onto your felt. Cut, peel and stick. Turn on your tealight, turn out the lights and watch the magic!

Step 8: TIPS

This is a great craft to experiment with. Try different types of cloth material and different containers.Keep your eye on the recycling bin for interesting containers.

A Good size cup or plastic container has a bottom that is slightly larger than the tea-light. Larger containers won’t reflect as much light.

If you think your candle holder is a little top-heavy or tippy, make a small batch of cement and pour it into the bottom of the upright candle holder. This will add more weight to the bottom and make it more stable.

If your cloth has a texture that’s rougher on one side than the other, place the rougher side face down on the cup. This way you’ll have a more interesting look on the inside of the candle holder as the flickering light dances across your awesome creation.

Step 9: WARNINGS

Do not use a regular candle with a flame.

Always wear a dusk mask in a well-ventilated area when working with cement.

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    8 Discussions

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    -Atlantics-

    Question 9 days ago

    Would there by some sort of coating you could put on the cloth to prevent it from burning? I am not a pro so I wouldn't know but I just thought that it would add a sort of wow factor If you could actually use a *real* candle.

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    Mad PropsJimM90

    Answer 13 days ago

    White highly unlikely, it's possible the cloth could catch fire. Just being ultra-cautious.

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    JimM90Mad Props

    Reply 12 days ago

    Oh, OK. I thought it might be about the paint. It is a VERY cool idea and you execute it really well. I think I want to try it. Maybe I'll leave the glass in there, use green, yellow & brown paint, and make it into a planter.

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    satosi

    18 days ago

    I've got the same question....why the suggestion that people not use real candles? Due to the paint used on the inner surface & the possibility of fumes, or....??

    These would also make beautiful lamps, with or without a base. A base could be used to prevent tipping in some less weight-balanced shapes, especially if you hollowed out some of the bottom of the base & glued in some heavier stones or chunks of tile.

    Nice tutorial!

    2 replies
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    Mad Propssatosi

    Reply 13 days ago

    White highly unlikely, it's possible the cloth could catch fire. Just being ultra-cautious.
    Thanks for the tips!

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    satosiMad Props

    Reply 12 days ago

    I think the fabric being encased in concrete would place that outside of the realm of possibility. Regardless, they look very nice. I'm hoping to make some 'dinosaur egg' style candle holders similar to this soon. Thanks again!

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    AnandM54

    21 days ago

    Nice craft!!