Upcycled Candle Holder to Zen Garden

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I had this hurricane candle holder but the glass piece broke.  I knew just what I wanted to make with it – a Zen Garden!  I have included a kid Zen Garden version as well!

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Here is the original candle holder base.

Upcycled Candle Holder to Zen Garden Video

I bought 2 packages of sand from Dollar Tree and placed it in the center of the candle holder.

I added a few decorative rocks from Dollar Tree, as well as an extendable backscratcher. You could also use a bent fork or look for a small gardening rake.

Place somewhere in your home and at times of stress use the backscratcher to make designs in the sand. You can also hold the rocks and rub your fingers on the smoothness or use them to draw as well. Even running your fingers through the sand is calming.

Kid Version –

My son has sensory processing disorder so sometimes he needs things like this to help him calm down, fulfill a sensory need, etc.  I find thought that most kids love this – my daughter often grabs it and messes around with it too.

I used a shoe box with a lid, added the sand, some glass flat rocks, and some cars from Dollar Tree. Kids can drive the cards and construction cards through the sand.  If you don’t like sand you can also use rice, beans, field corn, etc.

Add some spoons and forks to create designs, scoop and dump sand, and my son loved playing with his super heroes in it. Put the lid on it and it packs away nicely.

Want to see the video?  Click the link below…


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  1. Darlene B. says:

    This may be good for those who have seasonal effective disorder. On those really miserable winter days, play in the sand and pretend you’re at the beach where it’s warm! Thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. Thank you so much Darlene – it’s so true. Thank you for sharing that. My daughter is caught playing with it all of the time. My son has sensory processing disorder so he loves it too. I get the winter blues – so I’m hoping it’ll help me too.

  2. It even looks tranquil and it’s a great upcycle too!

    1. Thank you so much Carol – my kids are LOVING it and I’m thrilled.

  3. I just made a zen garden this past week. I plan to blog a post about it next week. Im waiting on a zen rake at this moment. haha.
    Hope you follow me so you can check it out.
    I was wondering how the dollar store sand would do. According to your zen garden, it did well!
    I ended up getting real sand off the beach but it is not as white as the sand I saw at the dollar store.
    Well done!

    1. Hi Lisa! Great minds think alike 🙂 I would LOVE to see your Zen Garden – thanks for the invite. Please let me know where you get your rake – I’m interested in upgrading as my kids are loving both Zen Gardens. I’d love to have beach sand. Since we’re not close this is what we got and it’s holding up great. Maybe I’ll collect some real sand the next time we get to a beach.

    1. Thank you Janet, and thanks for stopping by.

  4. What a fun way of making your own Zen garden! I love how you reused materials to create something that functions as decor and as something kids can enjoy.

    1. Thank you so much Brooke and the kids really are loving it and having a great time with it.

    1. Thank you so much Michele, and the best part is it’s getting so much love now.

  5. No way! What a fun idea that is easy to do. I think having a zen garden would be so peaceful.

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer and I’m so pleased that you like the idea. My kids are loving it so much – it’s made it even more worth doing.

  6. Karen Bailey says:

    I just joined my first blog ever and I’m 43 years old. You seem to be building a wonderful and passionate little crafting community. Thank you for sharing your creativity and knowledge, I plan to start some fun crafts myself and I appreciate you and your ideas. Thank you, Karen

    1. Hi Karen and welcome! I’m thrilled you joined your first blog. I wasn’t that much different from you, joined my first one around that age and now I’m blogging 😉 I’m so excited you are going to start some crafts – I’d love to see pictures of what you create! I’m so pleased you are enjoying some of my crazy creations.

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