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How to Make a Dolphin Crafts Tea Light Candle Holder Seashell Craft

Updated on June 8, 2015

Completed Dolphin Craft


Dolphin Crafts Candle Holder

Dolphins are one of my favorite sea critters. They look real slick as they pass through the water cutting through it with little effort. Keeping one in my home of course is out of the question. Even if I could afford such a thing I would not cage a dolphin just for my pleasure.

However, there are plenty of other ways to bring the essence of this unique swimming mammal into a home. One way is through the buying of dolphin figures. For the handy craftsperson there are also ways of combining them into seashell crafts.

In this article I will explain one way of making dolphin crafts to use as a tea light candle holder.

Materials List

Wood base

Dolphin figure

Votive glass candle holder




Polyurethane paint

Tea light

Paint brush


Wood stain or varnish

Material Description

Use a 3 x 5 inch wood base. The one shown here is a scalloped edge French cut rectangle but a regular rectangle or an oval base will also work. Clean off any stickers and use sandpaper to smooth down any rough spots. Then give it a light sanding just to open up the wood pores then remove any dust. If you want to stain the base now would be the time to apply the stain. I would recommend the stain or varnish be applied just to the formed edges.

The dolphin figure should be no taller than 4 inches. Remove any stickers including the barcode from the bottom.

The glass votive I used is made of clear glass so the glow from the tea light’s flame will pass through easier. You could use a frosted or a colored glass, such as red or blue instead. Remove stickers, wash the glass with soap and water, rinse well and dry.

The seashells are all on the small side. I used different kinds to add texture and interest.

Finished Tea Light Candle Holder


Dolphins of the Sea

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Crafting the Tea Light Candle Holder Glass

1. A clean and dry glass will help to hold the glue, so make sure you wash it with soap and water and then dry completely. You may want to consider letting it air dry for a while.

2. Pick out a couple of dozen seashells, or pick them out from your collection as you go. The seashells will be place in columns of three as shown in the picture. These columns go all the way around the glass. The space between the seashell columns is about 1/2 inch.

3. The placing of the seashells is a slow process. Sorry, but you will need patience or the design will be ruined and you will have to start all over again. Prop the glass so it doesn’t roll around. Apply glue to the edges or underside of the seashells you have picked and place them on the glass that is directly facing you. Let the glue dry.

4. Repeat step 3 as many times as needed until you have placed columns of 3 seashells all the way around the glass.

5. Use standard white glue to paint the exposed glass. Apply some drops directly to the glass and use the paint brush to spread the glue around. You can do this in sections or try to do it all at once. The film of glue you are putting on needs to be enough to stay wet for the next step.

6. Sprinkle sand over the wet glue. Use newspaper, a sheet of paper or a flexible place mat under the project to catch the loose sand that doesn’t stick to the glue. Once all the wet glue is covered set the glass aside to dry. Use the paper or place mat to corral the loose sand and replace it in your container.

Putting the Seashell Craft Together

1. If you are using a plastic or resin dolphin figure paint it with a coat of clear polyurethane paint. This will protect the figure from the elements and give it some shine. Ceramic, porcelain or glass figures do not need this protection.

2. Place the now decorated votive glass on the base. Add the dolphin figure and see how they fit. Make any adjustments you need to do in order to be sure they both fit on the flat upper surface of the wood base.

3. Apply white glue to the bottom of the votive glass and place it back on the wood base. Now do the same with the dolphin figure. Make your final adjustments so you get the look you want.

4. Apply white glue to the exposed areas of the upper surface of the wood base. Spread it around to cover all the exposed wood. Sprinkle sand over this glue to completely cover it then set aside to let the glue dry.

5. Paint the sand and seashells with a nice coat of polyurethane paint. Just like for the plastic or resin dolphin this coating will bring out color and make the sand and seashells shine. It will also protect them from the environment.

6. If you have the room and inclination add a few accessories. Pearls work well, and so do a few more seashells. It all depends on the room left on the surface of the tea light candle holder.

Finished Seashell Craft with Tea Light


Using Dolphin Crafts with Tea Lights

There, you have completed the seashell craft. Now you can use it to burn candles and enjoy the glow of the flame as it is diffused through the sand and the seashells. I would recommend you use tea lights instead of votive candles. It is much easier to remove a tea light since they come in plastic or metal holders then a bunch of melted wax from a votive candle.


This craft is not recommended for children or adults who like to place small items in their mouths. The small items could accidentally be swallowed and pose a choking hazard.

Use with care. Although the tea lights are small their flame burns hot and could cause burns if the glass is handled while they are lit or just after. Also keep away from flammable items such as curtains and hair.

Express Yourself. Leave Your Comment about the Article or the Craft.

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    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Angelo,

      I love seashells and any crafts you can do with them. I am also a candle nut and dolphin lover so this hub is right up my alley!! Loved this step by step tutorial and really look forward to reading more on seashell crafts from you! Great work, voted up, useful, interesting, shared and pinned!

    • Angelo52 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      dahoglund. Try a lighthouse, a small boat or any other figurine you like in place of the dolphins.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I have not been involved with any crafts for a long time but have been thinking about trying some again. these look good. I don't think I would have a dolphin in my house because it might not like our dog.sharing.

    • Angelo52 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you Jackie Lynnley, for your compliment of the candle holder with dolphins.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I love Dolphins and have always been crazy about sea shells, your candle is beautiful!

    • Angelo52 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanks Green Art, appreciate your comment on this tea light candle holder and the vote.

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 

      6 years ago

      Your hard work on this project paid off! Beautiful results and very detailed hub on how to make one. Voted up and beautiful!

    • Angelo52 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you, DragonflyTreasure.

    • DragonflyTreasure profile image


      6 years ago from on the breeze.........

      Gorgeous! You did a wonderful job :)

    • Angelo52 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanks Julie for the compliments on this bit of dolphin craft.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      This looks so cool! Dolphins are one of my favorites too :) Nice work!

    • Angelo52 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      The hard part is finding dolphin figurines of the right size. Thanks for your comment and votes.

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Wow! Your candle holder looks amazing. I wish I would be able to make one like this with your instructions. Voted UP and more..


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