Introduction: Make a Candle Guard Centerpiece

If you want to have lit candles on your table, you might want to put something around them to prevent them from being knocked over and adding unwanted excitement to your party.

We're going to take a bit of 22 gauge metal (the thinnest steel I could get at OSH) and cut a pattern into it and then cut it out. Then we'll bend it around a convenient cylinder (a soda can is pretty convenient).

I made it at Techshop!  www.techshop.ws


Step 1: Sizing the Metal

I used a soda can as the cylinder to wrap the metal around.

If you want to wrap something around a cylinder you need to get the circumference of the cylinder. You can just measure the diameter of the cylinder and then the famous formula C=pi*r^2 (circumference equals pi times the radius squared) (remember that the radius is 1/2 the diameter). But I find it difficult to get the measurement across the exact center.

Instead, I got some tape and rolled it around the outside with the sticky side out. I stuck it to itself and cut off the excess. Then I pulled it off, cut it, put it on a piece of paper and measured it.

You can also just use a cloth measuring tape.  (So much simpler *if* you have one!)

However you do it add some space because you can't bend metal around the cylinder as tightly as you can bend cloth or tape around it. I added 1/2" but that wasn't quite enough so try 1".

Step 2: Patterns

I got my pattern from this other Instructable (it's OK, I got permission from the author) https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-A-Luminaria-With-A-Laser-Etcher/

It turns out that this isn't a very good pattern for cutting out of metal (it worked well for paper). But it further turns out that it COULD be great, even better than a more sensible pattern. But I'll go into that in the next step.

I've included the Coreldraw files in case you want to just use this or modify it.

Of course, you'll want to develop your own patterns but looking at my leaves might be instructive.

Step 3: Oops - Two Wrongs Make a Right

You have a pattern. Take it into Coreldraw, turn it into a vector and export it to DFX file (you can see more about this here https://www.instructables.com/id/Cutting-Out-Your-Face/, steps 8-12 -- no really, I'm not trying to self-promote) and then cut it on the plasma cutter.

As you can see from the picture, almost all of the details in the leaves got lost in the cutting! OOPS!

The obvious solution to this is to make simpler patterns that won't just fall out. One of the leaf patterns I used worked pretty well and I think you could do an overall pattern just made of leaves like that.

One of the leaves had so much complexity that the plasma cutter gave up. OOPS again!

But wait, it's the most interesting of the set. You could do this on purpose by simply removing some of the outline so that the leaf doesn't get cut out. I think this would look even better than having all the shapes behave themselves.

And that's what I mean by "two wrongs make a right" -- my two "OOPS" add up to a cooler pattern than I would have thought about otherwise.

Another thing I did wrong was to have the pattern too close to the edges. You want to have a nice gap that can roll neatly so move maybe a whole inch from the edge.

Step 4: Roll Your Own

Put your cylinder in the middle (not at one end) of your cut out plate, put on some gloves and pull up the edges. Push hard, roll it around, try to force it together.

Now take out the can and push it together until you like it's shape. It will tend to have straight lines between cuts that are close to the edge.

You can see that it's not *quite* wide enough to go all the way around the can. But it's OK, it works anyway. It is, thank goodness, very forgiving.

Step 5: Dent the Base

I also cut out some bases so that the candle wouldn't be sitting on the table directly. That way if it burns all the way down it won't set stuff on fire.

The base is just a little smaller than the guard, again C=pi*r^2 comes in handy here.

You want it to be a little concave so the wax will pool ON the base, not on the table so I hit it with a hammer. There is probably a better, more elegant solution but probably not one more satisfying!

Step 6: Add a Candle

Put the candle on the base by lighting it and dripping wax on it. Then push the bottom of the candle in. Or you can glue a tack to the base and just stick it on that.

Then put the guard around it and there you are!

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