Light up someone's Christmas by giving homemade candlesticks

ARE you wondering what to give friends and family for Christmas this year? People love to get presents that are handmade. Yesterday, we showed you how to make marbled paper, which is great to use for bookmarks and notepaper. Today, we'll show you how to make candlesticks. When you want a festive atmosphere, light candles. All the better if you have attractive candlesticks, too. The holders below can be made in a variety of shapes, and they come out sleek and shiny. What you'll need Jars, lots of them in different sizes and shapes. Collect them around the neighborhood. The jars must have lids. Newspapers Elmer's glue or rubber cement Wheat paste (an adhesive used in wallpapering). One pound costs about $1.60 and makes three large candlesticks, depending on height. Available from wallpaper and paint stores, and occasionally found in hardware stores. Salt, about a tablespoon (used as a preservative) Circles cut from cardboard Spray paint, quick-drying Scraps of lace, rickrack, string, cord, yarn (not essential) Here's how 1.Spread newspapers over your work area.

2.Tear (do not cut) newspaper into half-inch strips (they may be narrower, but not wider). You'll need about half a large grocery bag full for one large candlestick.

3.Screw lids on all jars. Now you're ready to stack them. Since the jars serve as the core of your candlestick and determine its shape, take your time, and experiment. Stack and restack the jars in different ways to achieve the best overall shape. The largest jar should be at the bottom. You might want to use a pickle or mayonnaise jar as a base, then a jelly jar, topped with a mustard jar. You can go four high, too. Or make a small candlestick with only one jar or pop bottle.

5.For variety, place a circle of cardboard between a lid and glass bottom. It should stick out a quarter- or half-inch all the way around. This can be done in one or two places in the stack. Although the circles look strange at this beginning stage, they give an interesting dimension to the finished product. And they're a good perch for sprigs of holly if you're making a holiday candlestick.

6.When you're satisfied with the stacking, glue the jars together, pasting a glass base on top of a metal lid (or cardboard circle). On top of your last lid, paste an inverted metal lid. Your candle will sit in this, so it must be metal, not plastic, for safety reasons. Be sure the glue is dry before you apply the papier-m^ach'e.

7.To make the papier-m^ach'e, sprinkle one cup of wheat paste into three cups of warm water. You'll have plenty for a large candlestick. Add salt. Mix it well, getting out all the lumps. (If you use flour, add one cup of water to 1-1/2 cups of flour. If the mixture becomes too stiff or sticky as you work, add a little more moisture.)

8.Put paste on both sides of a strip of newspaper by running your thumb and index finger along the strip's entire length. One by one, apply the strips to the jars in criss-cross fashion, rather than vertically or horizontally. Tuck one end of the strip tightly under the cardboard circle, bringing it over the edge to the top of the cardboard. This guarantees that no cardboard edges will be visible. Cover every speck of the jars, lids, and cardboard with three layers of newspaper, but don't put strips on the top metal lid. Keep the third layer as smooth as possible so your candlestick will have a professional look. This is messy, but fun.

9.After the third layer is finished, you can make designs on the candlestick with lace, rickrack, swirls, or ``S'' curves of string and yarn. Apply decorations with the same wheat paste mixture. (It's sometimes advisable to make a plain candlestick before getting into decorated ones, just to make sure you have the hang of it.)

10.Let the candlestick dry completely. In a warm house, a day and night will do.

11.Painting is the last step. Spray on three thin coats to avoid drips. It's best to do this in a basement, garage, or outside if you live in a warm climate. Watch that the spray doesn't overshoot and go onto the laundry or dad's car. If you want an ``old'' look, you can apply commercial antique paint to various curves and crevices.

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