Recycled Votives

I've probably mentioned it before, but I have a real affinity for trash-to-treasure projects, especially recycling projects. A few weeks ago, I showed you how to make a plant label out of an aluminum can and wire coat hanger. Since the remnants of that project were still on my desk, (** she admits with a blush of embarrassment **) I decided to continue on the same theme, this time including a plastic water bottle.

So I gathered my supplies and tools, which included a water bottle, an aluminum can, tin-snips, scissors and a paper crimper. I also needed some sand and a tea light candle.

I started by removing the label and cutting the plastic bottle below the curve of the neck. This particular water bottle was very flimsy and could easily be cut with scissors.

Next, I took the tin-snips and cut off the top and bottom of the can, leaving a sheet of "flat" metal. This is not particularly difficult, but not a step that should be attempted by younger children. I'd even advise that you wear protective glove. Once the aluminum has been cut by scissors, it doesn't have as sharp an edge, and it's even better after it's been run though the crimper.

I laid the sheet on a flat surface with the printed side facing up.

Next I used a marker to draw guidelines on the metal. I wanted various widths, plus I wanted to experiment with some hole-punching effects.

I had hoped that my shaped paper punches would work on the aluminum, but they were too weak. My standard hole punch worked great though, just like punching cardstock.

Next, I rolled the punched piece of metal through my crimper. This worked very well, again just like a piece of cardstock. If you mess up, you can just feed it through again.

The metal comes out looking like mini corrugated roofing.

Next, I traced and cut an oval just like the plant label, except instead of punching one hole at the top, I punched two small holes, one at each side.

Using a non-marking pen, I wrote onto the label, pressing firmly. This would also look great with the blackening effect used on the stamped washers.

Then I threaded a piece of twine through the holes, leaving excess in back and on both sides.

I set the label aside while I prepared the bottle. I glued a piece of the corrugated aluminum around the top edge of the cut bottle, positioning it to hide the raw edge of the plastic bottle.

The aluminum doesn't reach all the way around the bottle, so I covered the gap with the prepared label. I glued the label in place over the gap and tied the twine around the bottle for decoration.

I wanted to hang something from the ends of the twine. I thought beads would look good, but I didn't have anything that had a hole large enough to fit the twine. I think this would look good with mini pine cones for a fall project.

I decided to go with the trendy washers, and just tied them to the end of the twine.

I poured some sand into the bottom of the bottle and inserted a tea light candle.

And this is what I had so far.

I liked it at this point, but the creative juices were still flowing.

So I took the top of the bottle and trimmed the edge.

The bottle top still had the cap, so I covered it with a strip of corrugated aluminum ...

... covering the sides of the white plastic cap.

Then I placed the bottle top upside-down into the bottle bottom. I added some more sand to the top and moved the candle from the bottom to the new top.

And this is what I ended up with. I really liked the end-result, except that the top rim was rather flimsy and seemed unfinished, so I added a thin trim of metal to the rim (see pics below.)

My son saw what I did and wanted to make one too. So he grabbed a Gatorade bottle from the recycling bin and we came up with this one. Gatorade bottles have a very nice pattern to the bottle sides. They're also a lot thicker so I opted to use a hack saw to cut the top off. The tough part was getting the first cut through the plastic, then it could be cut fairly easily with scissors.

They're a bit bigger than water bottles too, so the metal strips don't reach as far around. We just overlapped with a second strip and tied the ends with some twine.

I liked the effect of the sand, but it also serves the purpose of weighting down the bottles, since they're so lightweight otherwise. Alternatively, you could use pebbles, glass beads, marbles, etc.

You could also do a more colorful theme, and even have the printed side of the can facing outward. And since the candle is sealed on the top, you could fill the lower portion of the bottle with colored water.

So next time you refresh yourself with a bottled beverage, save the container and create one of these conversation pieces to "brighten" your home!

NOTE!!! Because of the flammable nature of the plastic, the candles should be burned with caution. I would recommend treating them with the same precaution as you would the paper bag luminaries that many people use to light their sidewalks and driveways for the holidays.

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page


I'll be linking to some of the fabulous link parties listed on the right sidebar...
but really, that's a LOT of parties! I probably won't get to them all, but you should stop in and visit a few yourself.


  1. Fabulous! Such a creative trash to treasure transformation, thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! Awesome. And so creative. Never in a million years would I have come up with that!

  3. Are you aware of how totally groovy this is? I LOVE these. You are an extremely creative lady. I actually think I beat you to your blog after you linked. I noticed you don't have the Boardwalk Bragfest link up yet (haha). I just moved too fast for you. I really am impressed with this project. Thank you so much for sharing it on the Boardwalk Bragfest.

  4. those are beautiful but I would be worried that the plastic would burn,could you spray it with something?

  5. This is BEAUTIFUL! I am going to link to it from my reCREATE facebook page.

  6. Love this idea!! I love it when people recycle plastic into something so this! Beautiful!

  7. WOW! LOVE it! Thanks for sharing and linking up!

  8. This is probably one of the prettiest trash-to-treasure transformations I have ever seen! I absolutely love it.

    Thank you for participating the Creative Therapy session at Life in the Pitts!

  9. Love the combo of the shiny plastic, satiny metallic and the ribbed metal. The twine contrasts and really kicks it up a notch! Very cute and clever.

  10. Very creative ideas and great recycling. Rhianna

  11. What a very creative Idea!! I really like it!

  12. Wow how fun and creative are these??!!! They turned out great! Thanks so much for sharing with Sweet Charli! :)

  13. I featured them today at:

  14. Wow these are beautiful!

    Thanks for linking up to Saturday is Crafty Day!
    Laura @ along for the ride

  15. What a great idea!!! Very classy looking too! Way to go!

  16. Yeah, I'm going through the recycling when I get home...

  17. This is the most creative thing I've seen. I love it!

  18. These chandeliers are amazing

  19. You are after my own heart with your recycle - upcycle approach! I love these! {sound of applause}

  20. I am happy that we have the same concept on environmental protection, our company INTCO recycling waste styrofoam to reproduce beautiful frame or moulding to replace wood or marble.