Make a Simple 'natural' Wooden Tea Lite Holder




I have made around 20 of these in various forms, I have used branches with smaller branch stubs on and trimmed to about 20mm and smoothed them to leave a more rustic look, or cut the top at a slight angle,  I have Also used a larger thickness branch and set 3 or 4 T-lites in.  Once, at the point where I was going to start sanding I thought No!, leave it like that! - Just a slice of Oak with a hole in one end with some twigs and leaves still attached, - now that's rustic...
So you may not want the sandpapers Oil or wax, or you could take it even further and do some carving/sculpting
There are so many variations to experiment with... I would like to see what other people come up with.

WARNING! WARNING! - For those without common sense...
Sharp tools and power tools are dangerous, you may hurt yourself if you don't take care.
Some wood finishes are flammable, so don't use them to finish a candle holder.
Never leave a burning candle unnattended.
Making things is addictive so you might be making lots of these or similar for your friends and family.
I have more effective tools but not everyone has, so I've kept it basic so that most people can try this project.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials:

Suitable branch wood.
Saw - the finer cut the better = less sanding.
Drill and bit. - Forstner better but a spade bit would do. (an auger would make a real mess).
Sharp knife.
Various sandpapers.
Oil, wax or your prefered finish.  - I go for natural wax or Danish or Tung oil.

Step 2: Find a Suitable Piece of Branch Wood

One with an interesting bark - Cherry is a nice example or Maple, as I'm using here.
Some types of green wood can be used but it will usually shrink and split as it dries, so best go for something seasoned...

Step 3: Cut It!

Cut a piece around 50 - 75mm long from a branch 70 - 90mm thick, keeping
the the base straight and level.

Step 4: Drill a Hole in the Top

Drill a 40mm hole in the top approx 15 - 20mm deep depending on the depth of your T-lite, a T-lite candle is almost 40mm in diameter, so I have used a 40mm Forstner bit as it will leave a neater hole with a tidier, flatter bottom as most other drills would leave a larger pilot hole and a rougher finish - although this can be cleaned up with a sharp chisel.

Step 5: Chamfer the Edges

Using a sharp knife, cut a chamfer around each edge to trim.

Step 6: Sanding

Sand the bottom progressively using rough, medium then fine sandpaper, although the
finish isn't too important here, then sand the top giving it a finer finish, then lightly sand the
side just to clean up the bark.

Step 7: Finish

If required give the piece a coat or two of wax or oil and allow
to dry completely.

Step 8: Done!

Insert a T-lite, ignite, stand back, and admire.

Thanks for taking the time to follow this.

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    24 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 8

    well done! i'd still rather just buy them from you :-p


    7 years ago on Introduction

    ¡Buena idea! la he descubierto algo tarde pero lo tendré en cuenta para las próximas fiestas de Navidad.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Step 8

    Excellent instructable. Nice product! Going to make these with the kids at the Wildlife Centre I work at. Thanks!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I am thinking about going into the woods and getting a few small birch logs (the grow all over the place here) and make one that holds a few t-lights along the length for my mother's fireplace so she can have a pretty "fire" in the summer and not heat up the house!!! I love your instructable!!!

    2 replies

    Nice... like this one:
    or in the round, with the bark still on
    Make sure the Birch is dry before you start work on it as like most branch wood it has a tendancy to crack at the ends whilst drying.
    Can we see the finished product? Maybe as your first instructable?
    Thanks for the pos.

    I like the round with the bark still on. My mom really likes rustic looking pieces. I will probably make it in a few months, it has been a little chilly and very wet lately, so when it dries up a little outside I will go hiking for the wood. :) I will definitely post pictures when it is done.


    great woodwork here, i like it. might i ask where you bought the danish oil, how much it cost, and would it be suitable to use as a finish for a wooden crossbow?

    2 replies

    Thanks a lot. I don't know where in the world you are but Danish oil is widely available in UK, I get it at a large national store called Wilkinsons at around £9 for 500ml.
    Although I don't think its suitable for a bow - maybe just the stock. I thought Linseed was the prefered choice, It's worth googling that one.

    continental U.S. in the state of tenessee. really good variety of hardwoods down here, as well as aromatic cedar. thanks for the linseed oil tip.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I like your project. I get why some people are "nit picking", but I don't agree with them. People need to assume responsibility for themselves and learn to perhaps develop some not so "common sense".

    I mean really? Leaving a candle to burn until the next day? What does the guy expect?

    2 replies

    If some people think my idea is dangerous then look at this video entitled
    "Watch The Video"
    "How To Make Luminaria"

    I think all this nitpicking is kinda silly. People need to exercise some common sense. If they are incapable of that, then they shouldn't use candles at all.

    You're project is fine. I prefer the look of this over any store bought holder.

    BTW, did you happen to see my candle holder? I made it before Christmas. Its a snowflake. You can see it here if you'd like. :D


    7 years ago on Introduction

    They're very pretty, good instructable and all but I can't get past the fear of the wax soaked candle eventually burning down and the consequences thereof. We live very rurally and use candles for more than decorative reasons and are as careful as can be but no one is constantly aware their candles burning down, it just isn't possible. I quit using any wooden candleholders after finding one the morning after New Yrs smoldering away.

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    as said dont leave candles unattended but also all t-light candles come in an aluminium case and I have not had any trouble with the wood getting hot.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hence the tea lights, which come in metal cups -- wouldn't that avoid the potential danger of the wood catching fire if the candle burned all the way down?

    I've never had the problem and I use t-lights all the time (well, when its dark anyway).
    As gtrachel says, the metalic cup does help and I find that the flame burns out before the wood burns. There are t-lights available which are actually manufactured in plastic cups. Anyhow, I still wouldn't leave it burning unattended.


    7 years ago on Step 8

    I think this is simple enough even I could do it! I'm going to bring back some suitable logs on my next trip through the woods.

    1 reply