Most people use tea lights in various ways, mainly they are placed inside glass cups or another small decorative vase. This project was designed to use tea lights in a way similar to larger candle holders.
The main idea was to create a candle holder that was simple to shape and could be made out of one piece of material with no welding, soldering or gluing required. While at the same time being highly functional and looking athletically pleasing and artistic.
So I've set about designing a Jig that will once its made, will enable anyone to create all manner of tealight candle holders by simply using lengths of quarter inch aluminum rod.
These tea light candle holders are simple to make once you have made the bending Jig. The design can be any combination or pattern you choose as the bending tool allows any type of bend to be made, just let your creative juices run riot.
Step 1: Materials and Supplies
Materials for the Candleholders
- 1/4 inch Aluminum rod - For the above project we used about 10 feet
- Piece of timber for the base, 2 x 4, 6 to 8 inches long
- Tealights, 6 long burning.
Materials for the Candlemaker Bending Jig
- Piece of 2 x 4 lumber about 12 inches long
- Piece of lumber 3 inches wide x 3/4 or 1inch thick, about 8 inches long for the discs.
- Four 3/8 inch bolts 3 inches long
- One 1/4 inch bolt 3 inches long
Tools Required For Making the Jig
- Hand saw or miter saw
- 3-inch hole saw
- 1-inch hole saw
- 3/8" drill bit
- 1/4” drill
- 1-inch spade bit
- Multi grips or pliers
Step 2: Making the Candle Holder Bending Jig.
For this candle holder, we are going to be using 1/4 inch round aluminum rod. This material is readily available from the major hardware stores, or from a metal supply store, it will be much cheaper. Aluminum rod is easily bent as opposed to steel rod of the same thickness.
This candle holder has six arms so the amount of rod needed will be about ten feet at the most. It is, however, a good idea to purchase a little more material just to experiment with. Of course, you aren’t restricted to the design here and can create anything you choose. The main component is the making of the bending jig.
The bending jig comprises of three bending tools,
- The candle holder ring maker - is the 1 inch round block
- The candle holder support bender - two bending pins
- The upright bender slot -
- Stem bending tool - 3 inch round block
Step 3: Marking Out
Begin by cutting a block of 2x4 to about 12 inches. Mark out the holes on one side for the bolts and bending pins.
Nest we need to pre-drill all the holes using a 1/16 inch drill bit, this is really just a guide for drilling the main holes. If you have access to a drill press this will make things easier, if not a cordless or power drill is fine, just try to drill straight.
Before we drill the main holes we will recess the holes on the bottom to accommodate the bolt heads.
Using the 1-inch spade bit recess all the holes to about 1/2 an inch. Also, do the same on the top side for the two bending pins only. Next, drill all holes out to accommodate the 3/8 bolts.
Cutting the bending slot.
Mark the position of the slot in the center of your jig. Make the slot about 2 inches deep. At the inside end of the slot drill a 1/2 inch hole, this makes removal of the cutout easy. Now cut the slot using a hand saw or if you have one a miter saw. We need the slot to be wide enough to accommodate two widths of 1/4 inch aluminum, or a shade more than 1/2 inch.
Step 4: Cutting the Round Discs
Cut the discs using a drill press if you have access to one, but if not a power drill is fine. Make sure the work is well held either in a vice or clamped to your workbench, to prevent the work from spinning. Cit the 3-inch and one-inch discs from the 3/4 inch timber.
You can if you don't have a 3-inch hole saw, use a jigsaw or scroll saw to cut the bigger disc.
Drill out the center of the discs to 3/8-inch. Hold the disc by clamping or using a pair of multi-grip pliers if you are using a drill press, otherwise, you can hold the work in a vice while drilling. Safety first!.
Step 5: Assemble the Bending Tool
Assemble the bender as shown. Bolt the two discs one on top of each other. Bolt the two bending pins using the four nuts and washers. Here you will need a socket wrench to tighten these as they need to be nice and tight to prevent movement. Using a hacksaw, mark, and cut the heads off the bolts at about 3/4 of an inch above the jig base. Round of any sharp edges using a file.
Step 6: Mark Bending Pin Holes and Drill
Mark out the holes for the other two pins. The one through the round disc can be up to 3/8-inch. The other is 1/4-inch and is a removable pin. For the pin on the round disc, an easy way is to simply hold a piece of your 1/4-inch round against the small block and run the drill down beside it.
Cut the thread of the 1/4- inch bolt so you end up with a pin about 2 inches long. This will be the removable pin used in two locations.
Step 7: Bend the Candle Holder Ring
Cut a length of 1/4 inch aluminum rod to 20 inches long, round of the ends using a file. Hold the rod against the pin and bend around the top former to the finished shape as shown. In total it is about one and a half turns.
At this point, it's a good idea to check to see that a tea light candle fits snugly into the ring. You don't want it to lose but just snug enough so that you can easily push the tea light into the ring. If the ring needs small adjustments we can use the two bending pins on the jig to make the ring slightly bigger or smaller.
Step 8: Bend the Base and Stem
With the top made we can proceed to the final two bends required to make the head stand up. The first bend uses the two bending pins and is required to hold the bottom of the candle. Use pliers or multi grips to hold the ring from slipping and bend the stem inwards to about center.
Lastly, we utilize the slot bender, this is to straighten the candle holder top with the stem. Place the ring into the center of the slot with the double part of the ring down into the slot. Insert the removable 1/4-inch pin into the hole and simply bend around so its 90 degrees to the top.
You now have the basic building block to whatever style candle holder you would like to make. The bending tool can shape and bend any angle, using the two discs, the end pins, and the slot bender.
Step 9: Making the Base & Finishing
You can either paint the candle holder stems or leave them natural. Painting them black gives the wrought iron look. Aluminum requires an etch primer before putting on top coats. Etch primers and black spray paint finishes are readily available at hardware stores.
For this project, we used a piece of hardwood lumber 7 inches long with the ends cut half way at a 45-degree angle. Drill the 1/4-inch holes to suit the number of stems you are using, in this case, it's six. Give the timber base a coat of varnish, insert the stems to your liking, hold in place using a hot glue gun or similar glue and you are good to go.