This DIY candle holder is very easy for even preschool kids to make in any shape you want, using any assortment of colorful dry beans and lentils you probably have sitting in your pantry! Festive colors can make these thanksgiving candle holders a very special centerpiece.
I first published this post back in 2011, when my kiddos were only 10, 8 and 6. Goodness, times goes by fast! This was before pinterest and I learned to be crafty from the teachers at school and magazines.
All three of my kiddos made these fun bean handle holders when they were in preschool and kindergarten. So you know this Thanksgiving craft is SUPER kid friendly.
And with the big jump to all things fall after a month of halloween antics, you need a no-brainer craft to entertain the kiddos.
Most Thanksgiving crafts involve leaves, turkeys, pilgrims and pumpkins. And if you have little kids making them, you may or may not be excited to decorate your carefully coordinated Thanksgiving table with their handiness!
This is a fun project I did with my Princess’ kindergarten class many years ago as a Thanksgiving candle holder gift for the children’s parents: DIY candle holder with beans. The kids loved making these candle holders and the only skill involved is stirring!
It’s a totally easy and cheap craft to throw together. And the parents really loved the candle holders their little ones created. I think they are pretty enough to sit on your thanksgiving table, how about you?!
- Assorted dried beans: You can focus your color scheme using specific beans and lentils or you can just wing it and buy a bag of dried bean soup mix. Again, you want dried beans and lentils, not canned or cooked!
- Candles: You can use tall candlesticks or tea lights, all depending on the form you use.
- Disposable cup: This is the form used for the candle holders and will get destroyed, so use disposables. If you are making candle holders for tall candles, use a cup (plastic or styrofoam). For tea lights, I like using the disposable bowls.
- White glue: You need a glue that dries clear. Cheap white glue works great!
- Bar of soap: To make sure the glue does not stick to your bowl/cup, you will need to rub the inside with soap. ANY soap will work.
1. Prep the mold. we used some random plastic disposable cups we had leftover from a party. You can also use paper, styrofoam or any other disposable cup. For my votive candle holder, I used a styrofoam bowl for the mold. Rub the inside of your mold with the soap.
2. Pour the beans in. Use whatever beans you want. Choose red and white beans with lots of green lentils for more Christmassy colors. Use red kidney, white beans, black beans, green lentils and yellow split peas for fall colors.
3. Pour in the glue. Add the glue and stir it into the beans using a popsicle stick or plastic spoon/knife. Make sure the glue is spread evenly and the beans get coated in the glue.
4. Add the candle. You can use tall candle sticks, short candles, votive candles… any kind of candle you like. If you have a large bean bowl you can place an assortment of candles in that. Again, have fun and get creative!
For the votive candles, I chose to use the kind that has a metal holder. This way, the beans stick to the metal holder and as the small votive candles burn out, you can replace them easily with another votive candle. Easy peasy.
Project tips and FAQs
How long do these bean handle holders last? Well, all three of my kidlets have made these bean candle holders when they were little, so I have a few sets of these babies!
One set I have yet to use up all the candles, and the bean candle holders still look great after 8 years.
So your Thanksgiving candle holders should last you for as many years as those candles you stick in them are around. A family “heirloom” that will bring lots of memories during this wonderful time of the year.
- 20 oz assorted dry beans and lentils
- 1 bottle white craft glue (dries clear)
- 4 candlesticks
- 4 paper or styrofoam cups
- 1 bar of soap
- 1 popsicle stick or plastic spoon/knife
- 1 sheet of parchment or wax paper
- Rub the inside of paper or foam cups with bar of soap.
- Fill each cup ¾ of the way with an assortment of dry beans and lentils.
- Pour in approximately ¼ cup white glue in each cup.
- Using a popsicle stick or plastic spoon, mix beans and glue together until all of beans are coated in glue. Add more glue as needed. Make sure beans in bottom of cup are coated in glue.
- Smooth beans on top to be flat.
- Stick a candle in the center and gently press down about 1-inch. Do not press down all the way to the bottom.
- Let glue dry 30 minutes, then peel off the paper cup. Glue will still be wet. Fix any holes and add glue to any dry parts.
- Place candle holders on a sheet of parchment or wax paper to completely dry, about 1-2 hours.
You can make votive candle holders with less beans, use a styrofoam bowl as a mold for larger candles or more than one candle.
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
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This post was originally published November 1, 2011. It has been updated with new photos and video November 3, 2019.