Workshop Wednesday: How to make a Mosaic Votive Candle Holder

By Liz Young


With the holidays coming up, it's always great to know how to make a few awesome things for the people you love. Hand-made gifts are not only more personal, but also a lot easier on the pockets! This project will explain how to make your own mosaic glass votive holder. Once you learn how to make a candle holder, you can apply this simple method to create anything your heart desires!  You can create picture frames, vases, wall-hangings, or you can go BIG and mosaic a whole table top for your outdoor patio!  

Materials Needed: 

Mosaic Tiles of various colors of your preference

Tile Cutters

Mosaic Glue

Tile Grout- Sanded

Paint stir stick

2 bowls

Plastic trowel or spackling tool

Water to mix with grout

Grout Sealer

Plastic Gloves

A glass base-  (i.e. a short drinking glass, an empty, cleaned out pickle jar, etc.)

Workspace covered with Newspaper

A wood stick or other object to apply glue to tiles 

Below is a gallery of materials used:

Step 1:

Make sure your glass base is clean and fully dry. You can upcycle a condiment jar, or go to your local thrift store or garage sales. There you will usually find plain glass votives or other glass objects to cover in mosaics. Just make sure the piece isn't too curved if you are a beginner- it can be hard to get your mosaic to look nice because the tiles don't lay flat on the rounded surface.

Step 2:

Your mosaic tiles will come in a sheet glued down, but they are easy to pull off. Get all of your tiles off of the sheet and ready to use. You can either use them as the squares that they come in, or you can cut them with your tile-cutting tool into smaller sections to make more organic looking shapes.  

Mosaic 1.jpg

Step 3:

Start glueing one mosaic piece at a time to your glass base, using the wooden stick so your hands don't get all sticky! Arrange them in a way that fits together, almost like you are putting together a puzzle.

Step 4:

You want to leave a few millimeters of space in between each tile piece. This space is where we will fill in the gaps with tile grout. It should look similar to this:

mosaic 2.jpg

Step 5:

Let your glued tiles set and dry completely for about an hour. Test strength byt lightly pulling on a tile. If it stays put, it is ready. 

Step 6 (Optional):

You can add a little personality to your piece by creating shapes out of your tiles, such as this heart below: 



Step 7:  

Get a large bowl, and fill it with grout powder. Make sure to use sanded grout, because it provides more "tooth" to set tiles in place. Non-sanded grout will just dry to a powdery form and crumble away. Slowly mix water in and stir until you get a thick paste, to about the consistency of cake frosting.. (I think I have a sweet tooth!) Make sure it's spreadable but not drippy.




Step 8:

Using the spackling tool or small plastic trowel, start covering your piece with grout. Make sure to push the grout firmly into all the cracks and empty spaces. Smooth it all over your piece. You will get grout all over your tiles, and this is ok, we will use the sponge to clean it up!  

Step 9:

Once your piece is fully grouted, let it set for just a few minutes.

Step 10:

Get your 2nd bowl and fill it with water. Moisten your sponge and use it to carefully clean off excess grout from your tiles.

Step 11:

Once your tiles are clean and shining through the grout, you are ready to finish your project! Let it dry overnight. 

Step 12:

Use a thick brush to apply grout seal to your project. You can also use an easier sprayable grout sealer. Grout sealer help prevent stains and gives your piece an extra layer of durability. Let it dry for a couple of hours to seal it, and you are done! Your project will look something like this when you are finished: 


Step 13: You are finished! Put a tealight or small candle inside, and let it illuminate the room with your creativity! 

Clean up: Never pour grout down sink drains. Fill grout bowl with water- Let all grout settle to bottom of bowl, Pour water off outside, then scoop grout mixture into trash. Repeat a few times until you can rinse bowl in sink without excess grout.


Copyright Houston Makerspace, LLC 2013.  Background images by Marisa Brodie and Alex Barber.