The Perfect Gift: Plaster Votives

November 5, 2012

By Amy Christie.

Candlelight is so inviting and comforting, especially on the chilly dark days of fall. What if you could include a little message with the candlelight?

This is such a fun project! Using basic plaster and simple materials, you can create the perfect gift for a someone you love. Give a romantic message to your sweetheart, or a collection of supportive notes for your best friend.


-plaster mix – I use Plaster of Paris
-plastic mold – plastic deli containers are perfect
-circular spacer, slightly wider in diameter than your votive
-aluminum foil – wrap around spacer to make it easier to remove
-sand paper
-damp cloth
-quote(s), printed in reverse*

**Choose the quote and print it in reverse. An ink jet print proved to be the successful version, as the laser ink print did not transfer.

Mix the plaster, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Pour into the plastic mold.

Immediately tap to remove the air bubbles. Quickly, press the circular spacer into the wet plaster, deep enough so the votive can fit inside. Not too deep however or you will create a hole.

Allow the plaster to set.

When the plaster has hardened just enough, remove the spacer and remove the votive from the mold.

Use sand paper and a damp cloth to smooth the edges.

When the sanding and smoothing is complete, it’s time to move on to the transferring.

Collect the quote. Cut down the paper around the printed text.

Place the printed quote, print side down on the damp plaster and burnish with the damp cloth. You will know you are creating a good transfer when the print is clearly visible through the backside of the paper. This will ensure the ink is transferring to the plaster. You can check on your progress by gently peeling back the paper to peek while keeping it in place.

When the text is completely transferred, it’s time to dry.

Place the votives on a stack of paper. Make sure the one touching the votives has no print or the ink could transfer as well. Then place another stack of paper on top of the votives, again making sure a print-free piece is first. Place something with a little weight on top. I used some votive fails to stack on mine.

Allow to completely dry, rotating out the damp paper for new dry paper every 8 hours or so.

When they are completely dry, drop in a votive, turn off the lights and enjoy the candlelight.


- Super sweet parting gifts for guests at a wedding or shower.
- Replace the quotes with “Ho Ho Ho” or “Winter Wonderland” and give these as neighbor gifts during the holidays.
- Use literary quotes and give these out at your next bookclub.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen November 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm

These are fantastic! I love the idea of switching up what they say and giving them as neighbor gifts for the holidays.


2 amy c November 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm

The possibilities are endless! :)


3 Mary J November 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Are you just using regular printer paper, or is it some kind of transfer paper? I didn’t see it specified above. Cool idea, I want to try it!


4 amy c November 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I printed it on regular old printer paper, the 20lb stuff. Thanks for asking!


5 Barbara November 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Can you write directly on the mold when dry?


6 amy c November 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm

You can sure try!


7 Therea November 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Was the votive painted or is it just lighting that makes it look blue in the last picture?

If it was painted, what kind of paint was used?


8 amy c November 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Not painted, must be the lighting. :) I used plain white plaster and only added the quote transfer.


9 amy c November 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Though, I assume you could use a variety of paints on it either after its dry, or when it is still damp. I’m sure there are lots of possibilities for surface techniques!


10 Danielle November 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!!


11 Hayley November 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I use a technique like this to make sidewalk chalk with my preschoolers, and I would recommend slicking whatever mold you use with vaseline first. That makes it a lot easier to get it out when it’s done!

These are beautiful though, I am thinking of all sorts of quote possibilities, they would make excellent hostess gifts!


12 Amy November 6, 2012 at 8:52 am

I wonder if you could stir cinnamon into the dry plaster before you add the water? Then it would smell nice while the votive candle heated the plaster. It might add some nice color or texture too.


13 Ann November 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

This would be great for teacher gifts!


14 Stacey November 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Love these! What font did you use? It is a great one. Thank you!!


15 Leigh December 7, 2012 at 7:28 am

Hi! What font did you use for these? Love this project – so nice for kids to give as a holiday gift even!


16 amy c December 7, 2012 at 7:42 am

Hey Leigh! I used Amatic font. :)


17 Make and Do Girl January 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm

This is such a cool idea. I had no idea it was so easy to transfer ink like this. Thanks for the tutorial!


18 jeni leigh January 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm

oh my goodness, i need to do this!! so beautiful!


19 Ritika February 2, 2013 at 12:42 am

Hey…i loved d idea…however i needed a little help..could.u please elaborate a bit more as. to how d text has to be printed..?? I am making one for my best friend’s any suggestions


20 Nicole December 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

These look great. How long did it take for the plaster to dry 100%? I can’t wait to make theses for gifts.


21 ash May 20, 2016 at 5:11 am

How long does this take to dry.. planning on making 40 pieces and with a time crunch, concerned on the drying phase.


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