Shot Glass Oil Burning Candles

Some of you may remember this oil burning candle project from last December. I’m bringing it back again because I posted it too late last year. With Hanukkah just a month away and Christmas around the corner, there’s plenty of time to try these – whether you make them for Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years or even Valentines day!

One big improvement over last year: I’ve come up with brand new and innovative reusable wicks for these oil burning candles. I can’t wait to show you how easy they are in my next post!

Below is an entire box of shot glasses my husband found in the garbage. I interecepted them just before he donated them because shot glasses are perfect to upcycle for this project! Although they had advertising on them, I found a beautiful way to make them look festive for the season!

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I used 9 glasses in total for my holiday display. If you’re going to do this project, and you don’t already have some shot glasses on hand, pick some up from your local thrift store. Don’t forget that it doesn’t matter what they look like, because we are going to fix that!

Decorating the Shot Glasses

To add sparkle, I incorporated a metallic design onto the glass – and hid the advertising in the process! You’ll need to gather:

  • Shot glasses (9 if making this for Hanukkah)
  • Clear double-sided tape
  • Rub-on silver and gold foil
  • Painters tape
  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paper cutter
  • Candles (for the lead candle)
  • Aquarium gravel (I used blue)
  • Recycled K-cup
  • The glossy paper backing from a sheet of labels or self laminating cards
  • A towel or curved piece of wood (as shown below) to help keep the shot glasses steady as you work.

Add alternating squares of silver and gold. Place a piece of 1/2″ painters tape over the glossy side of the lable backing and mark 1/2″ increments on the tape with a pencil. The green tape is only there to help see the marks clearly since the glossy side is too slick to mark without it (and the reverse side is too busy to see them).

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Cut the strip of tape into 1/2″ squares with the paper cutter.

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Peel off the green tape and you’ll end up with the white squares shown below. Use the scissors or the paper cutter to cut some strips of silver and gold foil slightly wider than 1/2″:

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To prevent the glass from rolling as I worked, I used a curved piece of wood I already had, but you could also nestle it into a towel to keep it steady.

Measure a piece of  the double-sided tape to the length of the graphic you want to cover; 2″ was perfect for my shot glasses so I could create four 1/2″ squares with the foil. Apply the double sided tape right over the graphic on the glass. If your piece is too long, trim it back to 2″ using an X-acto knife.

You can see right through the tape, but not for long!

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Take the square pieces cut earlier and apply two of them to the clear tape – glossy side down – leaving a 1/2″ space in between (you can use one of the squares as a spacer as shown below). The squares will stick temporarily to the tape and act as a mask where you don’t want the foil.

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Apply the silver foil (dull side down) to the first exposed square and rub it well to adhere it to the tape. Carefully peel it back to expose the foil that’s stuck to the double-sided tape. Move on to the next exposed square with the same colour of foil and adhere it in the same way. If there are any spots that were missed, you can rub a fresh piece of foil onto those areas to fill in, but it doesn’t have to be perfect!

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1st square receives silver coloured foil

Once the first two squares are done, remove the white squares that are still covering the tape. Apply the gold foil to those remaining squares. You’ll end up with alternating silver and gold metallic squares.

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Gold being applied to 2nd square

Alternating squares of silver and gold are complete!

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If you have a straight glass, you could do this foil treatment all the way around if you wish. My shot glasses are angled so I couldn’t apply the tape in a straight line around the entire glass without wrinkling it.

A big advantage with this method (especially if you opt for cheap double-sided tape from the dollar store) is that the metallic feature can easily be removed to restore the glass just by removing the tape. You could switch up the design every year if you get bored of the look. Try using a decorative washi tape, for instance, instead!

Below you can see a side-by-side comparison of the before and after. With candle light glowing from within, they are going to look phenomenal!

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Here’s how my final display looked last holiday season right before I spray painted the letters that spell out Hanukkah. The glow of the oil burning candles really takes it to a whole different level at nightfall, so be sure to check out my next post for the full reveal celebrating the Festival of Lights!

In the end, I came up with a better way to make the lead candle. I didn’t use the oil burning method; I used a regular Hanukkah candle and made a collar for it out of the K-cup lid which I sunk into some aquarium gravel in the shot glass. It will all make sense when you see the next post on how to light them up, I promise!

Here’s a before shot to compare without the gold/silver makeover. The metallic finish on the shot glasses really does snazz them up!

Blue glass nuggets form a Star of David around the lead candle. The centre shot glass is also raised by an emply glass wax candle holder.

Since the top of our Ikea Satsumas plant stand is metal, I used fridge magnets for the letters spelling out ‘Hanukkah’; they look much more elegant once they’re sprayed in silver but you can keep them colourful for the kids. It’s the finishing touch to tie it all together!

Silver spray-painted letters are the finishing touch!

Of course, you could spell out any festive word (s) for any occasion: Comfort and Joy, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year etc. Like I mentioned earlier, these oil burning candles would be stunning for Valentines Day too; you could arrange your shot glasses into a heart shape on a large tray and put them on a table!

After the glasses are decorated, you’ll fill them half way with water, add a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and then a floating wick. I show you how to do that and make my innovative reusable DIY wicks in Part 2, so be sure to check that out to complete this project!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share!

In the meantime, if you are looking for other seasonal ideas, like a hostess gift – or even for someone who love to wine and dine – look no further! Make this seasonal BYOB gift bag:

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