DIY Faux Sea Glass Candle Holder

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I swear, everywhere I look I’m seeing the Coastal Grandma aesthetic playing out. It’s a great style to play with in your home and I came up with a super simple craft to tap into it.

Have a glass jar kicking around? How about some Mod Podge and a little paint? Perfect!

In this post, I’m going to show you how to make a beautiful faux sea glass candle holder from an upcycled glass jar.

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Make these DIY glass candle holders from upcycled glass jars! Or a cheap glass jar from the Dollar Tree. By learning this simple technique to paint glass to look like sea glass you can create beautiful votive holders that are perfect to hold citronella candles. A must for your next summer party!

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How to Paint Glass to Look Like Sea Glass

You don’t need special paint for this! To paint glass to look like sea glass, simply mix 2 tablespoons of Mod Podge or school glue with a few drops of acrylic paint. Mix well, sponge onto glass, and bake to set. To get that signature dusty finish, rub chalk all over. Read on for detailed instructions and tips!


Step 1: Clean your glass containers

I reused a few Oui yogurt containers for this because I love the shape, but any glass container will do. These have a similar shape if you need to make them in bulk!

I ran the jars through the dishwasher and then wiped them with rubbing alcohol to be sure they were free from any residual grease or grime.

The rubbing alcohol isn’t entirely necessary but a good step to take if you’re upcycling food containers.

Step 2: Mix Mod Podge and paint

Mix craft paint with mod podge

Pour about 2 tbsp of Mod Podge into a plastic cup. You don’t need to be exact with this, just eyeball it based on how many candleholders you plan to make. We won’t be adding too much paint so the final amount of product will be about equivalent to the amount of Mod Podge.

Pro tip: if you don’t have Mod Podge, school glue will also work.

Sea glass is typically in the blue and green family so gather up a few bottles of craft paint that fit the bill. Add a few drops at a time and mix well each time until you get the shade you’re after.

Mix several paint colors to get the color you want.

For these, I mixed three colors using a blend of blues, yellows, greens, and tans to get the shades I needed.

Step 3: Sponge the paint onto the glass

Apply paint to glass with sponge dauber

Using cheap sponge paint daubers, tap the paint onto the clean glass. It can be tricky to cover the entire surface so be sure to protect your work area in case you need to put the jar down while it’s covered in paint.

I opted to add some spots of a secondary color to these to add some interesting color variation but these are equally lovely painted in one solid color.

The reason you want to use a sponge dauber to paint glass to look like sea glass is a matter of texture. If you use a brush, there will be a lit of streaking which takes away from the realistic effect. The pour and swirl method that I’ve seen a lot of people use for a stained glass effect almost always ends in drips and unevenness. The sponge will create a nicely textured finish that is reminiscent of tumbled sea glass. Plus? Those little divots will highlight the dusty finish we’ll apply at the end.

Step 4: Bake your glass

Place glass jars on sheet pan with parchment paper to bake

Place your painted jars onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put the whole thing into a cold oven. Then, set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it comes to temp, turn the oven off and let the jars sit in the warm oven for at least 2 hours.

Or longer if you have other things to do in the meantime 🙂

Step 5: Rub with chalk

Rub chalk all over the painted glass

Now here’s where the true magic happens! Take your cured sea glass painted candle holders and rub them all over with a stick of white chalk.

Yup, just the cheap kind you can buy anywhere.

This step adds that lovely dusty matte finish that real sea glass has. It also serves to highlight all those divots in the paint that give it a more high-end look.

Pop in a candle and you’re done!

Upcycled glass jars turned into candle holder by painting the glass to look like sea glass

These are awesome to hold citronella candles to keep those pesky mosquitos at bay on a nice summer night.

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