I love that there are so many fun DIY projects that involve clay (these ring dishes are still some of my favorite things to make). It's easy to find, rather cathartic to work with, and if you mess up, you can just smash it back into a ball and start over. It's very forgiving. I also love having a few candles lit around the house for a little atmosphere, but sometimes I worry a bit about having open flames around the pets, and I've definitely forgotten to blow one out more than once before leaving the house (whoops!). That in mind, I thought I'd use some clay to make quick and easy votive holders that I could put an LED votive into so it would be pet-friendly (and forgetful-friendly) but still give me that flickering ambiance I'm looking for.
This votive is made up of two pieces—a round bottom and a rectangular shape that is wrapped around the circle bottom to create the cylindrical sides. Find a circular object (or round cookie cutter) that you want to be the size of the bottom of your votive (a can or jar would work well). Measure the circumference of the circle to determine how long your rectangle will need to be (so if your circle is 8" around the edge, your rectangle will need to be 8" wide). I made two votives that were both 8" around, but different heights for a staggered look (so one rectangle was 8×3" and the other was 8×4.5").
Using a non-stick mat and rolling pin, roll out your clay so that your rectangle is about 1/4" thick and slightly bigger than your rectangle measurements. To keep your thickness consistent, you can place two flat objects of an even height on either side of your clay as you roll it out. A stack of equal numbered playing cards is good for this, but I like to use two clear rulers that are about 1/4" thick.
Use straws to punch holes into your clay. You can do as many or as few as you like, but just keep in mind that if you have more holes than clay, you may have a tough time getting it to stand up later.
Once your holes are punched, measure out your final rectangle dimensions and use a clay or X-Acto knife to cut the rectangle. You can cut the rectangle before punching the holes if you want your hole placement to be more exact, but it does stretch the clay a bit as you press into it. So your rectangle may be a bit warped if you punch the holes second.
Wrap your rectangle around the clay circle until the sides meet together. Gently press the two edges together where they meet all the way up the side, and lightly smooth the clay in one direction over the meeting line until the seam disappears. A gentle and soft touch goes a long way on this step, so take your time and don't rush it.
I think the white votive is fresh and clean looking, but if the color and dot pattern remind you too much of Swiss cheese, you can always use a colored clay instead. You could also use different sizes of straws for a varied look, or use the dots to create a letter on each votive to spell out a short word or act as a monogram. Overall, I think they turned out really cute, and I like projects that are fast enough to make a few of them at one time for a grouping. Hope you'll add a little twinkle to your space as well! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with Stella from A Beautiful Mess actions.