December 8th is Bodhi Day! To celebrate, how about painting your own Bodhi Day glass candle holders? You can make Christmas-themed holders instead, or decorate them with whatever images have significance for you.

 Bodhi Day

Bodhi Day (pronounced ‘bow-dee’) is a Buddhist celebration of the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautauma, attained Enlightenment (known as bodhi). After years of looking for answers, Siddhartha gave up his ascetic practices and meditated under a peepal tree until he attained Enlightenment and became Buddha. On the day of his Enlightenment, Buddha watched Venus rising and discovered the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path which are now central to Buddhist teachings.

There are many ways to celebrate Bodhi Day: stringing colorful lights around one’s house and lighting a candle for 30 days to symbolize the many pathways of Enlightenment; decorating a fiscus tree with lights, beads, and three ornaments to symbolize the Three Jewels of Buddhism (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha); eating a meal of rice and milk to commemorate when Sujata offered food to Buddha after his awakening to give him strength; and making cookies in the shape of a tree to represent the Bodhi Tree.

For this DIY project, I decided to incorporate some of the Buddhist traditions by painting images of the Bodhi Tree and Siddartha onto candle holders. If you follow this project, you will have beautiful, self-crafted, holders for your Bodhi Day candles.


I bought all of my materials at Michaels for $27. This price may vary depending on what kind of paint you get and how many colors you need.

Bodhi Candle Materials

The materials you will need for making Bodhi candles: paint, brushes, glass candle holder, and plate palate

  • assortment of glass paints or multi-surface paints (make sure it can be painted on glass). I used FolkArt® and Martha Stewart Crafts® multi-surface acrylic paints.
  • thick and fine paint brushes. I used Martha Stewart Crafts® brushes.
  • glass candle containers (with a smooth surface). I painted 3 smaller, round containers.
  • tea candles
  • a regular kitchen oven + baking tray (with aluminum foil)
  • paper plate (to use as your paint palate)
  • smaller bowl of water (to wash your paintbrush in)
  • paper towels (for drying brushes and cleanup)


  1. With a thick brush, paint your background color onto the outside of the glass. This color should be a lighter color to let light through. You can even water down the paint a little for a more translucent effect.

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  2. Place the glass on your baking tray and put it in a cold oven. Then set your oven at 250 °F and let it bake for 30 minutes. It is important that your oven is cold when you first put it in so that the glass doesn’t shatter.
  3. Once the candle is done baking, take it out of the oven to cool (about 15 minutes). Make sure to turn off your oven so that it will be cool for the next round.
  4. Once the glass is cool, you can paint on your decorative details. The detailing should be in a darker color to add contrast when the light shines through.

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  5. When you are done painting on the details, place the glass back on the tray and into the cool oven. Repeat Step 2 by setting the oven to 250 °F and letting it bake for 30 minutes. You can repeat this process for as many layers of paint as you want.
  6. Let the glass cool for 15 minutes and when it’s done, place a candle into the holder, light it, and see your beautiful Bodhi candle come to life!

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These candles are great for any holiday or occasion. Have fun making them yours and happy Bodhi Day to you all!

2 Responses to {Handmade Holidays} Bodhi Day Candles!

  1. LOVED how the candles turned out! I really want to try this soon. Cool story behind the meaning of it too :) I loved the big brown tree one – great job!

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