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?


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  • By: mattincinci

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

  • By: preeta

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

  • By: Rajas

    fantastic idea……….will definately try it.

    Thanks for sharing

  • By: Wayne

    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!

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi, Wayne. Thanks for sharing the adaptation. We love that idea.

  • By: 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.

  • By: 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



  • By: 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!)

  • By: 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.

  • By: Staci

    These are fantastic! I'm including them in my Friday Favorites feature this week!

  • By: pricehunter

    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.

  • By: Katie @ Cheep Ideas

    These are so great!! I've added these to my DIY Roundup today, and you can grab an "I've been featured" badge if you'd like!

    Great idea!! Thanks for sharing!

  • By: Marie

    What a great idea, making votives from oranges. I can't wait to try this!

  • By: jukey1948

    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?

  • By: patti

    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!!

  • By: Donna

    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?!!!

  • By: Karen

    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!

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Well orange you a lucky girl, Karen. (Sorry, I just had to do that)

  • By: deidre

    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.

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi, Deidre

      Thanks for finding us. We hope you'll share some of your ideas with us as well. Have a wonderful holiday

  • By:

    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!

    • By: Dr. Brent

      How wonderful! Thanks for letting us know. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season

  • By: Cyn

    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)

  • By: Artemas

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

  • By: Jennifer

    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!

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Thanks, Jennifer

      I'm sure you've had a good idea or two in your day, as well

  • By: bongtschik

    Don't waste the meat of the oranges.

    Make some delicious orange-cookies

    from the orange's meat.

    • By: Dr. Brent

      We would love a recipe for orange cookies. Do you mind sharing?

  • By: James

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

  • By: jc

    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.

  • By: Judith

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

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi, Judith

      The halves actually sit fairly well. To avoid accidental bumps, we placed the candles on a small saucer.

  • By: claudia

    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)

  • By: Suzanne

    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!

  • By: SARAH!

    ANTS!!! not cool to leave citrus hanging around. fruit flies. etc.

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi, Sarah

      Once the meat of the orange is removed (and with it all of the fruit's sugar) the bugs couldn't care less about it

  • By: Elisa

    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 🙂


    • By: Dr. Brent

      Thanks, Elisa

      Check back often. Maybe we'll have something else that catches your eye

  • By: lin

    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.

  • By: Mary

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

  • By: Mike

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

  • By: Robin C.

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

  • By: Barbara-Ann

    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!

    • By: 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

  • By: Cyn

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

  • By: trill42

    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.

  • By: Linda J.

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

    • By: 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.

  • By: Erunsegraroro

    Hi, Congratulations to the site owner for this marvelous work you've done. It has lots of useful and interesting data.

  • By: Rachel

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

  • By: LadyWillow

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

    Thanks for sharing.

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