How to Upcycle a Crystal Head Vodka Bottle Into a Sugar Skull Candle Holder

sugar skull candle holder

Y’all, I drank some vodka so that my kids and I could make this project. Friends, I am always working for YOU!

It’s October. You need a sugar skull candle holder.

There are skull-shaped vodka bottles for sale in liquor stores.

Let’s play!


To make your own sugar skull candle holder, you will need:

  • Skull-shaped glass bottle. I’m using empty Crystal Head vodka bottles (hiccup!), but there are other skull-shaped glass bottles around.
  • Rust-Oleum Paint+Primer spray paint, heirloom white. I don’t love spray paint, obviously, because it’s not eco-friendly, BUT this exact color in this exact brand is the perfect bone color.
  • Paint pens. We used both Sharpie and Beric paint pens. I, personally, preferred the narrower tips of the Beric pens, but both brands show up well and don’t flake off or smear.

spray painting skull bottles


  1. Clean and paint the skull-shaped glass bottle. There’s a neat trick that you can do to paint a bottle: stick a pole in the ground, upend the bottle over the pole, and get the whole bottle, top, and bottom, in one go! I, however, didn’t feel like digging around for a pole, so I just turned the bottles upside-down after they dried and sprayed on another coat. No big deal.
  2. Decorate the bottles with paint pens. Have a lot of fun with this! Draw patterns and designs or focus on one big concept; either way its going to look absolutely awesome.

decorating skull bottle heads

This is a great project for a kid to do if they can treat paint pens respectfully. Teach them all about the Day of the Dead, let them look at lots and lots of images of real sugar skulls, and then let them be as creative as they like.

If you want to seal your sugar skull candle holder with a clear sealant, you can, but in this case, I don’t really think it’s necessary. I also didn’t want to make my own sugar skull candle holder shiny.

The Crystal Head vodka bottle fits a standard-sized taper candle, and I’d recommend cutting a cardboard circle out of recycled food packaging to fit around the candle so that you’re not in any danger of wax dripping onto your beautiful creation.

finished skull head bottle candle holder

P.S. Want to make a REAL sugar skull? Check out my walk-through here!

P.P.S. Want to make even more types of sugar skulls? Check out some of my other favorite sugar skull projects!

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.

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