Candle Holders for your Refuge

Contributed by Turningtide

Hey, it’s Turningtide back again to keep a promise I made last time.

In “Building a Magical Refuge” I wrote, “Time to decorate and set up. Find the compass points, and mark or mount an elemental symbol or a candle holder at each. Two will be on the original walls, and two on your new refuge walls. Jack showed me how to make candle holders held up with Velcro so they can come off and let you stack the panels out of the way when not in use. I’ll share that design later, in another post.”

So, here it is. Again, this is in my own words but the drawings are Jack’s. This is just one of many possible ways you could rig up the candle holders, but this way uses some of the leftovers from building the Refuge itself so it’s the way we chose.

You’ll need four stainless-steel soup ladles, the kind with long flat handles with hanging holes in them (not hooked ends). We did some shopping around and settled on the “9.8-inch Stainless Steel Soup Spoon Ladle” at $13.99 from Bed, Bath and Beyond. As of this writing they’re nearly sold out (“Only 6 Left! Order Soon!”) but we’ve seen similar ones for sale on Amazon and Wayfair. All that matters is the general geometry, though longer handles are better.

You’ll also need:

  • Two scrap wood blocks.
  • A hammer.
  • A scrap of heavy cloth, or some garment you no longer wear.
  • Masking tape left over from making the Refuge.
  • Two picture-hanging hooks. If your walls are drywall, we suggest Lowe’s item #264596, Hillman Monkey Hooks: $3.98 for a pack of four as of March 16, 2024. If they’re not drywall, check with someone there for a recommendation. Also, if you’re renting or leasing the space be sure placing the hooks is OK with the owner.
  • Some of your leftover Velcro from making the Refuge. Cut four strips of “loop side” as long as the flat part of your ladle handle. Also cut two strips of “hook side” each about a foot long.
  • One of the razor knives from making the Refuge, or another sharp blade.
  • Some extra candle wax or plain paraffin wax. And,
  • A source of heat.

Then go step by step…

  1. Look down the length of the ladle handle. It’s probably curved. Lay the ladle on the wood blocks, fold the garment or cloth scrap to form a pad, put it over the ladle so the hammer won’t mar its finish, then carefully hammer on it (black arrows in the drawing) until the handle is straight.
  2. If the bowl is very far off from making a right angle with the handle, once the handle is straight stand up the ladle on the handle’s end on one of the wood blocks and carefully hammer on the bowl until it does make a right angle.

You may have to go back and forth between steps 1 and 2 a few times before it’s right.

  1. Do the same for the other three ladles.
  2. Attach one of the loop-side Velcro pieces to the back of the flat part of the handle. Trim it to size with the razor knife if necessary.
  3. If you haven’t done it already, set up your Refuge and mark the quarter points on its walls and the permanent ones with pieces of masking tape. Be sure the marks are at the right height, so once the ladles are hung up they won’t collide with Altar items or make you stretch up too high or bend too low.
  4. At each quarter point on the Refuge panels, set the ladle with its bowl at the mark. Then stick a piece of Velcro to the panel so its bottom edge matches the bottom edge of the Velcro on the ladle handle. CAREFUL! If it sticks wrong, you may not be able to peel it off without taking some of the paint off too. (#1 in the image at right.)
  5. At each quarter point on the permanent walls, install a picture-hanging hook at a height that will put the ladle bowl at your mark. (#2 in the image.)
  6. To mount a wax candle not too top-heavy in the holder, try just heating the bowl of the ladle enough to melt the wax a little at the candle’s bottom edges, then let it cool holding the candle in place. (#3.)
  7. For a taller taper candle or an LED candle, first hang up the ladle. Melt some wax, pour enough of it into the bowl of the ladle to fill it (carefully! Spills can be hard to clean up!) and let it cool to form a flat surface level with the edge of the bowl.
  8. An LED candle can just sit on top of the cooled wax so you can lift it and turn it on or off. For a taper candle melt some wax at the bottom end, let it drip hot onto the wax in the bowl, then press down and let it cool to anchor the candle in place. (#4.)
  9. When using the Refuge, hang two ladles on the permanent walls using the hooks and press the other two against the Velcro strips so the hooks and loops engage. There should be several inches of hook-side above each handle’s end so the Velcro will be less likely to start peeling off. (This is why the strips on the panels should be longer than the ones on the handles.)
  10. When taking down the Refuge to store it, just unhook the ladles from the walls and carefully “un-Velc” those on the panels. The panels will now store flat against an out-of-the-way wall just as before.

Hope this helps!



I’m that paradoxical creature, an Urban Witch making do the best I can amid all the noise and waste, trying to connect with Nature through weekend forays to the mountains or beach and the stones and shells I’ve brought back or found at stores or online. Strictly a solitary up to now, but who knows what the future holds?