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How-To: “Stained Glass” Votive Holders

My Paper Heart

By Jenny Ryan
Many times when I’m at the grocery or drug store, I can’t resist throwing a few scented votive candles in my cart. When I’m ready to burn them, it’s easy enough to sit one on a cute little vintage china saucer, but I recently decided to try and find a fancier display solution for them. I also wanted the project to be inexpensive, and the materials used to be things I already had on hand. I was inspired by memories of making faux-stained glass in elementary school and came up with these fun little glass votive holders. This project is quick and easy, and a great way to whip up custom party décor on the cheap.

Votiveholder Materials


Tissue paper in your desired colors
Mod Podge (matte finish),
in a pinch you can also use school glue
Glass votive holder to fit your candle(s),
I used thrifted vases and wine tumblers
Paper punches in various shapes


Votiveholder Step1
Step 1: Figure out what colors of tissue paper you’d like to use and what paper punch shapes you want to try out. You can go monochromatic, or choose a wide variety of colors for a playful confetti-style look. Punch out a nice little pile of paper shapes (you can always punch more if needed!) and set them aside.
Step 2: Scoop out a bit of Mod Podge with your paintbrush and water it down a bit so the texture is thinner. You don’t want it super drippy, just a bit thinned-out. I mixed it up right in the lid of the Mod Podge container.
Votiveholder Step3
Step 3: Start affixing the punched-out paper shapes to the glass votive using your paintbrush. Tissue paper is so thin that you can actually pick up the pieces using the wet paintbrush if you like. You could also brush Mod Podge onto the glass first, and then stick on the paper shapes. Either way, brush over the shapes afterward to fully saturate them with Mod Podge. Wet tissue paper can rip easily, so try not to get too rough with it. Take your time and brush gently, attaching more and more shapes, overlapping them however you prefer. Once your glass is fully covered, set it aside to dry.
Votiveholder Step4
Step 4: One your votive is dry, you’ll see that any areas you have brushed with Mod Podge that aren’t covered in tissue paper will have a frosted look. This doesn’t bother me, but if you would prefer these areas to be clear, simply dip a Q-tip in hot water and carefully scrub off the Mod Podge, as seen above.
Votiveholder Finisheda
Votiveholder Finishedb
Step 5: Once everything is dry, plunk in a votive candle, light the wick and enjoy! If you start building a stash of tissue paper – easy enough to do since scraps of it seem to show up around nearly every holiday – you’ll have a variety of colors on hand, making it easy enough to match your candles to any theme you can dream up. Have fun!


79 thoughts on “How-To: “Stained Glass” Votive Holders

  1. What a great project– thanks a bunch for sharing the tutorial! I just love the polka dotted one!

  2. ::looks around::
    I have modge podge. I have tissue paper.
    Dammit. No punch. Maybe. I’ll have to look.
    I love this idea. LOTS.

  3. Awesome! My kids are gonna love this! Thank you for your easy-to-follow instructions and great accompanying photos.

  4. Thank you for this idea! I just bought a bunch of different sized and shaped, clear candle holders. I put holiday colored candles in them, for Christmas. Now that Christmas is over, I was trying to think of a way to do the holders up, for an everyday look. Now that you have given me a heads up, on what to do, my head is swimming with ideas that I can do, all around my house! Each room is of a different theme. One is transportation themed, with many scale model trains, cars, boats and planes. Another room is done up, with a nautical theme, with shells, rocks, fish figurines, model ships and lighthouses. As you can see, I have unique rooms done up and your idea, with the candle holders, opens up so many possibilities. Thanks, so much, again! =)

  5. how the hell do you get the craft punch to cut the tissue paper without ripping it?? i cant get the shapes of the puncher because it keeps tearing the tissue paper. HELP please

    1. I found that you have to punch through lots of layers of tissue paper at once. These punches were most likely designed to cut heavier duty paper like cardstock. Hope this helps!

  6. I have an old 6 pane wooden window I want to do something with, this is a great idea!! Easier thn stainglassing!! Thanx abunch!!!

  7. Wow, what a gorgeous idea! I think I’m going to try this project using spring colors–baby pink, mint green, light yellow. It’ll be great, and just in time for Easter. The tutorial was super-helpful! Thanks!

  8. This is so cute!! it is like a mini idea of the mosaics we do.. except ours are with much more complicated tools and materials, we actually cut the different glass tiles and put them together! I love how it turned out! Very easy and colorful!

  9. Love this idea! I’m going to see if I can get it to work on glass bathroom doors for privacy/light diffusion. Thanks!

  10. Fabulous idea! A tip I learned …. forget where… is to place a small amount of water in the container before putting the votive candle in. The melted wax slips right out when the candle is finished.

  11. Thank you for your idea, I love it! My daughter is getting married next June and I think it would be a added piece to her table decor.

  12. Tried to make this following exact directions and the mod podge did not have a cloudy look to it like yours did and all the tissue disintegrated. I don’t understand what I am doing wrong it’s very frustrating I’ve tried it so many times.

  13. What brand of punch did you use ? I have bought and tried two. Neither would

    punch the tissue paper cleanly. I ended up with a pile of shredded tissue paper.

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  21. i love doing tissue crafting i just lucked out yesterday and picked up 4 boxes of of clear glass voltives 12 per box for a buck per each box, many still had voltives or tealights in them, so i have alot of fun things to do,,also i make paper beads and i had made some out of plain white paper and did the tissue to embellish gave the beads a diffrent look then using markers or magazine, love what u did

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Jenny Ryan

Jenny Ryan is an artist, crafter, and maker of things. She lives in Los Angeles with a pack of various animals (including her husband) and writes about her adventures in creating at Exit Through the Thrift Shop.

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