Introduction: Rustic Wooden Light Sculpture

When I recently visited a street market in the small town of Berdorf in the east of Luxembourg, I was inspired by some wood works that I saw at a sales stand.

In my woodshed I still have some wooden beams from the time when I renovated our house built in the 19th century. They are made of oak and served as door frame.

By this way, the old beam became a new purpose back in our house.

As foot for the sculpture, I used a rusty steel plate that harmonises very well with the old wood.

The candles create a warm comfortable light a bit like a small stove does.

A nice piece for long winter nights.

Step 1: Materials

You need only a few parts.

- 1 wooden beam (the one I used has about 14x15x95cm)

- 1 steel plate as foot (not indispensable, depending on the height of your beam)

- 1 lag screw 10x90mm

- 2 Tea Lights

- 2 decorative glasses for Tea Lights

- Rubber pads to prevent sliding and marring the floor

Step 2: Tools

You don´t need much tools, but they should be of good quality. Oak is one of the hardwoods and thus not very easy to handle.

I experienced some issues. So, using the hole cutter my beloved power drill reached its limits (overheated) and the shaft of my brand new chisel broke.

The tools you need:

- Axe

- Wire brush

- Power drill

- 10,5mm metal drill

- 8,5mm wood drill

- Hole cutter (diam. about 70mm)

- Set of chisels

- Hammer

- Oscillating saw with blades for wood

- Rasp

- Tapeline

- Glue

- Crayon, pencil

Step 3: Preparing the Beam

The beam I used was fairly weathered and I first had to take off the all the loose parts. By doing that, I found interesting details like knots and cracks and made them more apparent, so the beam slightly turned into a kind of wooden sculpture.

Step 4: Cutting the Windows

The cutting of the windows in the old oak beam is by far the most time consuming task.

Depending on the size of the beam and the candle glasses, outline one or more rectangles on the wider side of the beam to limit the depth of cut. This will cost you less sweat ;-).

My glasses have a diameter of 6.5cm, so I draw two windows of 8,5x20cm.

To simplify the hollowing I drilled with the hole cutter (with low rotational speed, 190rpm) a series of three holes. After that I took the oscillating saw to cut along the edge of the windows.

Wear a dust mask.

Now, angle the handle of the chisel toward you and gouge wood out from within the outline.

Turn the beam and repeat these steps on the opposite side. To position the hole cutter, use the hole drilled with the pilot bit to bore through the beam.

Continue until you see light at the end of the window ;-)

Finish off by smoothing the edges. I used the rasp of my multitool to do this nearly effortlessly.

Finally, drill a hole of 8,5mm in the lower side of the beam to mount the steel plate.

Step 5: Preparing the Foot Plate

Luckily the beam I used fitted perfectly on the steel plate. The only thing to do was to drill a hole (diam. 10,5mm) in the center of the plate to mount it on the beam with a 10x90mm lag screw.

To protect my pottery tiles, I glued two rubber pads on the downside of the steel plate after sanding it lightly.

Step 6: Assembling

Clean the wood with compressed air and mount the beam on the plate.

Now, bring your candles and holders, it´s time to relax ! Light your Tea Lights and enjoy !


As it seems, if you store your candles in the freezer, the wax freezes and they last a lot longer when you light them.

If you like this Instructable consider voting for it in the Homemade Gifts Contest 2015. As always, feel free to comment and/or share a picture of your own wooden sculptures.

Make It Glow! Contest

Participated in the
Make It Glow! Contest

Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2015