The other day, despite a zillion deadlines, I found myself aimlessly wandering through an antiques store when I spotted a display of vintage holiday décor. Nestled among pinecone turkeys and popsicle stick trees were four gorgeous and fragile paper house scenes nestled beneath glass jars. Cotton balls served as snow, small pipe cleaners sprayed green and white played trees and the roof and windows were covered in silvery gold glitter.

When I picked one up, it felt as though I had been granted admission into a tiny and secret magic world.

I’m not sure what it is about glitter, but there are few things that bring me more into a festive spirit than a glittery wonderland. When Thanksgiving finally arrives in the Midwest, most of the trees have lost their leaves, but snow has not yet had the chance to fall and coat the world in an inviting sparkle. The days grow shorter and grayer and the rain that does fall feels purposeless with no flowers to water or hot skin to quench.

Yet, when the lights are finally wrapped around the branches, trees no longer look bare and broken, but instead triumphant beauties reaching glowing arms toward the sky. I love to take in the lights, squinting in such a way that the world simply glitters. So, when I pick up one of those antique houses ensconced within its protective glass jar, I am transported back into that snow globe world of innocence and ironically, warmth.

Today, I’m going to show you how to turn a thrift store votive into a glittery luminary. This is an incredibly simple project that promises lovely results. These votive holders serve multiple purposes: decorate your home, your Thanksgiving table or your desk. Use glass pens to write names and turn them into glittery place cards or fill them with candles or treats for sparkly gift.

All this project requires are a few votive holders, some glitter and some glue!

You Will Need:

  • Votives/Tumbler Glasses, depending on the desired candle size.
  • Mod Podge® or NON-FLAMMABLE glue that dries clear. (This is hugely important if you’re going to be using real candles).
  • Glitter: I like the real fine glitter and not the chunky kind, especially if you’re going to do the inside of the votive, but it’s all up to you!
  • Candles, traditional or battery operated
  • Paintbrush
  • Optional: Liquid glass paint, stencils, glass pens…it’s up to you!

The Hunt: Check out the glassware and home section of your local thrift store-you’re bound to find votives and/or tumbler glasses for next to nothing. Tumbler glasses make great holders for larger candles. I found all these for $0.49 each. You can also find them in any home store, but why spend the extra money?

Glue: Mod Podge® is my go-to glue because it is non-flammable and it dries clear. If you don’t have any of that, I recommend using non-flammable PVA glue, also known as school glue. Pretty much what you used when you were a kid will work here- just make sure it dries clear.

For the small votives that will hold tea-light candles, I spread a layer of glue on the outside.

For the larger votives that will hold battery-operated candles, I spread a layer of glue on the inside.

Glitter: This is pretty easy because you’re just sprinkling glitter on to the glue. Be sure to have a plate to catch the extra flakes. Then just tap off the excess and put it aside to dry.

Optional Paint: If you’d like, you can also purchase pens that are meant to decorate glass. If you plan on washing the votives, you’re going to want to put it on the oven and follow the directions on the pens (do this before the glue and glitter). If you don’t plan on washing the votives, you can use the pens as you would a normal paint pen and skip the whole baking step.

The Grand Reveal: Now simply light your candles or turn on the on switch, dim the lights, cozy up and enjoy your own glittery world.