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‘Leftovers’ light up holidays

Disposable aluminum containers can be turned into festive votive candle holders.King Features (King Features)
Disposable aluminum containers can be turned into festive votive candle holders.King Features (King Features)

There’s more to Thanksgiving Day leftovers than meets the eye. If you used disposable aluminum-foil pans or trays for roasting the turkey and for baking cookies and pies, think again before tossing them into the recycle bin.

Wash these “leftovers” well, then gather any extras you didn’t use, and create tin-craft-look shiny votive candleholders to brighten your December holiday home.

Once you get started, you’ll discover it’s a fun and easy afternoon activity to enjoy with your school-age kids during a wonderful long weekend.

Here’s the stuff you’ll need:

•Clean, disposable aluminum-foil roasting pan, baking tray or cookie sheet and one disposable aluminum soufflé-size cup





•Pushpin, small hole punch and/or hammer and nail

•Clean sand or kosher salt

•Votive candle

Here’s the fun in three easy steps:

1. Use a pencil to trace or draw a 4-inch-by-5-inch shape, such as a star, leaf or flower, on the smooth surface of a disposable aluminum-foil roasting pan or cookie sheet. Bold designs in kids’ coloring books can be used for tracing a shape.

Or, you might want to use a favorite cookie cutter for a pattern. Cut out the foil shape with scissors, rounding any sharp edges and smoothing out any wrinkles by rubbing the surface with a spoon.

2. Use a pushpin, small hole punch or a hammer and a nail to make several randomly spaced holes on the foil. If you are using a hammer and nail, place a stack of newspapers underneath for padding.

Draw details on the back side of the aluminum with a pencil to create impressions in the metal.

3. Cut a smooth strip of aluminum to fit around the outside of the aluminum soufflé cup, overlapping it a bit. Staple it together, then staple the bottom of the shape to the outside of the loop. Place the aluminum cup inside the loop.

To use, fill the cup three-quarters full with clean white sand or kosher salt, place the votive candle snugly in the center and light.

Safety note: An adult should always be present for lighting and burning of candles.

Donna Erickson is the author of several books about family activities and host of a public television series. See more at

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