Wednesday, February 6, 2008

DIY Hanging Votive Holders

I've made some half-hearted attempts at making hanging votives in the past and encountered two problems - the wire would want to slide down the glass, making it very tricky to make a nice coil (and almost impossible to do more than once). Once I finally managed to make the right sized coil, then the wires would pop apart like a slinky. Earlier today I said I'd post instructions on how to make your own hanging votives, and with that promise looming over me, I got back to work - I am happy to report that today's attempt was a success. Here are some instructions for making your own hanging votive holders, which should take less than 5 minutes per votive.


Materials:

Votive Holders (that open as they go upward - straight cylinders won't work);
Floral Tape;
Wire Cutters (or heavy scissors).

Directions:

1. Wrap your floral tape (or masking tape, although you'll probably have to sacrifice that votive holder) around the top of the votive holder. This is CRUCIAL for a happy votive-making experience - it helps keep the wire in place as you wrap it.
2. Wrap the wire around the top of the votive a few times, then bend each end backwards so it stays in place. Note that once you are finished, you coil will sit lower on the votive than here, so keep that in mind when you are wrapping. Cut the wire from the spool, and slide the coil off of the votive holder.
3. Wrap the ends of the wire back around the coil to keep the coil from springing apart.
4. Attach the handle by simply wrapping the ends of a length of wire around opposite sides of the coil.
The finished hanging votive holder - after all my past attempts, doing it this way was surprisingly quick and easy.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

They look awesome. I just hope you guys have more dried curly willow branches available before June, so I can use the combo for my wedding centerpieces. Any idea if this is going to be possible. Thanks!

Justin said...

Hi! The Dried Curly Willow should be back in stock in early March. Send us an email with Dried Curly Willow in the subject line, and we'll let you know as soon as they are in. However, the Dried Curly Willow may not be quite strong enough to support the votives - you may want to consider using a stronger branch such as Mitsumata, Corkscrew Willow or Himalayan Birch Forks, and then using the Dried Curly Willow as an accent.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the tips!

Anonymous said...

I was reading how to make the hanging votive holders and I wondered if you thought these would work:

http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayProductPage?productNum=hd0184

Specifically, I'm looking at the one in the center of the picture which is somewhat wavy looking with a ruffle at the top. You can click on the picture to keep enlarging it--it indents at the top and is wider. I wondered if you thought this was feasible.

Justin said...

Yes indeed, I think that fancy one in the front center definitely would work, and you might just be able to skip using the floral tape because the glass goes in then out, providing a place for the wire to settle into - the floral tape keeps the wire from slipping down tapered votive holders - it doesn't look like you'd have that problem with those. I'm pretty sure all of the votive holders would work, EXCEPT that one in the back right - it has a rounded shape that won't allow you to secure the wire towards the top, and while you may be able to wrap it around the bottom, it would probably be pretty unstable - I'm picturing the holder pivoting over the wire, dropping the flaming candle on the table. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

fantastic news! THANKS! I already have a ton of this style that I purchase on sale before I thought of doing hanging trees! I think I might be trying this out in the near future to plan for our wedding in the fall.

Is it ever too soon to order a bunch of these for our September Wedding?

Justin said...

I'm glad I didn't have to deliver any bad news about the votives - I didn't realize you already had them! Which type of branch were you interested in?

Generally it is never too early to order them, and you should definitely do a trial run well in advance. If you are going to order them all soon, just make sure you store them in a dry place (no damp basements or garages). Let me know if you have any more questions!

Rachel said...

I have a bunch of the birch branches and I was wondering if you think that they would be strong enough to hold hanging glass votives? I have seen some other weddings that used them, but I didn't know if you were familiar with the strenght of these branches and if they would be able to hold a few hanging votives. Any suggestions would be great!

Justin said...

Hi Rachel - We tested out hanging some votives from our Himalayan Birch Brush and the main branches are indeed strong enough to support the votives, as are some of the side branches. What seemed to work best was hanging them on branches that were thin enough so that they'd bow out and away from the rest of the branches. I'd generally be wary of using birch brush with votives though, as the thin twigs would make excellent tinder! You'll need to make sure that the branches you hang the votives on definitely are strong enough to support the votives, that the flame is far away from any twigs, and that the votives are secured so that they won't slide down or off the branches if the display is jostled.

Erica said...

Hello! I came across this site in my search to find hanging votives for my wedding reception centerpieces. I was thrilled when I saw these DIY ones were prettier than any others I've come across! I went to Michael's craft store last weekend and tested out a votive they're carrying now that flares out just a bit at the top. It turned out beautiful - and it was so easy! Just wanted to say thanks for posting this blog! I don't know what branches we're going with yet, but we're getting married in September in NY and want to have some kind of flowering branch. Any suggestions?

Justin said...

Hi Erica - We're glad you found the directions for making your own Hanging Votive Holders helpful, and thanks so much for letting us know that the project was as easy as advertised!

As for flowering branches in September, there probably won't be any fresh ones available - the season for those (cherry, flowering quince, etc.) runs from early to mid-spring. If you want some fresh branches, you should be able to find ones with fruit such as crabapples. I know that over in the floral district in NYC they are abundant around that time.

If you are set on flowering branches, you or your florist will need to make your own. You can take any branch (birch is a good choice) and attach either silk flowers, or real ones such as orchids. Check out http://nettletonhollow.blogspot.com/2008/01/simple-but-spectacular-manzanita.html for an example of something similar that was done with Sandblasted Manzanita and fresh orchid flowers.

TootsNYC said...

Even if you use masking tape, you ought to be able to use that votive holder again--WD40 and GooGone work great for removing the adhesive.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you so much for this creative idea. I'm going to use it for my centerpiece. I can't wait! Thanks again!!!

Jeeyol said...

Hi,
I have been looking for articles about votives and branches and your site has been very resourceful. I read most of the comments and I have a question. Forgive me if you have already answered this but is there any sort of fire hazard using the mitsumata? Are there any branches you don't recommend using with the votives?

Justin said...

You certainly have to be very careful with branches and open flames. Because Mitsumata is relatively thick, and Manzanita is so dense, they'd be difficult to ignite. The branches to stay away from are those with finer branches, such as Natural Birch Branches and Dried Curly Willow, and you definitely wouldn't want to use dried grass as an accent. Even with the safer branches, you'll of course have to make sure that the candles are kept away from the branches, and that the arrangement is completely stable. Lastly, you may also want to consider using something like LEDs to get a similar look.

Becky said...

Where do you purchase the fine wire and how much does it usually cost?? I need to know ASAP for Valentine's Day! THANKS! LOVE THIS IDEA!

Justin said...

We got ours at Jamali Garden. However, I don't see them on the site - http://www.jamaligarden.com/ - so you might want to give them a call and/or do a search for floral wire. Hope this helps!

Becky said...

Thanks, Justin! I found some wire at Lowes for .14 cents a foot! Can't beat that!

Becky said...

One more question... If I hot glued beads on the votives, do you think the hot glue would get too hot and start to melt from the flame and the beads would fall off?

Justin said...

That wire certainly is less expensive than what we used! I wouldn't risk using the hot glue on the votives. Perhaps epoxy or something along those lines would work? Another option might be to hang the beads off of the votives, rather than gluing them directly onto the glass.

Anonymous said...

HI i'm planning on making these for a party i'm throwing. I just wanted to confirm the gauge size of the wire you're using in your pictures?

Thanks so much for posting this-i'm really looking forward to making mine. I'm going to buy some Ikea tea light holders. Fingers crossed it all works out well.

El

Justin said...

I'm not sure what gauge wire we were using, but anything that's sold as floral wire should work - as long as it is thin and soft enough so that it is easy to work with, you should be fine.

61910Bride said...

Justin, do you know if there are any good fresh flowers to add to the centerpiece at the last minute? I want a tall centerpiece with branches and hanging votives and hopefully some type of fresh flowers (like dendrobium orchid, etc.). I know in an earlier post you mentioned adding water to the centerpiece would be a bad idea, so I wasn't sure if that makes flowers out of the picture. Are there other branches that would be able to hold plastic votive holders and LED candles that would be able to be in water if I added flowers? Thanks!!!!

Justin said...

Hello - You certainly can add fresh flowers to the centerpiece - it is just best to keep the water away from the branches if you want to use the branches again (if you only want to use the branches once though, getting them wet isn't that big of an issue). One way to do this would be to use floral tubes like what we used in this post - http://nettletonhollow.blogspot.com/2008/05/hanging-floral-tubes.html
Another option might be to put fresh flowers in water in a vase, and then put that vase inside a larger vase in which you can place the dry branches. Lastly another option would be to stick with flowers that would hold their form for the length of the event, like Dendrobium orchids as you suggest - http://nettletonhollow.blogspot.com/2008/01/simple-but-spectacular-manzanita.html - you should consult with a florist regarding other similar fresh flower options. Hope this helps!

Janel said...

I'm a wedding planner and I'm suggesting making these handing candle holders for a bride to save her money. I was slightly confused about which votive holders to use. On your instructions it says to use holders that are slightly larger at the top (straight ones don't work). Will these work? http://www.candle4less.com/72-Colored-Glass-Votive-Holders.1732.html;jsessionid=0a01074d1f438483e80391c842b9b722fd24c206cb87.e3eTaxaQbxmTe34Pa38Ta38ObNz0

Please send a response to: janel.peyton@gmail.com

Justin said...

Those should work just fine as they get wider at the top - you just need something that won't slide through the wire loop (so a straight cylinder wouldn't work).

Skwert said...

I'm in the process of making my own hanging votive holders (got 100 done, another 100 to go!) for the centrepieces at my wedding, and I have some advice:

BABY FOOD JARS make GREAT holders! They have a lip around the top, so your wire doesn't slip, and are very durable. You have to use GooGone or another cleaning solvent to get the glue remains off the face, and then run them through the dishwasher to make sure no food particles remain - ask your local day-care or new moms for donations!

Secondly, make sure you don't use ALUMINIUM wire. It breaks when you bend it back onto itself or twist it too tightly. Steel wire has just the right amount of twistability while remaining strong. I bought mine a my local hardware store (no need to go to a specialty framing shop), and it was $1.69 for 18m (that's about 19.5 yards - sorry, we use metric here in Canada!). That's less than 3cents a foot! So far I've used two packages for 100 holders. My total outlay for the candle holders (not including the candles) has been $7 for wire, and $5 for a bottle of GooGone!

Now its MY turn to ask a question - I have my heart set on using birch branches for my centrepieces, and have started collecting birch tops from trees that neighbours have trimmed near our family cottage. Some of the birch was first cut LAST fall, and some was cut just last week, with more to come in the next month or so. The older branches are starting to get quite brittle. Is there some way to restore their pliability, and to keep the rest fresh? Can they be soaked? Our wedding isn't until February, but we'd rather not be out in 6ft of snow topping birch trees in January!

Because we want to use the hanging votive holders with the birch branches/twigs/tops (whatever you want to call them), I want to make SURE that they won't become a fire hazard: ANY ADVICE?????

Thanks!

Justin said...

Thanks so much for the tips! It is inevitable that the birch will naturally dry out. You can temporarily make them a bit more pliable by soaking them in water. That said, I would do a test batch to make sure it doesn't cause the bark to peel or something along those lines.

Regarding the fire hazard issue, I'd DEFINITELY recommend using LED votives, rather than the real thing. Those fine dry twigs would make excellent tinder.

Tiffany said...

I made 10 wedding centerpieces using Mitsumata Branches with the hanging votive candles that I used at my wedding and they were absolutely awesome. I used the flared votives too to make sure the wire did not slip. I am re-selling them. I am in Southern California. Check out my craigslist ad http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/for/1374456784.html or e-mail tiffgreenfield3@yahoo.com if interested in purchasing. Local pick up only. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

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Sorry for offtopic

jgadmin said...

Hi Justin,

Thanks for featuring Jamali Garden. We recently revamped our website and the link above does not work anymore. The new link is: http://www.jamaligarden.com/detail/19409/8/candles-and-lights/candle-holders/set-of-4-votive-holders.php

Thanks again.

Regards,
Murtaza Ali
Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies

Justin said...

Thanks for the update! We've corrected the links.

Teach1 said...

I love these...wanted them for my grandson's rehearsal dinner...so inexpensive...I will use the baby food jars since we are using mason jars for some of the lighting. Thank you so much.

Justin said...

Glad you like them and find the post useful! The baby food jars sound like a great idea!