We have a ton of tea light candles leftover from our wedding, but they burn out quickly and it’s a hassle to dig up fresh ones. So we came up with this design to display them but also store extras so it’s easy to refill.
We’ve broken this project up into gifs to give a quick walk through on how we made it. We messed up a few times (haha, ok a lot of times) and had some tips along the way so if you want that extra content check out our video above.
- 1×12 wood (we used premium pine)
- Thin brass rods (or aluminum rods, or copper rods, etc)
- Drill guide
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Band saw
- Digital calipers (optional)
- Random orbit sander (optional, you could sand by hand instead)
- Belt sander (optional, you could sand by hand instead)
- Dremel tool
- Bessey clamp
- Wood putty
- Protractor (optional)
- Titebond original wood glue
Step 1: Cut to Length
We first took some 1×12 pine and cut it to length on our miter saw (we did 6″, 8″, and 10″) for each height of candle holder. We used premium pine so it required a little less finishing, but is still pretty cheap.
Step 2: Cut Segments
The main body is made from 6 segments cut at a 30 degree angle on both sides. At first we used a miter gauge to push the wood through our table saw, using a cut off as a spacer to get the width consistent (which was removed before the cut). This didn’t work once the piece we were cutting started getting smaller though, so we ended up using a sled (we get into that more in the video).
Next we did a test fit. Everything seemed fine at this point, though we did notice the pieces tapered a slight amount… more on that later.
Step 3: Sanding and Gluing
We sanded all the pieces individually, making sure not to round the corners and edges (we wanted them to meet flush). We did some of this by hand and some with a random orbit sander. Then we used painters tape not only to hold everything in place, but also for the glue up (we used Titebond original wood glue). It’s a really great way to hold pieces together in situations where clamps may not make sense.
Speaking of glue ups, this was a particularly satisfying one… though we maaay have used an excessive amount of glue.
Step 4: Making the Base
We glued the base down with our favorite clamps.
Step 5: Cutting the Angle (optional)
It would have made sense to cut this angle before gluing the base down for sanding purposes, so we did for the final one (the first one we glued the base onto before cutting the angle, which was doable, just harder to sand).
This step is optional – we did it because we think it looks cool and it makes it easier to grab the candles from the storage area. We did it by marking the angle with a protractor and very carefully following that cut on our band saw, making sure to go slowly and not over cut.
Step 6: Brass Rods
To support the top candle, we used brass rods. In an earlier version of this project, we had attempted to cut a small hexagon that perfectly fit recessed inside the top of the candle holder, but the brass rods are WAY easier and we think they are a nice aesthetic detail.
We cut two pieces of brass per candle a little longer than they needed to be with metal snips. Then we sanded them down on our belt sander little by little until they were the perfect length.
Next we used our drill guide to carefully drill through the sides of the candle holder (we used our digital calipers to measure the diameter of the rods and pick the right bit size). We inserted the brass rods through the holes and carefully hammered them into place with our mallet.
Step 7: Finishing
Shellac is our favorite finish, because it’s pretty easy. When dry, it raises the grain slightly so we sand it with 600 grit sandpaper very lightly between coats.
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! We hit a lot of snags learning this project but we definitely learned a lot :)
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