Handmade Gift: Tea Light Candle Holder

Handmade Gift: Tea Light Candle Holder

Here is a great chance to use scraps, no matter the species. It’s also a chance to get creative. Although my tea light candle holders are all tidily rectilinear, feel free to offset the parts and expand the sizes, numbers, shapes, and layouts. If you’re a turner, turn a disk and drill holes in it. If you’re a carver, shape and carve a nice slab and drill holes to suit. Most tea lights will fit into a 1-1⁄2-in.-dia. hole. If you want to get fancier (and safer, in my opinion), use glass inserts. You can turn out a bunch of these gifts in a morning.

For my holders, I milled a stick 1-7⁄8 in. square by about 12 in. to 16 in. long, and cut it into short lengths on the tablesaw. I drilled one end of each piece with a 1-1⁄2-in. Forstner bit. Then I glued three together with a hand-screw clamp, keeping them aligned during glue-up by holding them in a bench vise. When the glue was dry, I sanded the sides and planed the bottoms to get the unit perfectly flat. Then I glued the sub-assemblies together, and finally rabbeted around the bottom to create a foot.

Cut and Drill:

After milling sticks square, use the tablesaw to cut all the parts to length.


Then take the parts to the drill press. A hold-down jig keeps the block in place while you use a Forstner bit to drill the recess for the tea light candle.

Glue up in two stages:

First, glue together three rows of three.
Once those are dry and cleaned up, glue the three rows into one block.


Adding a rabbet creates a base:

Use the tablesaw to make two cuts on each side of the bottom. First, with the assembly bottom against the rip fence, make a cut on all four sides.
Then with the bottom on the tablesaw top, cut along all four sides again.

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