diy project: evita’s spooky silhouette candleholders

d*s reader evita smith of the happy heathen sent over this beautiful halloween diy project inspired by the silhouettes of carew rice. i’m usually not a fan of halloween decor (i don’t like orange and black together for some reason) but these manage to look holiday-appropriate and sophisticated, so i’m sold! thanks so much to evita for sharing her clever halloween crafts with us!

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!


To me, nothing is more quintessentially ‘Lowcountry’ in art form than the silhouettes of Carew Rice. He also influenced the design we did for the invitations from our recent wedding. This project was started as an attempt to recreate and share our beloved vintage Carew tumblers that we use as candleholders during the holiday season. And by holiday season, I mean we kick it off with Halloween!

Materials needed:
Glass Votive – the one used for this project is about 7.5″x3.5″
Tea Light
Inkjet White Vellum
Glue Stick
X-acto and or Rotary Blade Cutter
Cutting Mat
Clip art, your mad design skills, or the .png files provided below:

Outline template
Pre-made Template
Solid Template

If you are starting from scratch:

Even the straightest glass votive will have tiny taper. Cut a piece of vellum about 8″x5″. Tape one edge to the glass and wrap around, tapping the other end. It will overlap and that’s ok. Trim the top and bottom edges and then cut a straight line from top to bottom where the two ends overlap. That will be your template. I traced the template on to another piece of vellum to get the grading measurements. I then created a mask with a border in Photoshop.



Create your design or use the template provided. I find that merging layers while keeping the background transparent is fastest for printing. If you are using the templated version be sure that you make a new document to the size needed for your glass dimensions and then drag the image into the new file and adjust the size, if needed. Send your picture to print and follow the print instructions provided with the vellum. The Staples version we bought said to use the premium transparency setting. Print the image and allow it to dry.


Cut along the lines with either your X-acto or rotary blade. Turn the image over and apply a line of glue using the glue stick along the edge. Turn it back over and press it on the glass, using a small piece of tape too keep it stationary. Apply another line of glue to the other end of the vellum and wrap it around the glass to so that it meets edge to edge. I will sometimes use a large coated paperclip to keep the vellum stable before I apply the glue. Gently pull the tape back, press the edge down and replace the tape so that it is covering both edges.


Once the glue has set you can take off the tape and you’re ready to drop in a tea light and illuminate!


Have fun and enjoy!

CLICK HERE for more images and information from Evita!

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’ve loved silhouette lighting for such a long time, thanks for giving me a step by step guide on how to make one!

    I’m forming lots of ideas in my head right now…christmas, birthdays, typography….the sky is the limit!

  2. These are gorgeous. I actually remember having my silhouette cut by Clay Rice when I was young, and I really enjoyed the article about him and his grandfather. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Very good idea, I will do the same thing with Christmas theme.

  4. sassypants says:

    I love this idea! So sophisticated. Wish the instructions sounded simpler.

  5. Evita says:

    @Victoria – Carew was a friend of my grandparents. My grandmother had some wonderful tales and my mother remembers as a child having her silhouettes cut while he sat on their porch.

    @sassypants – perhaps the template provided may be easier?

  6. Joanna says:

    These are super gorgeous and cool! I love the scenes you’ve chosen.

  7. keyka says:

    This looks like a really fun project!

  8. Clare Lupino says:

    What a great idea, easy to make my kids will love it

  9. minte says:

    i’m so excited to find out that this wasn’t paint! it’s such an intimidating medium. thanks for sharing your project with us, i love halloween decorations and i can’t seem to find enough of them this year :)

  10. Ilissa says:

    I love the idea! You make it look so simple! :)

  11. Inês H says:

    Thank you so muh for sharing. It’s so simple and the effect is great!

  12. Evita says:

    Thanks again, everyone! It’s truly been a pleasure being featured here!

  13. Ash says:

    I love this!! So simple So cool!
    Thanks for sharing, I’ll se on my way to making one of these!

  14. Lisa says:

    I right there with you about Halloween decor and the whole black and orange thing – it gets cheesy beyond belief. I like to skip the orange all together – silver, gold, white, red, or grey tend to make much more appealing partners for Halloween black.

  15. Azzy says:

    I wonder if you could just paint on the vellum with indian ink or if it would warp it too much…

    Very cool…and yes, very sophisticated look.

  16. ramona says:

    those are beautyful!

  17. Ana says: loving it! Can’t wait to make this one..! :)

  18. Maria says:

    Sooooo clever. I would never think of it. Thank you Evita.

  19. Evita says:

    @Azzy – I’ve wondered that myself! The vellum is a little wrinkled when it’s first printed and then flattens after drying.

    I think it’s worth a shot.

  20. Lena says:

    OOOOH! It’s great idea! Very beautiful !

  21. nico says:

    oh i wish there was a christmas template!

  22. Francesca says:

    Not only is the project cute, I am absolutely in love with the clock in the first picture!!!!

  23. Ysa says:

    i just wish i could draw such nice and small patterns or cartoon ~ yeah !! it’s really suite halloween a lot.. maybe i could make a red one for chinese new year ~

  24. RAKEL says:

    These are so incredible! Would you be willing to post some of the other farm scene templates that you show in the photos? I would love to have some scenes that I could leave up all year.
    Thanks for the DIY!

  25. RAKEL says:

    Sorry, I didn’t understand that you used those as inspiration, I thought you painted them, guess I need to read a little closer! :)

  26. Rebecca says:

    The silhouettes on the candles remind me of the movie, “The Night of the Hunter.” Super creepy and perfect for Halloween!

  27. Evita says:

    @Nico – sorry for the late reply. A Christmas/winter scene is a great idea. I’ll get to work on one!

    Thanks again everyone.

  28. Jenn says:

    Evita, your design is amazing! Where did you find the spooky silhouettes?

  29. Amanda says:

    I saw this same tutorial on the blog H is for Handmade recently! I like that you can find a variety of copyright free silhouette images online and use them for different occasions!

  30. Mary says:

    Hi – I know this is an older post, but the links for the silhouettes do not work. Is there anywhere else that I can find these for this project?

  31. StoneMaven says:

    I’ve made these for years only I make my design in Photoshop and print directly on the white or silver vellum. I then wrap half-pint mason jars with them. Tealights illuminate them wonderfully.

  32. Libby says:

    Like Mary, I’m just finding this post, and the template links do not work any more. Could you please share? Thanks!


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