Handcraft These Halloween Candle Holders Using Recycled Plastic Bottles

Halloween Candle Holders From Recycled Plastic Bottles

Light up the Halloween Night with these fun candle holders made from recycled plastic bottles and other recycled materials commonly found in most households.
Light up the Halloween Night with these fun candle holders made from recycled plastic bottles and other recycled materials commonly found in most households.
Make costumes for your creations using old clothes for a festive daytime appearance.
Make costumes for your creations using old clothes for a festive daytime appearance.

Recycle Plastic Bottles For Halloween Candle Holder

This is a fun project. The entire project can be finished in a couple hours and it does not require a lot of special tools or materials. Most of the items used here can be found around the average household. You can make one of these Halloween candle holders from a couple of recycled plastic bottles for a party or just to have something very different.

Recycling plastic bottles is a great way to help our environment and this Halloween decoration is tops for creative people who like to do their share for the cause. Keep in mind as you read, that the idea is to have lots of fun with the creative process and use your imagination. Make your design from materials you have readily available using these suggestions as a guideline rather than making an exact replica. You will have more fun with this project and it will keep the cost to a minimum.

Design your own unique Halloween decoration. Use scented candles for the finished product and use whatever kind of plastic bottle you have available to you. Recycled plastic bottles for Halloween decorations is a fun project worth sharing with children of all ages. Scented candles made for the Halloween season are an added feature that will enhance the finished decoration and allow you an alternative outlet for self expression. This project plays on sight but adding scent will enhancethe obvious.

Suggested Materials List For Halloween Candle Holder

  • plastic bottles
  • duct tape
  • a sheet of recycled white tissue paper (found in packaging of clothing, gifts)
  • pea gravel or small rocks
  • scented candle in a small jar
  • recycled cloth material (old clothes)
  • water soluble white glue for paper crafts
  • 1" - 1.5" diameter metal or wooden pole 2 ft. to 4 ft in length
  • acrylic craft paints
  • colored tapes
  • wire coat hanger or other sturdy wire


Preparing the recycled plastic bottle for this craft project

Use recycled plastic bottles to make these handcrafted Halloween candle holders
Use recycled plastic bottles to make these handcrafted Halloween candle holders
Use hot water to soak away paper labels and clean the recycled bottles out.
Use hot water to soak away paper labels and clean the recycled bottles out.
Peel away the label as the water loosens the paper from the recycled bottle.
Peel away the label as the water loosens the paper from the recycled bottle.
Wash away the excess glue with a scrub pad and then dry the bottle off
Wash away the excess glue with a scrub pad and then dry the bottle off
Cut the bottom out of the bottle using sharp scissors and trim the edge off straight.
Cut the bottom out of the bottle using sharp scissors and trim the edge off straight.
For thicker bottles it might be necessary to start a hole with a box knife or something like these garden pruning shears. The bottle can be finished with scissors when you get the hole started.
For thicker bottles it might be necessary to start a hole with a box knife or something like these garden pruning shears. The bottle can be finished with scissors when you get the hole started.

List of Tools For Halloween Candle Holder Project

  • sharp razor blade knife, garden shears
  • hot soapy water
  • a scrub pad
  • towel and drop cloth
  • scissors
  • craft paint brushes
  • hand saw
  • drill and small bit


Clean The Bottles

The recycled bottles should be at least a 2 liter size up to a gallon or better. It is best to use what you have available. For this project demonstration I used a 2 liter soda bottle, a 1 gal. vinegar bottle and a 1.17 gal. laundry detergent bottle. This is to demonstrate the diversity of the project and how it can be adapted to various kinds of ideas. The shapes and sizes will determine the outcome of each individual candle holder. This leaves plenty of room to use your imagination and design a candle holder to suit your own style.

Note that the laundry detergent bottle has a painted on label and not a paper one. This was left as the labeling is on the sides of the bottle and not on the face side. I will demonstrate how to deal with the label for the detergent bottle as we progress.

Hot water will remove paper labels and the excess glue can be removed with a scrub pad. it is not too much to worry about the excess glue because the bottle will be coated with more material anyway. wash and rinse the recycled bottles and dry them with a towel on the outside.

use a sharp box knife, scissors or garden shears to remove the bottom of the plastic bottle. trim it off straight as this will become the top of the finished candle holder. The inside of the recycled bottle can be dried with the towel after the bottom is removed.

Attaching a stake to the bottle

If possible use some recycled poles from old broom handles, a closet pole, or dowel rod for the stake. It will also serve as the body and the arms will be attached as well as the plastic bottle.
If possible use some recycled poles from old broom handles, a closet pole, or dowel rod for the stake. It will also serve as the body and the arms will be attached as well as the plastic bottle.
Each bottle will have a different size opening in the top spout. I try to find a pole or stick that is just a little smaller than the bottle opening so that I can fit the bottle on to the stick with ease. The pole can be metal or wood or very sturdy
Each bottle will have a different size opening in the top spout. I try to find a pole or stick that is just a little smaller than the bottle opening so that I can fit the bottle on to the stick with ease. The pole can be metal or wood or very sturdy
This photograph shows how easily the wood dowel goes inside the bottle.
This photograph shows how easily the wood dowel goes inside the bottle.
Wrapping the end of the pole with duct tape will create a tighter fit and the bottle will go on to the stick with a snug fit. Apply as much tape as needed to make a good tight fit so the bottle does not wobble.
Wrapping the end of the pole with duct tape will create a tighter fit and the bottle will go on to the stick with a snug fit. Apply as much tape as needed to make a good tight fit so the bottle does not wobble.
Carefully push the stick in to the bottle mouth so that the pole rests inside the bottle neck. Then secure the pole in place by adding enough tape to hold the bottle and pole together. make several wraps of tape around the plastic bottle and the pole
Carefully push the stick in to the bottle mouth so that the pole rests inside the bottle neck. Then secure the pole in place by adding enough tape to hold the bottle and pole together. make several wraps of tape around the plastic bottle and the pole
The bottle should stand straight and secure on the end of the pole.
The bottle should stand straight and secure on the end of the pole.

Making Colored Paste

Tear up a sheet of tissue paper or other light weight paper to use as a sort of wall paper for the recycled plastic bottle. make the pieces about 1" to 2" in irregular sizes.
Tear up a sheet of tissue paper or other light weight paper to use as a sort of wallpaper for the recycled plastic bottle. make the pieces about 1" to 2" in irregular sizes.
Use a wide flat brush and some white paper glue to mix up a paste of glue and acrylic paint.
Use a wide flat brush and some white paper glue to mix up a paste of glue and acrylic paint.
Add water to the paint mixture so that the color will be transparent when the paper dries on the recycled plastic bottle.
Add water to the paint mixture so that the color will be transparent when the paper dries on the recycled plastic bottle.
It will take a little less than 1/4 cup of the paste mixture to coat a 1 gallon sized bottle.
It will take a little less than 1/4 cup of the paste mixture to coat a 1 gallon sized bottle.
Place an old towel on the work surface as the wall papering process will be a little messy. make sure to overlap the edges of each piece of paper as you adhere it with the paste wash. Also brush the paper with a coat of was so that it is colored.
Place an old towel on the work surface as the wall papering process will be a little messy. make sure to overlap the edges of each piece of paper as you adhere it with the paste wash. Also brush the paper with a coat of was so that it is colored.
When the paper dries it will have a wrinkled look, sort of weathered. This can be treated with a clear acrylic finish.
When the paper dries it will have a wrinkled look, sort of weathered. This can be treated with a clear acrylic finish.
Different colors will give a different appearance. This is also true with the the amount of paper and kind of paper used. Remember that you want the candle light to glow through the finished head.
Different colors will give a different appearance. This is also true with the the amount of paper and kind of paper used. Remember that you want the candlelight to glow through the finished head.

Add A Stake To The Recycled Plastic Bottle

Add a stake to the recycled plastic bottle. this will serve as a stand for the head of the candle holder. It will also be a place to affix a wire armature to give some dimension to the body of the candle holder. The stake should be of a size that will fit in to the recycled bottle's mouth with ease. You do not want it to be too small but it should also not be too big around to slide in to the bottle.

Use an old broom handle or mop handle. A dowel rod or a section of closet pole. Try to find a pole that is something you can recycle. It can be made from wood, plastic or metal as long as it is sturdy. It has to support the upper portion where the candle will go and also support the weight of material used to dress up the finished project.

Secure The Stake To The Recycled Bottle

Duct tape is a wonderful and useful tool for this part of the project. If the pole is too small for the hole in the bottle the pole can be made to fit secure by using duct tape.

I wrapped the pole a few rounds with the duct tape so that the end of the pole would go in to the mouth of the recycled bottle but fit snug. This will have to be a do and see how much tape for what ever bottles you use. Some will take more some will take less. It all depends on the size of the pole and the size of the bottle mouth.

When the pole will fit in to the bottle mouth snug, it can then be attached to the bottle using more duct tape. Just wrap several times around the bottle and pole until it is good and secure. See the adjoining photographs for more detail.

How Long Should The Pole Be?

The length of the pole or stake should depend on what your design plan is. There will be another bottle used as a base for the candle holder and the pole could be as short as 3". This would make a short, plump figure. For a taller figure the pole will be longer but keep in mind for balance. If the pole is too long it will be more difficult to create a base to support the finished project. I would suggest that it is best not to go over 3'.

I made one candle holder using a dowel 24" long. One was made with a piece of closet pole that was 48" long. The other was made with a section of mop handle that was about 25" long. Use what you can find. The smaller diameter poles work best on soda bottles while the larger closet pole fit best on the laundry bottle.

How Far Does The Pole Go In To The Bottle?

This is also a judgment call. The idea is to use the neck of the bottle as somewhat of a support for the pole. The neck on each kind of recycled bottle will vary so the decision is up to you. The thing to keep in mind is that you will be placing a candle inside the head and the bottle is going to serve as the head. The inside will have to be made level to support the candle jar. It is best to make sure the pole does not protrude in to the area of the inside of the jar. You just want it to fit in to the neck of the bottle good enough to give support to the head.

I would suggest that it will go in to the bottle about 2" on average. make sure to set it where it is wanted before taping it down with the duct tape.

How To Finish The Bottle

The bottle on the pole is going to serve as a head for some sort of figure. You might make a ghost, a witch, a ghoul or whatever you can imagine from the bottle at hand. The projects I finished are just Halloween Creeps. I made a red one a gray one and a yellow one. This is how I made mine.

The yellow bottle was already colored. Using recycled laundry detergent bottles are great because they are already colored. They also come in a wide variety of colors so they can be easily adapted to many different kinds of figures.

The clear and translucent recycled bottles such as milk bottles and soda bottles can be finished very easily. Use white glue, acrylic craft paints and torn bits of tissue paper to add color and texture to these kinds of bottles.

The paint can be thinned to achieve a transparent color that will allow the finished figure to glow in the dark. The range of colors is unlimited so be as creative as you want with your choices. This is where the fun begins and where you can design a one of a kind decoration  for your Halloween theme. This makes this project especially adaptable for parties as well as the yard or the kitchen table. The sky is your limit so do not be afraid to reach for it.

Paint or tape a face on the bottle head

This face was added with different colors of adhesive tape. I used duct tape and painters masking tape because that was what I had on hand.
This face was added with different colors of adhesive tape. I used duct tape and painters masking tape because that was what I had on hand.

Make A Paste To Wallpaper The Recycled Bottle

Use 1/4 teaspoon of acrylic craft paint in your choice of color mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of white glue to make a paste. This will be stirred together real good and then slowly thinned with water. Add about 1/5 of a cup of water stirring as you slowly add the water. The idea is to make a wash to glue the tissue paper to the recycled bottle. You want the mixture to be very thin so that you can wallpaper the bottle with the tissue paper pieces. Overlap the pieces as you place them on the bottle to create a nice weathered looking texture. Make sure to coat the paper with the wash as you press it on with the flat 1/2" paint brush. Cover all areas of the bottle.

Work on an old towel so that the drips will be absorbed and keep the mess to a minimum. When the recycled bottle is completely papered set the bottle aside to dry. Put the bottle in front of a fan or use a cool hair dryer to speed the drying process.

Add A Face

The final step is to add facial features to the head. This can be painted on with acrylic paints or you can use tape. for my examples I did both. The gray face was painted on. i used tape that was cut to satisfaction for the red face. On the yellow laundry bottle I used tape because acrylic paint will not adhere to the plastic. Using scissors i cut shapes to make the eyes out of different colors of vinyl tape. That works real good and when the candle is not burning at night it gives color to the creation.

Making a base for the finished project

The pole was too big to fit the milk bottle mouth so I removed the first ring on the mouth with a sharp knife.
The pole was too big to fit the milk bottle mouth so I removed the first ring on the mouth with a sharp knife.
Now it is a bit too large so I used the portion I removed as a gasket.
Now it is a bit too large so I used the portion I removed as a gasket.
I split the mouth open so I could slip it around the pole and then tape it in to place.
I split the mouth open so I could slip it around the pole and then tape it in to place.
Secure this gasket real good with more duct tape.
Secure this gasket real good with more duct tape.
A seam in the bottom of the bottle would not allow the pole to rest level. I cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the base bottle so the pole could rest level in the hole.
A seam in the bottom of the bottle would not allow the pole to rest level. I cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the base bottle so the pole could rest level in the hole.
Add a couple pieces of duct tape to secure the hole so the base bottle will not leak the gravel out.
Add a couple pieces of duct tape to secure the hole so the base bottle will not leak the gravel out.
Secure the pole in the bottle so that the pole is resting straight and level. The pole will be held in place by adding rocks and gravel to the base bottle.
Secure the pole in the bottle so that the pole is resting straight and level. The pole will be held in place by adding rocks and gravel to the base bottle.
Cut a hole large enough to add rocks and gravel in to the top side of the base bottle. I left the flap on cutting only three sides of the hole so I could tape the flap shut after adding my gravel.
Cut a hole large enough to add rocks and gravel in to the top side of the base bottle. I left the flap on cutting only three sides of the hole so I could tape the flap shut after adding my gravel.

Make A Solid Base

The base can be made from an additional gallon sized bottle that is slightly modified to hold the pole. This can be done by fitting the pole down in to the mouth of a bottle that has a hole cut in to it. The hole is cut so that there is an opening where you can add rocks and or gravel to support the pole. I put the hole toward the upper middle and left the flap on it. This could be taped closed after it is filled with gravel. The bottle could also be filled with cement if you want to make it that way. i opted not to because of the additional time it would take. This would be up to you to decide.

I also cut a small hole out of the center of the base bottle on the bottom. This was done because the pole was resting on an uneven seam in the bottom of the base bottle. I simply removed the area where the seam was in the center by cutting a hole just large enough for the pole to fir through. I then put some duct tape over the hole to seal the bottom.

Center the pole and fill the bottle so that the gravel holds the pole in the middle and as straight as possible. This should stand alone when the base is filled. Now the project is ready to complete.

The Halloween Candle Holder Is Almost Completed

The time it took to write this hub was much longer than the actual project takes. To finish the candle holder the pole can be decorated to match the face you designed. I added a coat hanger to the pole just below the bottle to give a bit of structure to my Halloween candle holders. This can be added just below the bottle head and then covered with whatever kind of clothing material you have available. I did one with an old shirt. It is not necessary to sew the garments for your creature but if you feel like that is what you prefer to do, by all means go for it. I did some tearing and gathering and more or less tied the garments to the neck. This step is totally up to you.

I have used simple black trash bags to make the finished garments and they are weather resistant so that works real good. I have also used plastic table cloths. You can pick them up at any Dollar Store for a buck and they are available in all colors. They can be cut to fit and taped or stapled together. This is where your creativity comes in. One time I used part of an old Halloween costume to dress my recycled bottles with. I say use what you have on hand. This craft project is all about having fun with recycled items.

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Comments 13 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

I always love a good Halloween idea and especially like that you use recycled materials.


carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

Thanks for the Great ideas for Halloween, something easy to do with the kids and add some fun at Halloween time. We can all make our own just like carving pumpkins. Nice work!


kalandi 5 years ago

nice blog really have some valuable information thank u ....


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 6 years ago from NW Indiana Author

breakfast pop,

I have been making these for years. Lots of fun and can turn out really cool.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Thanks for a very original idea. I am going to try it.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana Author

Thanks SweetiePie,

I do think there would be many ways to adapt this idea for holidays other than Halloween. Guess I should write another hub and investigate that thought.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

What a nice idea for Halloween. Too bad I was too late to comment before Halloween, but I am sure kids would making these. You could even make Christmas themed candle holders too!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Thanks for the unique ideas.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana Author

Well thanks for the kind words Lee Thacker. I was hoping to publish this a few weeks ago but I was having some camera problems and could not get it finished any sooner. Thanks again for visiting and commenting.


Lee Thacker profile image

Lee Thacker 7 years ago

I like the way your brain thinks, makes me feel alive listening to what your thinking, very cool...Keep it up ...PS Now I Know Why I bookmarked your page ;-) ...Hope you are doing well,


Anthony James Barnett - author 7 years ago

Interesting Hub. Halloween is just a few days away so I've caught it just in time.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Very creative. Awesome pictures to go along with another great hub.

hope your well

Zsuzsy


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

This is too cool!! Way to go C S Alexis!! and with All Hallows Eve this week it will be fun to try after work!!thanks for a great project!!

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