Today’s project came from a necessity. I had a mishap with the electricity company and was forced to spend three days without electricity (made me do a bunch of interesting things though!). So that meant that I needed to get candles, but since we moved recently no candle holders were available in the house.

So why not create one? Of course I had to use a bottle at the time because it was an emergency, but as soon as I had the chance, I started thinking about a cool candle holder for my dull, simple white, tall candles.

Here’s what you are going to need:

  • Air dry clay
  • Toothpick
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint (green and white)
  • Polish (optional)

That’s it. Aside from that your main tool will be your own hands.

Start by ripping out a bit of air dry clay: about the size of a closed fist; and knead it for a while. This step is important because it will make it easier to mold the clay as you want. From there, start doing the shape of a cactus – I did mine in the shape of a tall, round cactus because it would be able to be stable enough to hold the candle in place.

So find your general shape – it really doesn’t matter if it looks a little rough because it’s special that way… and besides the sandpaper is going to help you out with that later on. So after you got your shape, if you want you can use the toothpick to make sulks into the clay. These are gonna help you to add some spice to your final product.

One important thing to consider is that your candle holder has the stability to hold the candle and don’t topple over. If you can’t make a nice looking cactus that keeps steady you can glue it to a small plate after it’s done: that also helps contain the melted wax when the candle is lit up.

The other detail you don’t want to forget is to make sure the hole you created for the candle to fit is big enough for the candle to actually fit. Keep in mind that Air Dry Clay tends to shrink while it dries, so be prepared to have to cut a bit into the candle if it comes t o that (I had to do it).

Leave your cactus to dry for at least 24 hours, maybe even more if it is quite thick. After it’s dry, we’re gonna use the sandpaper to soften the surface a little bit. I didn’t mind that mine looked rough because it was a sign that was handmade – always a plus!

When you are satisfied with the result, blow out the loose dust and start painting. I went for a basic joyful green tone – it was not my intention to make it look real. As soon as the green paint has dried you can use a toothpick to do small white dots to resemble the pricks. I’m not gonna lie, this is my favourite part: it’s just so much fun to touch with the toothpick first on the pain and then on the cactus. It’s a tiny funny dance. Do as much “pricks” as you like.


If you fancy it, you can go over you cactus with a polish coat. I did so with an old nail polish I had laying around (upcycle!), but you can also leave it with a mate feeling. Now go get your candle and rejoice with the result!