Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recycled Gem Candle Holders/Luminaries

I'm pulling from the archives again today.... We made these wonderful luminaries last year. They are a great craft that gives the children an opportunity to work with "real tools" and to have the freedom to choose colors and patterns.  (We are in Denmark right now, the childcare is closed until the first week of January, so I will be randomly pulling from the archives AND updating on some of the fun we are having here!)

We have been continuing our Holiday Craft Kick.... and today, we worked on some great recycled luminaries/candle holders.

These are quite simple to make. First you need to collect a bunch of gems! (The ones that look like flat marbles) I would imagine that smooth sea glass would work as well.... and maybe marbles IF you used a lot of glue. Any gems will work, but the more translucent they are, the more they will sparkle when lit. Each person will also need a glass jar. Our jars are not all the same, as we are upcycling a variety of jars that some sort of food was sold in (jam, mayo, pickles, etc).

After selecting your jar and an assortment of gems, use the hot glue gun to attach each gem to the jar. You can see in this photo that we started at the bottom of the jar. (It is flipped upside down.) Please make sure that your gems do not extend past the bottom edge or it will not sit quite right.
Continue to add gems with hot glue. Don't worry about using too much glue, the excess fills in the gaps between gems, and strings of glue over gems makes them look a little cracked. It adds an aesthetic effect.
Cover the jar completely with gems.

Here is one that is now complete. This one has a random pattern, but you could also make a design with the gems. I once saw a jar created in a similar fashion that had been made to look like a snowman. I thought I would put a tree on mine:

See how cool the strings of glue look on the gems!!! You can place a candle in the jar, or you can do what we did and use the top of a solar light as your new lid. (When you run a daycare out of your home, you have some restrictions when it comes to burning candles.) I thought this idea was great, until my 8-year old son came up with a better idea: Drop the top of the solar light into the jar upside down. The light will immediately turn on as the surface under the candle will provide the "dark" needed to trigger the light to "ignite"! (You will have to flip it back over to recharge it at some point, but it really makes it look like there is a real candle burning!) I love when the young people come up with brilliant ideas!

**I also tried this with a liquid nails adhesive prior to allowing the children to craft. I found that although the adhesive was not hot, the gems were too heavy! You had to continually shift them back into place.


Dana Brunner said...

Hi I am your latest follower, found you on Friday Blog Hop. I am also a Daycare Provider.

Susan Evans said...

I did something similar with my kids years ago, when we made a mosaic stepping stone. With the left-over pieces of tumbled broken glass, we hot glued the pieces on a votive candle holder. Grandma still has them to this day. I loved looking at your pictures -- I didn't know that larger gems would stay on. Also, I'm impressed that the kids can handle the hot glue gun on their own.

Sweet T Makes Three said...

It looks like they are having so much fun! I'll have to remember this when Sweet T is older.

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 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...