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Day of the Dead Candelarias

Day of the Dead Candelarias

These Day of the Dead candelarias are perfect for your ofrenda. I know because I made this set for the one I’m building in my home this week! Candles are an integral part (more on that in a bit), but it’s dangerous to leave a lit candle burning all day or evening. These little battery-operated tea lights not only do the job, but they give off a warm and glowy vibe.

NOTE: On the night of Dia de Muertos, I do plan to use real prayer candles.

What’ll you’ll really love about this project is almost all the supplies can be found at the dollar store. Or even a thrift store.

Here is my video tutorial for this project:

YouTube video

The meaning of candles for Dia de Muertos

Candles are essential when it comes to building an ofrenda. The flame represents eternal hope, and I like to think it also represents life. That even though someone passed on, their spirit is alive, the flickering flame reminds us of that. It’s common to use traditional prayer white candles – but honestly, people have become so creative, anything goes as long as it tells your story and is meaningful to you. People often ask how many candles and while there is no set number, you’ll often see at least four candles to represent the four directions to help the dearly departed find their way to where they are being honored.

These candelarias serve double duty because they show the eternal flame of hope (via battery-operated tealights), as well as making my ofrenda look mucho fancy.

Supplies for Day of the Dead candelarias

Supplies for Day of the Dead Candelarias
Check out Dollar Tree for these supplies!

2 candle jars (or jars, cans, etc)

2 chunky candlesticks (wood, glass, resin, etc)

Extra-strength adhesive

Multi-surface craft paint

Tin skeleton ornaments 

(Or use any other embellishment of choice)

Faux marigolds

Battery-operated tea lights

Def check out your local Mexican import shops or thrift stores to find a lot of these items. And get creative! My best tip is to choose an embellishment that has a flat back (for the front of your candelarias). This will make it easier to glue down. You can use a large pendant, a small plaque, a small picture frame, a mask – you get the idea! 


Remove price stickers from all jars and candlesticks.

Use an alcohol wipe to clean the glass so it is free of debris.

Turn the candle jar upside down on a level surface.

Add glue to the top of the candlestick and place it top down on the candle jar. 

Let dry for an hour. 

Day of the Dead Candelarias
Make sure the glue is fully dry and the two pieces are secure before continuing the project!

Decide what you want to paint on three of the sides of the candelarias. Once you decide, go ahead and paint it on! You can even try the reverse painted glass method!

Paint on your designs and if you use the multi-surface paint, you won’t need to seal it. But if you use regular craft paint, use a brush on sealer so the paint won’t chip.

Day of the Dead Candelarias
Paint three sides of the candle holder.
Day of the Dead Candelarias
This took about three coats of paint. I used mutli-surface paint which has the sealer built in to prevent flaking or peeling.

Day of the Dead Candelarias

Once the paint/sealer is fully dry, Use hot glue or e6000 to affix the ornament to the front of the candelaria. If you don’t use hot glue, set the candelaria down flat so the ornament won’t slide. TIP: You can use hot glue to hold the piece in place as the e6000 dries.

Day of the Dead Candelarias


Day of the Dead Candelarias

Fill the candle portion with a flower, orange beads, even wrapped candy.

Day of the Dead Candelarias

Add the battery-operated tea lights. I used two per candelaria.

Other ideas for candle holders:

  • Small cans
  • Glass jars that you can paint of decorate
  • Ceramic boxes 
  • Glass tumblers or goblets

And if you don’t need candle holders, you can always make these as candy jars or even memory jars. Have everyone write down a favorite memory and place it in the jar. On Dia de Muertos, you can take them out and read them aloud to honor your loved one who passed away.

Related stories:

FREE PRINTABLE: Sugar Skull Paper Banner

History of La Catrina + Free Muertos Printable

The Meaning of Marigolds for Dia de Los Muertos + Free Printable

Thanks for checking out my project! Here is a wonderful video about making ofrendas, I promise it will give you lots of inspiration.

YouTube video

Halloween Faux Succulent Gardens

Crafty Chica Creates- my new book


7 thoughts on “Day of the Dead Candelarias”

  1. Kathy, look at you, one of the only artists posting work during the holiday weekend! Chicas are always working it!
    As for the jewelry holder, I have been searching forever for an idea to hold my jewelry, instead of getting tangled and lost in a jewelry box. Thanks for the idea, and congratulations on your consistent commitment to art. Although this is the first time I have written you, you have been my inspiration for a long time. You are one of the people at the top of my list that has inspired me to finally go for my dream. Besitos from Califa!

  2. What a great idea! Turning art into more art! The background story is a nice extra too. More of us need to keep reminders like this visible.

  3. What a gorgeous and artistic way to display jewelry! I am all over this one! I think I even have a canvas laying around here somewhere! This is a must-do for sure! Thanks for the awesome idea and the sweet story behind it, which makes it even better!


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