Embracing the Rainbow: DIY Painted Candlestick Holders and Lessons Learned in Accessorizing your Fireplace.

Mantle decorated… go ahead and check that off the list!

This living room is starting to look like the people that live here have got it together! (Don’t let it fool you, we definitely don’t)

Three sentances in, and already on a tangent. Any hoo… Look! Look!

Ok. So, I know mantles are not the most exciting topic in the world, And, as far as mantles go, it’s probably not the most amazing mantle in the world. But, still, I am pretty proud of it!

I have a confession to make, Decor accessories freak me out. Ceramic knickknacks, while I often admire them on the racks at TJ Maxx, we don’t own a single one. (I really love those glass sand timer things… but I have no idea where it is appropriate to display one) I always look on in envy at the little vignettes, created of frames and candles and odds and ends, that other people are able to arrange so easily. I’ve just never been able to do it. Until now.

What really makes the mantle, is those rainbow candle holders.  My latest little DIY project. (When I dreamed this up- I thought I was a genious! That this was a completely original idea. Then I started seeing painted candlestick holders all over Pinterest. Martha Stewart even has a tutorial… Damn you Martha!)

Here’s how I did it:

I bought several brass candlestick holders from the local thrift store. All of them were under $1 (What a deal!) (Kennedy liked them too. She wanted me to tell you they make a lot of awesome noises when you beat them against the floor.)

Next, we washed them. (Or rather, I tried to keep the water in the bucket while Kennedy helped.)

There was still a little wax residue in the hard to reach spots. So we boiled it.That did the trick.

I gave the candle holders time to dry completely.

Time to prime. I used a primer made by Valspar (from Lowes) that was designed especially for metal. I sprayed a coat of primer over each candle holder. The candle holders had a lot of nooks and crannies, and I wanted to be thorough, so, after a couple hours, I turned them upside-down and sprayed another coat. 

Then I went wild on the spray paint aisle. I looked at dozens of colors before settling on these (later, I switched out that farmhouse blue (upper middle) for a brilliant orange):

And sprayed away. This took several coats. Some more than others. I used a variety of spray paint brands. The most difficult thing was getting the color even on such uneven surfaces. A more experienced spray painter may be able to do it in a coat or two.

(As you can see, at this point I had developed a vision for the mantle and added a couple frames.)

And look at those beauties! Don’t they make you smile!

Here’s a close up of the other side, just in case you’re wondering about my the rainbow frames.

Turns out I didn’t use all the pieces I spray painted on the mantle. It looked way too chaotic with the whole mantle filled  up. It took me countless rearrangements and hours of staring to figure out that the ‘less is more’ mantra is really the way to go when it comes to mantle accessorizing.

I may used the extra candlesticks somewhere else. Maybe on our bar. Or maybe one day I’ll get the courage to attempt a centerpiece arrangement on the dinner table and they’ll be a part of that. Who knows? Another post for another time.

For now, lets just admire my beautiful mantle one last time. It’s everything I could hope for in a mantle… playfully sophisticated… subtly colorful … eclectically traditional.

Do you love it?

What about you? Have you been playing with spraying paint lately? I now have a collection of spray paints in the garage and I am on the prowl. Give me some ideas!


5 thoughts on “Embracing the Rainbow: DIY Painted Candlestick Holders and Lessons Learned in Accessorizing your Fireplace.

  1. It looks great – so much less busy. I hope you don’t mind me adding my two cents but I feel like it needs just one more thing – my mind thought of letters of some kind – not sure what colour but maybe letters that mean something to you – Giant K for Kennedy or JOY. I found some inspiration – the first mantle you see in the series of mantle pieces is the one I’m referring too. If you think not it certainly looks great the way it is – I just love the mirror and candles.



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