Orange rind votives
Orange rind votives

Oranges would have been a rare delicacy in 1802, but as the owner of the mercantile, William Beekman would surely have been able to procure some for special occasions (and certainly Joanna would have wanted to show off a bit to her guests—what good hostess doesn’t?)

Our oranges cost only $3.99 a dozen, but  we found a way to turn them into a rare delight for New Years Eve. How? Glad you asked…


Cut orange through the middle.  Oranges are very pliable, so you can shape it into a nice sphere and also press it down on the table to flatten the bottom so that it will stand nicely when the project is done.


Use a knife to separate the meat of the orange from the rind.  We find that a grapefruit knife works best.


Use a spoon to scoop out the meat.


The cleaner you can get the rind, the less moisture and mess you’ll have later on. Be sure to save the edible part of the orange. It comes in handy for juicing – especially if the votives are for New Years Eve, as ours were. Think Mimosas on New Years morning…


Cut a hole in the center of the top of the orange to allow smoke to escape the votive.  We used a small round biscuit cutter, but stars or other cookie cutter shapes would also be festive.


Place a votive in the bottom half and then rejoin the two halves

Aromatic orange rind votives with whole cloves
Aromatic orange rind votives with whole cloves

We decorated the crown of the orange with whole cloves to match the garland we had strung earlier.  Set the votive in the center of a plate to provide support and eliminate messes.

A soft glow

Votives adorned the grand piano during the concert. As the votive heated the orange peel and cloves, their fragrance filled the music room.

Orange you glad you asked?

by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

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My grandmother used to stick a lot of cloves in an orange as an air freshener at xmas time


just amazing – thanx for this – i can only but imagine the beautiful aroma and the glow!!


My new wife and I made these last year, but we used a mini "star" cookie cutter instead of the circle. Planning on doing these again this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Laureen Shanagher

LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!…. I remember when my kiddies were young. We would make airfresheners, placing cloves into an orange.Sometimes I really miss those days. I plan on adding this as one of our Christmas Eve traditions.

Gregg Hierholzer

I saw you guys mentioned i think this idea in the book and i was thinking how do you carve an orange, not quite the same as doing a pumpkin, glad you shared would like to give this a try.

will share this on facebook if i can get it there. LOL



Eve Stavros

OK, Sharondipity at work here! I just made my first tangerine candle last week, and again last night. But, instead of using a tea light inside, I carefully removed the tangerine and left about 1/2" of the pith for a wick, filled the bottom half with olive oil, let the "wick" soak it up, lit it and Voila! A 100% natural, beautiful, compostable candle.

Wish I could take credit, but it was Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, over on Apartment Therapy (LOVE this site!)

Meg S.

Try surrounding the votive with coffee beans. The warming beans send off a scent as well, mixing well with the orange. Not sure about with cloves though.


Ok now THAT is a good idea. I got a bag of those little white candles in my house. I was looking for a way to make my front room smell better too. I bet the candle heats up the orange peel making the oil in it evaporate.


I am ready to try this!!!!! I can just imagine how wonderful it will be.

Has anyone tried to use other fruits, like grapefruits or limes?


i love it! the instrusctions are great as are the photos! i am in florida, where citrus is as close as the backyard, so i will have fun experimenting with this idea!!


Just ran across this site. "CUTE" idea! I like the idea of cutting holes for mini jack-o-lanterns. Here's my idea… about cutting snowflake, leaves, or any other shape with mini cookie cutters? Then they can be luminaries with a tealight or Led iside (usually seen on bags)! Love this?!!!


Funny, I just squeezed my fresh orange juice and then came across this site to make the orange candles. Great, since every day I have cleaned out oranges!


this is a great idea! i hope to try it for christmas this year. i have a feeling i am going to be spending a lot of time on this site.


My long-time pal, Marilyn, just joined up with me to look at The Beekman website AND now we just made one of these charming orange/clove orange votives, and are sitting in the dark admiring the scent and sight!

Thanks…happy holidays!


Oooh, good information, that. I hadn't thought to ask about the lifespan of these wonderful candles. Definitely want to make them for the holidays. Thank Artemas and Doc Brent! :0)


Hello. This is a very nice idea that I would like to try. What is the life span of the orange/candle?


See… this is why we need people like you. I love the orange glow! I would have never come up with this on my own. It's price is right and it's sustainable! 😉 great idea!


Don't waste the meat of the oranges.

Make some delicious orange-cookies

from the orange's meat.


this is great! and at $3.99/dozen, a steal. navel oranges are like $1.25/each on sale here in hawaii. 🙁


Cool idea. I may try it with LED string lights for a safe chain of mini jack-o-lanterns in front of my house for Halloween. Thanks for sharing this.


Great idea. One question. How do you attach the two pieces so the top does not get accidentally knocked off?


just made these orange votives, very cool! can't wait for the evening to come around, so that we can see and SMELL them!

(i scooped out the remaining flesh with a spoon so it doesn't get burnt by the candle)


You could use an exacto knife & cut jack 'o lantern faces into the orange if you were careful. Wouldn't that be different for Halloween!


this is great as we're gearing up for autumn! i may be linking this for a blog post on decor for halloween and autumn 🙂



What a great idea!!

I'm doing this just for me, heck why wait for a party?

Those would make cute mini-jack-o-lanterns for halloween, too.


This is so green. I'm going to make these for my next party. Thanks for the know how.


Great Idea! Imagine if you created snowflake patterns out of the cloves… these would be so festive all winter long.

Robin C.

Oh!I bet the smell though out the house is wonderful! Can't wait to try it…


Living in Florida, I am literally ankle deep in oranges that fall off our trees every year, and unfortunately rot on the ground. You can only eat so many oranges! This idea is fabulous! And I found it just in time for our big annual Independence Day bash! I'll be cutting oranges all day tomorrow to get these tea lites ready for the party! Thanks!

Dr. Brent

Hi, Barbara-Ann

I'm just betting that there's is something cool and creative that could be done with sparklers, too. Send us a photo of your project


What an absolutely wonderful idea! They're just beautiful and I imagine they smell heavenly. Thank you for this!


In the picture, you show a tea lite candle, not a votive. That's a good thing, because a votive would be too tall to safely burn in an orange. As an "orange rind tea lite", it seems like a clever idea.

Linda J.

What a great idea. The grandchildren will like to help with this. I could imagine the room smelling of oranges so nice.

Dr. Brent

Hi, Linda

This is a great project to do with children. After you've done the knife work, they will love decorating with the cloves.


Wow, I love this project! Great for holidays and parties. I just found your site via Curbly. I'll be linking to this.


Very inventive and a wonderful way to add natural fragrance to the house during the Holidays or anytime.

Thanks for sharing.