Project: Rustic Woodland Candleholders


Moss, mushrooms, and all things woodland are very popular motifs for design and entertaining. The colors and texture of the forest are enchanting, and by bringing these elements indoors, you can create a lush, wintery mood. Branches and tree stumps are not hard to find, and with a drill and some accessories, it’s easy to make these lovely candleholders.
For a PDF of this project, visit the build page on Make: Projects.



Hole saw
Votive candleholders
Tea lights

Tip: Find pieces of logs and branches with interesting bark, moss, or lichen. Don’t worry about the ends of the wood; the log will rest on its side.


Step 1: Fit the drill with the hole-saw attachment. Brace the log with your foot and drill straight down into the side of the log. Hold the drill steady and apply firm downward pressure on the wood. When the saw has sunk all the way into the wood, you can stop.
Step 2: With the ring drilled out, you can start to chisel away at the core of wood. Hold the chisel at an angle and hit it with a hammer, directing the force away from the center and towards the edge. Chisel out all of the wood inside the drilled ring.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have created a hole in the log as deep as your candle holder. As you work down into the wood, it will get a bit harder to find the right angle on the chisel and you will likely have to pry out the last bits of wood by leveraging the chisel instead of hitting it with the hammer.
Step 4: Dust off the sawdust and drop in your glass votive candleholder and a tea light. You can use these pieces in your Thanksgiving centerpiece, but will most likely want to keep them out all season long.

5 thoughts on “Project: Rustic Woodland Candleholders

  1. Joseph Watson says:

    those are neat rustic looking candle holders. I have a suggestion. If the person making the hole had used a forstner bit or spade bit they wouldn’t have had to clean out the hole with a chisel. hole saws are meant for through holes and aren’t terribly efficient for much else. If you wish to create a flat bottom hole the bits I mentioned would be better. the cheaper of the two bits is the spade bit also called a paddle bit.

  2. Brookelynn says:

    Thanks for the info on the tools, Joseph! I saw a forstner bit at the hardware store, and it was almost $50, so I skipped it and went with the chisels. It sounds like the spade/paddle bit is a great alternative, but I’ve got a question for you about that. The largest one I saw at the hardware store was 1.5″. Do they make wider ones? The hole saw I used is 2 1/4″, and I wonder if a spade bit that wide would rip your arm off if it caught? :)

  3. Joseph Watson says:

    I use the forsnter bits on my wood lathe. I’ve seen them that expensive before but I did find one that size on woodcraft if you have one close that might be another option if you wind up needing something like that. they sell a 2-1/4 for $18. my local hardware store doesn’t carry one that large. At first I didn’t notice the hole was that large a spade bit would tear your arm off if it got caught at that size. I have wrenched my arm on a 3/4 in bit before. well anyway liked the idea hope to see more.

  4. KSRifleman says:

    The use of a forstner bit will keep you from having to use the chisel, and make a much cleaner cut without a ragged bottom.

    1. Quinn Tattersfield says:

      Or you could just use a router

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