My desire to make coastal Advent candles comes from some very sweet childhood memories. Every Christmas, my parents would take me to services at the Swedish Lutheran church. A highlight for me was observing the Advent candle lighting. The Advent candles hung near the altar in a large circle of evergreen. There were four red candles on the wreath with a large center white candle. And though I really enjoyed singing the Christmas carols, I was mesmerized with that wreath.
Once I was an adult I realized many families had Advent wreaths and candles in their home. Many even participated in special readings and a regular lighting of the candles. I always thought I would like to do the same in my home. I even went so far as to begin making a special wooden candle holder in a woodshop class I took on Wednesday evenings at the local high school. But, I never finished it. Finally a few years ago, I created an Advent “wreath” of sorts. It wasn’t like the typical ones we see with purple and pink candles and greenery… but it worked for me and I finally enjoyed having my own Advent candles at home.
This year I’m attempting to create coastal themed Christmas decor for my home. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of thinking outside my usual traditional decorating style. Maybe it’s because I live by the water, but there’s something peaceful about the coastal blue or sea greens colors that I’ve always been drawn towards. Incorporating them in my decor is a new thing for me and it’s been fun.
My coastal Advent candle wreath began with a wooden Lenox tray I picked up at the thrift store. I had planned to use it last Christmas for a project, but I purchased some defective metallic spray paint and ended up putting the tray project on hold. Maybe that was fortuitous, because this year it was easily transformed with a few coats of paint into a nautical-looking tray, perfect for holding four glass candle holders, sand, and driftwood. Here’s a tutorial to inspire you…
How to Make Coastal Advent Candles
Let’s start with supplies…
I know this image contains a few more and a few less items than I used… but here is the actual list. (Note: to make it easier for you I have included my affiliate links to products here.)
- Glass Candles – I purchased my at the Dollar Tree
- Paint – I used: FolkArt Home Decor Chalk – Sheepskin, Plaid Apple Barrel – Granite Gray, Plaid Apple Barrel – Bahama Blue
- Washi Tape
- Wood Tags
- Metal Tags
- Jute Twine
- Metal Numbers
- Painters’ Tape – Frog
- Paint Brushes
- Aleene’s Quick Dry Glue
I wanted to create a nautical feel with my tray so I painted it and striped it. In hindsight, I made the project more difficult and time-consuming than necessary. Instead of painting the white in stripes first… paint your whole tray in white or whatever color you wish. Then when it is fully dry, mask off the white to create your stripes as shown in the image. Be sure to seal your edges well so the paint doesn’t leak. I didn’t have any Frog Tape… if I had used it I’m certain I wouldn’t have had the messy edges that I had with this stiff blue tape. Also, be sure to peel your tape off the project as soon as you’re finished painting. If you need two coats, don’t worry, just peel away after painting your second coat.
TIP: If you don’t sand your surface prior to painting, use a paper towel and rubbing alcohol to clean the surface. That will allow for better adhesion of the paint. You’ll want to do the same for the glass candle jars.
Before decorating the glass candles, be sure to remove the sticky label. Mine came off in one piece. Yay! (If you have difficulties, in order to save time, cover the label with burlap ribbon and incorporate the burlap ribbon further in your design. Because nobody has time to soak and scrape a label!) Tape off the area where you will paint a stripe or stripes on your glass candle holder. Because I chose to use some Washi tape from Amy Anderson’s new book, Washi Tape Crafts (Step 3). I decided to paint just one stripe. However my stripes did require two coats of paint. As you can see, I didn’t have the exact color, so I created my on-the-fly custom mixed color. It closely matches the color in the pillow which you will be seeing in a few days. After applying your second coat of paint, immediately remove the tape and allow your stripes to dry. Once your paint stripes are dry, apply your Washi tape in the way you wish. As you can see I selected a different pattern for all four candles.
TIP: You could make this super quick by using only Washi tape for your stripes. Waiting for the paint to dry is the longest hardest part of the project.
This is my favorite step… adding tags to the candles. I elected to incorporate metal and wood elements and instead of labeling the tags… Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love… I decided on numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, for the 4 weeks of Advent. It’s not original, but I LOVE these. If you enjoy paper crafting, card making, or scrap booking, you’ll be all over this too. I originally was going to add stripes to the tags, but decided that it just wasn’t necessary.
I found my tags in the dollar bin at Target way before thinking of this project… I actually had another idea in mind. At that time I planned to layer the wood and metal tags, using the Christmas sayings. But, of course I didn’t want the sayings for the Advent candles. So…. I simply flipped the tags over and painted the back side and then used Aleenes’ Quick Dry Tacky Glue to attach the metal numbers. I chose this glue because it is easier to position than hot glue. You’ll notice the tags are different shades of aqua. That was because half of the tags were of a dark wood and half a light wood. I call that a happy surprise. I love that two are different.
Both the metal tags and the wood tags came with twine hanging strings. For this project two were not needed, so I removed the string from the metal tag and pulled the string from the wood tag through the hole so that both tags would hang on the ‘one’ string.
At this point, take your jute twine and pull off enough to go around the top of the candle jar with plenty of extra for tying. You’ll want three strands for each jar, so cut a total of 12 strands of jute. Taking the three strands of jute… run through the tags’ hanging loop as show in #6. Then tie the tags onto your candle jar and hide the knot in the final double knot. Trim as shown in the photo.
Repeat 3 more times and you’re finished!
I did a little paint touch up on my tray because I struggle with perfectionism. (Get Frog Tape!! 😉 ) Place your candle jars in the tray, add in your beach sand, arrange a few pieces of driftwood, a few shells, and you’ve got a lovely coastal advent candles vignette for your Christmas celebration. You might notice in the supplies photo that I had also included Christmas balls and sea glass. Although I did place them in the sand… I really felt like it was too busy and preferred this simpler look.
Advent begins this Sunday. However, if you’d like to make coastal Advent candles in a “wreath” like mine and can’t get it done by the first Sunday in Advent… don’t let it stop you. Last I checked there aren’t any Advent candle police and I’m pretty sure that anytime you start is a good time. You know… I’ve put off doing a number of things in my life because I thought I was late. It’s a big mistake to live like that. Missing a day or two or three is nothing compared to missing the whole season. So… go for it… even if you’re a few days late.
If you want a little background to help you understand the observance of Advent… I talked about it in this post… plus shared some lovely ideas for creating your own Advent candles and wreath.
You can simply light a new candle each Sunday night at dinner, or other time that works for you, but I think it’s meaningful to also read some brief devotionals each night and re-light the candles at that time.
Preparing my heart for Christmas really helps to put the focus where it belongs.
As a highly visual person, it is super easy for me to focus on Christmas decor. And then there’s entertaining and shopping. However, if that’s the sole focus of my attention… I will totally miss the significance of the season. I’ll miss the Gift for all the wrappings. And though this is the most amazing gift ever given… how will we find Him… let alone receive the Grace and see the Glory… if the Gift gets hidden beneath the brightly flashing lights, the incredible busyness of the season, and the avalanche of packages?
I invite you to join me to reflect in the quiet… to read a brief devotional with those you love… and light candles so you, too, can refocus and reorient yourself for this season of Advent. It just might be the most meaningful Christmas you’ll ever experience.
Following are some Advent devotionals that you might find helpful.
- If you are looking for an online devotional, check out this from Cru. Cru also offers this devotional in a PDF format.
- I really like John Piper and he has a new Advent devotional called The Dawning of Indestructible Joy. It’s available as a free PDF to download here. Or if you would prefer, you can purchase a Kindle Version here. (affiliate link)
- If you enjoy watching short videos, Ann Voskamp has created four informal devotional videos for each Sunday in Advent. Here are the links: Week 1 – Hope; Week 2 – Peace; Week 3 – Joy; Week 4 – Love. Additionally, you might enjoy The Greatest Gift a 25-day Christmas devotional book written by Ann Voskamp, that takes us on a walk from the Old Testament into the New Testament to explore the lineage of Christ so we may unwrap the greatest gift ever given. (affiliate link)
Whether you make or purchase your Advent candles… I encourage you to take the time to ponder this amazing Gift we’ve been given.
Thanks for stopping by today… I can’t wait to hear your lovely thoughts!
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