You know what everybody loves at Christmastime?  Candles.  Hoo boy do they love candles.  Like to the point that both FEMA and the NFPA say that December is the peak time for fires caused by candles (it is not, in fact, your mix tape.)

mixtape-fire

But this is AMERICA, ladies and gentlemen, and we don’t let facts get in the way of enjoying Christmastime.

christmas-candles

That’s right, EVERYONE GETS A CANDLE!  And today I’m going to make a tea light set out of some hackberry tree branches that I just had to cut down in the back yard, because recycling!

Stuff You’ll Need

Materials

Tree branches – thick enough to hold tea lights, which are 1.5″ in diameter, so generally thicker than that.  At least 2″ thick really.
Shellac or other sealer
Sandpaper
Tea Lights

That’s really it for materials.  You could also do a glossy clearcoat if you wish after sealing.

Tools

Chainsaw or bow saw to cut big branches
Miter Saw
Sander
1.5″ Paddle Bit and drill (or a plunge router and round hole bit)

Make It!

Here’s my starting point:

Hackberry Candle Holders by Sprinkles and Sawdust - 31 Days of Handmade Christmas

Some of that’s good, some of it’s the reason I had to cut the tree down in the first place.  Choose your wood wisely.  Don’t get the dead stuff.

Hackberry Candle Holders by Sprinkles and Sawdust - 31 Days of Handmade Christmas

Those are the pieces I picked out and cut into manageable sizes with a small chainsaw.  You could do this with a bow saw manually if you’re a glutton for punishment or just really want to wear yourself out.

Pick you a good piece and take it to the miter saw.

Hackberry Candle Holders by Sprinkles and Sawdust - 31 Days of Handmade Christmas

Since these are irregularly shaped, getting some clamps to hold it in place is wise.  The brace that comes with the miter saw wasn’t cutting it at all.  Find some interesting pieces and cut them at varying heights.

Hackberry Candle Holders by Sprinkles and Sawdust - 31 Days of Handmade Christmas

I like the looks of those, so it’s time to drill.  Its a lot easier to do this with a 1/5″ paddle bit on a drill, but mine was pretty dulled out and wasn’t working well, so I busted out the plunge router.

Hackberry Candle Holders by Sprinkles and Sawdust - 31 Days of Handmade Christmas

They’re not perfect, but they’ll do.  Once it looks good and is deep enough, it’s time to sand and seal.

Sand the tops and bottoms until they’re smooth, and sand any wierd spots around the outside too.  Once it’s well sanded and wiped clean, it’s time to seal.  I like using shellac as a sealer because it works great and dries fast.  Did you also know it’s made out of bugs?  No really, it is!  How cool is that?  Anyway, you can also use any water seal to seal this as well.  Spray a good few coats all over it.  You can follow that with a glossy clearcoat if you like, but I feel like it takes away from the natural look.

Hackberry Candle Holders by Sprinkles and Sawdust - 31 Days of Handmade Christmas

And with that you’re done!  Pretty simple to make and it uses the beauty of nature to make it unique and interesting.  Remember to be safe with candles though!  Don’t leave them unattended and certainly don’t leave the house with them burning.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!

Everybody loves candles at Christmastime, and today we're making candle holders from hackberry branches!  31 Days of Handmade Christmas | Sprinkles and Sawdust

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