As an artist and homeowner, Donna enjoys creating unique decorative items and holiday ornaments to welcome all to her artistic abode.
Bright pumpkins are a cheery way to welcome the fall season and decorate for Halloween and Thanksgiving. This easy tutorial shows how to make some festive candle holders using pumpkins, recycled glassware, and autumn trimmings. These candle holders can be embellished in a number of ways by using a variety of materials and decorations. You can dress them up to be fancy for a special dinner party, or leave them rustic to match your fall decor!
I made these candle holders for less than $5 each using foam pumpkins, recycled glass jars, and a few floral decorations from the craft store. These holders are a great way to make a couple more fall projects using whatever leftover bits you have from your other decorating!
Can I Use Real Pumpkins to Make Candle Holders?
I used styrofoam pumpkins for my candle holders, but you can follow the steps in this tutorial and use real pumpkins for your project instead. Of course, real pumpkins are going to rot over time, especially once you've cut into them. If you are planning to use real pumpkins to make candle holders for a special event or dinner, I would suggest making them the day before and storing your finished holders in the refrigerator until your event.
A Note About Safety
Never leave a lit candle unattended. If you smell any burning while using your candle holder, or if the holder gets hot, extinguish the candle immediately and safely. Do not use your candle holder again with a lit candle. These candle holders will look just as lovely using an LED tea light.
Materials for Making a Candle Holder Using Pumpkins
- Small pumpkins—the size is your choice. You will need to have a glass jar, cup, or tea light holder to put inside your pumpkin and you will want your pumpkin to be the appropriate size to match your glass vessel.
- A glass, small jar, or tea light holder to place inside your pumpkin to hold your candle. I used a recycled jam jar for my larger pumpkin and a small juice glass for my smaller pumpkin.
- Candles or flameless LED candles that fit inside your glassware. I used some handmade candles my sister gave me, which I don't plan to light, but you can use LED lights instead.
- Fall embellishments like artificial berries, leaves, ribbon, or paint to decorate your pumpkin.
- Serrated knife or a utility knife to cut your pumpkin, and a spoon to scoop out the inside of the pumpkin.
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks.
- Pen that marks on pumpkin and a ruler.
How to Make a Festive Fall Candle Holder Using a Pumpkin
1. When buying pumpkins for this project, real or foam, look for gourds with no dents or blemishes of any kind. If buying a artificial pumpkin, get one that is solid, not hollow inside. If using a real pumpkin, wash and dry it before starting this project.
2. Then remove or cut any stem so that the top of your pumpkin is relatively flat. You can usually pull gently on the stem of an artificial pumpkin to remove it. If necessary, use a utility knife to gently prod it out from the pumpkin.
3. Next, put your glass jar or cup on the top of your pumpkin and center it. To do this, slowly turn your pumpkin and make sure your glass vessel looks centered on the top of your pumpkin from all sides.
4. Once your glass is centered, use a marking pen to trace around the bottom of your jar or cup.
5. Use a serrated knife or utility knife to cut around your pen mark and remove the top of your pumpkin. Try to keep your edge as clean as possible (though if it gets messy or jagged, you can cover it up with some twine or ribbon while decorating your pumpkin). When cutting in, you might have to angle your knife towards the center to remove the top of the pumpkin.
Have a trash can nearby to throw away your unwanted pumpkin pieces.
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6. Now use a spoon or other tool to scrap out the inside of your pumpkin just enough to fit your glass into your pumpkin. Do not hollow out your entire pumpkin. Empty out just enough of your pumpkin to fit in your glass item with a couple of inches showing above the edge of your opening. I found using my fingernails was the most efficient way to scrap out my artificial pumpkin.
7. Next, begin to decorate your pumpkin as you choose. You should remove your glass jar or cup before decorating your pumpkin. But if it's stuck in your pumpkin like mine was, just leave it in place and be careful with the glass.
You can decorate your pumpkin in any number of ways. You can paint a face on it, glue on some artificial leaves and flowers, add some ribbon and a bow, or leave it plain. But do not add any decoration inside your glass that will be holding your candle.
I painted my pumpkin with gold paint. I measured a line around the middle of my pumpkin, then painted the bottom with gold acrylic paint. You could probably also use spray paint, but I would test the spray paint on the underside of your pumpkin first before spraying the whole thing.
8. I also used some artificial berry stalks to make a ring or garland for my candle holder. These stalks are inexpensive and a great way to add some color to your fall decorating. I bought mine at the craft store where they had a large selection of floral decorations.
If you want to make a garland ring for your candle holder, it is best to buy the floral embellishments that are made with wire instead of plastic. You can bend some of the branches back toward the stem to spread the beads or decorations around your stalk. Then simply curl your stalk into a ring. For my larger pumpkin, I twisted two stalks together to create a larger ring to fit my candle holder.
9. To finish my fall candle holder, I cleaned up the cut opening of my pumpkin by gluing a piece of twine around the edge. Then I put my beaded garland ring around the glass and pressed it into place (do not put any decorations inside your glass that will hold your candle). I arranged my garland as I wanted it and added a few spots of hot glue to hold it in place.
The last thing I did was put my candle inside my glass holder, making sure it would stand up straight inside.
I also made a smaller candle holder using the same steps and technique. For this holder, I used a smaller pumpkin and a small juice glass as my inside glass holder.
My sister made these pine cone candles with wax from her own bees, so I don't plan to light them. Even so, these pumpkin candle holders make beautiful decorations for a table or mantle during the fall season!
© 2017 Donna Herron
Donna Herron (author) from USA on October 03, 2017:
Thanks, Dianna! So glad you like this project. Thanks so much for your comments!
Dianna Mendez on October 02, 2017:
This is such a cute idea. I love the fall and one can never have too many candles to brighten those cloudy days.
Donna Herron (author) from USA on September 21, 2017:
Hi Heidi - I agree. Normally, I would use flameless tea lights with these candle holders, but my sister made these beautiful pine cone candles out of her first batch of bees wax. I think they're perfect for fall and for these candle holders. She only gave me two candles, so I wouldn't use them. If I was lighting these holders for entertaining, I would swap out my candles for LED lights. Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 20, 2017:
Whenever I see your name pop up in the notifications email, I know I'll be seeing a cute and clever project. And this is one of them. Way simple and clever. I think I'd use the tea lights, too. I just am too nervous to use real candles. Thanks, as always, for sharing your talents with us!