Make a Garden Flamingo Soar as an Eye-Catching Candelabra

Plastic garden flamingos are always a campy, fun addition to your outdoor space, no matter if you live in Greater Washinton or Greater Miami. 

These colorful, cheerful characters add whimsy and welcome when they stand tall as outdoor decorations.  

However, this week’s DIY blog will inspire you (we hope!) to think outside the box—and garden—by upcycling plastic flamingos into an eye-catching, smile-inducing candelabra that is sure to take flight in the hearts of those who see it in your space living space.

`1. As Spring arrives, check out Goodwill for garden accessories

Goodwill often has items ideal for your garden, patio, balcony, or front porch.  Amongst the goods you will likely find are flowerpots, watering cans, figurines, birdhouses, and other items to dress up your outdoor area. 

If you are very lucky like I was, you might come across a small flock of plastic flamingos ready to take flight as part of your next DIY project!  When I saw this charming trio, they were a must-buy, given their curvy necks, handsome profiles, and sturdy, lightweight construction. 

Your biggest challenge might be deciding which of the many options to choose from to transform these festive feathered friends.

2. Collect a candle holder

As you are perusing the aisles of items at Goodwill, check out the Housewares Section to find a candle holder to use for this project. 

The one I found was rather heavy and had two arms to hold candles.  The idea of using it as a place for a pair to perch was perfect!  

While I think the candle holder I found is truly one of a kind, you could certainly use a tall, single candle holder/base and follow the steps here for a matching set of flamingos-turned-candelabras.  While a garden flamingo is pretty lightweight, you want to ensure your candle holder/base is strong and sturdy enough to hold it up.

3. Cut a hole for your flameless candle

A key component of this project is two tall, battery-powered/flameless candles.  Of course, we won’t be lighting the candles with a match, just a battery to make them flicker and shine.  See if Goodwill has these, too; I hit the dollar store to pick the ones featured here. 

Use a marker to draw a circle on the bottom of your flamingo then use a sharp, craft knife to cut a hole.  Flip your flamingo over and do the same process of drawing a circle, this time a smaller one, then cutting away the plastic with a craft knife.  Take your time and be super careful with this step.   Ideally, the holes will be tight enough to hold the flamingo in place on the candle you insert through it.

Expert Tip:

Consider using a power drill for this step.  If you have a large bit, enlist it to add a hole to accommodate the thickness of your flameless candle.  This will be a safer step, too, as you avoid the possibility of cutting your fingers.  Wish this tip had come to me before I finished the project!

4.  Secure your flameless candle in place

Insert your candle through the hole in the bottom and have it come through the other side, ideally tight and secure.  Unscrew the candle’s base where the batteries are placed, flip it, and glue it to your candle holder.  This will help to keep your flamingo and candle upright and standing tall.  

Place your flamingo with the candle through it on top of the candle base (now glued to the candle holder) and screw in place. 

Protect the flame part of your candle by covering it with painter’s tape.

5. Spray on some shimmering style

This step is always so exciting, so take a deep breath before diving in, so to speak!   

Place your flamingo candelabra/candle holder (now all together with the birds, candles, and base) on a drop cloth and in a well-ventilated space or outdoors.  Spray on metallic gold paint from top to bottom and right to left.  Carefully add a couple of light layers, ensuring you get all edges, sides, parts, and pieces so your paint coverage is solid.  Let it dry when then remove the painter’s tape from the candle flames. 

Why is this step so exciting?  In an instant and with a couple of sprays, the paint connects the various random items making them look like they always belonged together!

6. Find a home for your feathered friends

Your flamingo candelabra will look stunning in any place or space, no matter your decorative style.  Place it on a credenza next to contemporary artwork and a stack of old books.  Put it on a coffee table for an immediate, elegant conversation piece.  

Wherever you place your garden flamingos-turned-dynamite-décor, you certainly won’t ruffle any feathers!

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Tim Kime

Artist, Motivational Speaker, Life Coach

Tim Kime is an artist, life coach, and connector. He is the President of Kime Leadership Associates, offering executive coaching, meeting facilitating, and motivational speaking. He is also the Chief Creative Force of Transformation Junkies which upcycles furniture and other household items into functional works of art. He combined his two passions—unleashing the potential in people and transforming items with the launch of the Art of Possibilities Workshops. These workshops are part upcycling, part dreaming, and part goal setting.