Saturday, May 8, 2010

DIY 'Natural Element' Candle Holders

I love candles.  Well, mostly the candle holders- I don't really use many 'real' candles with three kids running around. (Besides, when I do, my 4-year-old must have an internal buzzer that goes off and tells her that there is a candle burning, and she MUST blow it out immediately...)

The thing that triggered these holders is a fallen birch tree up the road from my house.  I've been looking at that thing since fall, because I knew I could do something with that bark.  I LOVE birch trees.  Anyway, these candle holders came to me all at once, and after pestering my husband to do the cutting and drilling, I made these:

I love the way they turned out.  Here's what you need:

  • 4"x4"x8" kiln dried timber (not pressure treated) cut into lengths of 4", 6", and 8"
  • drill and 1.5" wood boring bit
  • sandpaper
  • hot glue gun & extra glue sticks
  • sharp craft knife
  • birch bark
  • floral moss mat
  • raffia
  • battery-powered candles (for safety)
 Here's the bark, the moss mat, and the raffia.

Always use caution and be super careful when using power tools.  No boo-boos!

I'm using rechargeable votive-size candles, just because I don't want these things catching on fire.  I don't recommend using real candles in these...

Now, start with the 4"x4".  I'm sure you can have these things cut at the hardware/ home improvement to whatever sizes you want, but I had the hubby cut them down for me.  Plus, I know I'll use the rest of that 4"x4" for something.  I had him cut out three blocks; one 4" high, one 6", and the last 8".  Then, being the good guy that he is, he drilled out the holes for my candles, too.  He used a 1.5" wood boring drill bit, and drilled a hole deep enough to have the top of the candle sit flush with the top of the wood.  1.5" was just a little bigger than the candles, so it was a perfect fit.  Nice!  Take the sandpaper and sand out any rough spots or super-sharp edges.  Once you've done this, you'll end up with these:

This is the fun part- covering them up with stuff & glue.  I chose to make the smallest the birch bark holder (because that's how much bark I had).  When I ripped the bark off of the tree, it had been sitting there for a looong time, and was pretty dirty, so if you're going this route, just take a damp washcloth and give the bark a wipe.  It comes surprisingly clean. 

Start with the sides.  Squeeze on a good amount of hot glue, making sure to get the edges, and lay the bark on top.  Give it a good press, and using the craft knife, cut the excess off, using the edges of the wood as a guide.  Repeat on the other three sides.

Using the side as a guide to cut along...  don't mind the fingernails...

 Hole cut for the candle- use the edge of the wood as your cutting guide.

Do the same for the top, and cut the hole for the candle.  One down, two to go.

Next is the moss holder.  I used the floral moss mat instead of the loose moss.  The mat has a mesh backing, is easy to cut, and while it's messy, it's a whole less messier. 

This one is super easy.  You pretty much just glue and wrap the mat around the wood, and cut off the excess.  Then glue some on top, cut out the hole, trim the excess, and you're done.  One to go.

Mossy holder, almost done....

Last is the raffia holder.  This one was by far the most time consuming.  Start at the bottom, glue the raffia strand in place, and wrap the raffia around the block, gluing lightly at the corners.

Keep on wrapping all the way up to the top.  I used a package of raffia that was 80' long for this.  Oh, and I recommend cutting off the knots along the way that tie the strands together, to have a nice, bump-less look.

When you get to the top, glue and wrap around the square.  There may be a better method to this... anyway, just keep on gluing and wrapping and sticking the raffia in place until the top is covered. 

 More wrapping and gluing...

Working on the top.  Can you tell I paint my nails and them forget about them completely?  Eeek, sorry about that picture...

There!  All done!  Now you've got three pretty, natural-looking candle holders!  Yay!  Go on and decorate, people!

 I love the texture of these!

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My name is Sarah. I am a wife; the mother of three beautiful and crazy girls; a person of many interests, many that I am just finding out; and just generally me in every way.
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