I first encountered this idea in Barbora Kurvova's excellent book "52 Nature Craft Projects" In my inspired tutorial below you will have the option to use the jar as a votive holder (place an existing votive candle inside it) or insert a wick and pour wax turning it into a container candle. These candles look so beautiful when lit. The botanicals create a really effective silhouette and I think they are just so darling.
What you will need:
A couple of my lovely customers save me their glass Oui yogurt jars which are perfect for making pretty little container candles and are what I am using in this tutorial today. You don't need to spend money on jars, just look at what you are putting in your recycling bin. They key is something with a wide mouth. So for example, don't select a hot sauce bottle that would have a long narrow neck. Making this decorative votive holder is easy. We are gluing botanicals to the inside of the glass and making sure they are fully adhered and laminated with lots of glue.
Lay out your botanicals and make sure they are cut to size so that they will fit inside the jar. You can use scissors or your hands to snap the stems. You may also choose to lay out a design that you will want to go around the jar. Not all plants will work well for this project. Larger flowers or ones with thick stems can be hard to bend and mold around the curved surface of the jar. Thinner leaves and flowers work better.
If you press your own flowers, kudos! But no shame if you don't. I suggest buying on Etsy. Do a search for "pressed flowers" and add the filter "Craft Supplies + Tools" to find tons of wonderful blooms. Maybe try some variety packs so you have lots of botanicals to work with.
You will be applying glue using your paintbrush to the front of the botanical that you want to show on the outside of the jar. You don't need to apply much, just a little bit to be able to tack it into place. Once the glue is applied take the botanical using your fingers or tweezers and stick it to its desired location on the inside of the jar. If the bloom is not sticking or is having a hard time bending to fit the inside of the jar it may not be the best plant for this project.
Once you have everything adhered it is time to go around with the glue and paint a coat of glue over the plants. This will "laminate" them, keeping them in place and keeping them sealed off from the candle wax. I suggest waiting an hour and applying a second coat of glue.
*Tip: I was working with a plant with very delicate leaves. Each time I touched my paintbrush to them with glue they broke. Instead I decided to paint the area of the jar where the fern was to be placed and then I pressed the plant into the glue. After that putting the top coats of glue over the ferns to protect them was super easy. Since I was pouring soy wax into my glass jars I wan't concerned about any of the glue showing on the glass. Of course I didn't think of bringing the plant to the glue until an hour in but, better late than never!!!
Leave jars overnight to dry. You can place small tea lights or votives depending on the size of your jar in the candle holder to burn. If you are versed in candle making you may now also adhere your wick and pour your wax into your container. I did find some of my flowers didn't hold up well after burning. They were some yellow flowers, hydrangeas and a couple pansies. I am unsure if it was simply the age of my flowers (a couple years), the reaction to the glue or the heat but they discolored a bit.
This project is a fun one that produces a unique and giftable piece of art. A sweet, everlasting way to preserve flowers from weddings, a loved ones garden or a special occasion.