beekman 1802 almanac magazine, beekman 1802 boys project, DIY, easy project

These faux-ceramic candlesticks are made of air-dry clay, molded around those old brass candlesticks you can find at a thrift store for a few dollars each. We love these simple and elegant hand-molded forms. You can give them a glazed look by applying a coat of non-yellowing clear enamel once the clay is completely dry. Place colorful taper candles in these holders for a playful spin and to break up the all-white look. When these aren’t in use on your table, place them on your mantel to add a little drama.


  • Masking tape
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • 2.2-pound package of DAS air-dry clay
  • Water in a small bowl
  • Brass candlesticks
  • Rolling pin


  1. Tape down a layer of plastic drop cloth on a flat table. Remove the clay from the package and tear off a large handful. You will need about a baseball-size wad of clay for each 6- to 8-inch candlestick. Adjust accordingly if yours is smaller or larger and add more clay or take some away as you go. Wrap up the remaining clay.
  2. Wet your hands and knead the clay for about a minute to warm it up. Place the clay at the center of the plastic and press it down with your palm. Roll it out evenly in all directions with the rolling pin, keeping it the same thickness all the way around. Stop when the clay is 2 to 3 mm thick.
  3. Center the candlestick over the clay. The clay should stretch at least an inch past the top and bottom of the candlestick. Add more clay if needed.
  4. Pick up the edges of the clay very gently. Push the clay around the candlestick, going in one direction until the 2 sides of the clay meet. Coax the clay into all the curves, using water as needed. Once the clay has covered the candlestick all the way around, pull off any excess clay at the meeting point (reserve any scraps). Better to leave a little extra and press it back evenly into the candlestick. Make a loop with your fingers around each curve and twist back and forth, closely conforming the clay covering to the shape of the candlestick underneath.
  5. For the top of the candlestick, gently push the clay over, being very mindful not to rip the clay. Use water on your hands to help prevent this. Coax the clay over the edge and into the hole where the candle will rest. Once the top is even, cut away the extra clay in the hole to allow the candle to fit inside.
  6. Now wrap the clay around the base of the candlestick until it’s completely covered (stop at the edge of the candlestick and don’t wrap any clay under the bottom). If needed, tear off a rolled-out scrap of clay, and add it back to the base with a little water. Smooth it out to look like a seamless piece of clay.
  7. Go over all the clay one more time with wet hands, very gently smoothing out any lumps, bumps, cracks, or holes. Try to recreate the original curves as closely as possible.
  8. Set the candlestick upright to dry for at least 48 hours before use. Make additional candlesticks if desired.
  9. Be gentle with these clay candlesticks during use and clean them with a wet rag to remove wax and dirt spots, if necessary.

As featured in the Summer 2017 Edition of Beekman 1802 Almanac Magazine. For more check out A Well-Crafted Home: Inspiration and 60 Projects for Personalizing Your Space by Janet Crowther. Photography by Julia Wade. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

by Aray Till

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