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Why buy when you can DIY? The holidays are a busy season without the added stress of running around looking for presents—and that’s not even factoring in 2020’s once-in-a-lifetime circumstances.

Instead, here’s a DIY gift idea you can make while cozied up at home. These clay candle holders have the look of artisanal ceramic pieces but they couldn’t be easier to make (even the kids can join in). Plus, you get the added bonus of bragging about how you crafted them with your own two hands.  

To set up your little elves’ workshop, simply snag the materials on Amazon for under $60, queue up your favorite holiday flick, and follow the six easy steps below. You’ll be done before the movie’s even over. 




Pinch off a piece of clay slightly larger than a cherry tomato. Knead it to make it easier to work with, and then roll into a ball.



Use the heel of your hand to press the ball into a flat circle that’s about a half-inch thick.



Press the end of a taper candle into the center of the circle and twist it to create a well. Make sure the well is deep enough for the candle to securely stand upright, but don’t press all the way through the clay.



Press the tip of your thumb around the outer edge of the circle to create a scalloped pattern, then gently wiggle the candle to remove it.



Make as many candle holders as you like, and then place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.



Let cool, then paint with acrylic craft paint. We opted for a matte white color and gently dotted some black paint with the end of a thumb tack for a speckled look. Once dry, spray with a clear matte topcoat to seal the paint.

Now package your handcrafted candle holders together with some taper candles (we tied ours with leather cord), and check holiday gift shopping off your to-do list. 

DIY Speckled Candle Holders

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We are no strangers to DIY home renovations at Semihandmade. After all, that’s where the idea for making doors for IKEA kitchen systems came from. So naturally, we had to dedicate an entire section of SemiStories to celebrating our design community’s ingenuity, from DIY kitchen ideas to thinking of smaller details like rattan glassware and easy-to-make wall hangings. Don’t just take it from us: we’ve tapped the best in the business. Anita Yokota shared her best trick for a $20 bathroom renovation, Jessica D’Itri Marés shared her favorite spray painter, and Jenna LeBlanc showed us how to give wall-to-wall storage a custom touch. Maybe you’re just dipping your toes in the world of do-it-yourself, in which case we recommend starting small: try your hand at making your own speckled candle holders, for example, or give your greenery an updated home with pretty stacked planters. If you have a handy side (maybe you’ve put together DIY kitchen cabinets or are not afraid to use a power tool), we have projects for you too: painting a hand-painted mural is a fun way to give your favorite room some life or maybe you’re game to try putting together your own TV cabinet like Sarah Sherman Samuel did (PS: she saved thousands in the process). Experts, we’ve got you covered too: from learning to tile and grout your own backsplash to painting your cabinets without a hitch, we have plenty of DIY kitchen renovation ideas to keep you busy. We don’t stop at the kitchen either: from wall-to-wall media centers to fluted doors made for playroom storage, you’ll find ideas to improve every room in the house