DIYdiy projects

DIY Project: Simple Copper Candleholder

by Kate Pruitt

I know the low temperatures in northern California hardly rival those of the East Coast, but we still get our fair share of bone-chilling, gloomy winter weather, and according to the news, there’s more cold and windy rain on its way. Like Max and Grace, I am a huge fan of candles: In my urban area, they are the closest I can get to a working fireplace. True, they don’t supply quite the same amount of warmth, but surprisingly, I can get just as much comfort and relaxation watching the delicate flicker of a single candle as I can sitting in front of roaring fire, and candles are much easier to swap out, clean up and move around the home.

I decided to make some simple candleholders for taper candles, and believe it or not, these were inspired by the colonial pewter candleholders I remember seeing growing up in New England. The old fashioned candleholders always had these wonderful big curved handles so that you carried the candle much like a cup of tea. I thought it would be fun to do a modern industrial spin on this design, turning the curved handle into a big flat disc. The warmth of the copper and wood suit the candlelight, and these also make lovely tiny sculptures to display even without candles. If you are up for a teeny bit of sawdust and elbow grease, these are a cinch to make. Happy crafting, and I hope everyone is keeping warm this holiday season. :) — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • 3/4″ copper couplings (one for each candleholder)
  • 4″ x 4″ x 2″ lumber (Unfortunately, this usually comes in 6′, 8′ or 10′ lengths, so you’ll have a lot extra if you only make a couple of these. But you can at least have them cut to size at the hardware store.)
  • mitre box and wood saw
  • 4″ round wooden craft discs (these are available at craft and art supply stores)
  • drill with 1″ boring bit attachment
  • sandpaper or power sander
  • candles
  • wood glue



1. Once you have your pieces of lumber cut down to size, sand them all over with a medium- and then a fine-grit sandpaper until they are nice and smooth.

2. Measure the center of one edge of the square piece of wood and hold up the disc to the center of the edge. Mark the width of the disc on the wood to use as a cutting guide.

3. Clamp your piece of wood to a stable surface and begin sawing at a 45-degree angle just inside the left-hand mark you made. Stop when your saw has reached 1/2″ into the top and side face of the wood. Repeat the same cut just inside the right-hand mark and stop at the same point. Then you’ll have a thin little sliver of wood in the center, which you can continue sawing into and it will chip away. Once you have the slot cut out, wedge the disc into place to check that it fits nicely, and continue sawing out bit by bit until you have a nice snug fit.

4. Now place your copper coupling onto the surface of the wood and see where you’d like it to be positioned. Use a pen or pencil to trace the circle inside the coupling to use as a drilling guide.

5. Remove the wood disc and clamp the wood piece back down onto the stable work surface. Place the center tip of the boring bit into the center of the circle you drew and drill down 1/8″ into the wood, creating a shallow circular cavity for the coupling. Use your sandpaper to clean the edges, and wipe the piece down to remove any splinters or sawdust.

6. Put a small dab of wood glue into the slot for the disc and along the sides of the shallow circular cavity. Place the disc into the slot and gently tap it down into place with a mallet or stick. Place the copper coupling down into the shallow cavity. Use a rag or a slightly damp Q-tip to remove any excess glue and set the piece aside to dry.

7. You’re done! You can now coat the whole piece with a protective sealant, or just oil the wood for a nice even sheen and enjoy the warm glow of holiday candlelight!



Suggested For You


  • underwhelming you say? i think that this is truly visionary and unique. in particular, the craftsmanship is spectacular. and that’s real copper? OMG.

    could you please show us next how you painted that wall green? did you use those special roller thingys? and how did you manage to peel that clementine just so?


    • I’m sorry this DIY is not everyone’s cup of tea. The goal of the project was to be simple to complete, and personally I’m a fan of the bare industrial look, but I understand if it’s not for everyone.

      I suspect your response is sarcastic, in which case it’s pretty harsh, but no matter. I’ll tell you my tricks anyway: the green wall is actually paper, and I’m just a natural at peeling oranges I guess. So glad I could blow your mind! :)

  • Well all I wanted to say is I am a genuine and honest fan of this candle-holder !

    I am a student and really have a tight budget for the holidays so I’m planning on tweaking this one a bit and making it a gift. I will make it longer though, like a table centerpiece, and add more copper so it holds 5 candles (number of members in the family).

    All this to say, from the first picture to the last word, I loved your article, and it really made a difference for me and pushed me to try to go all-handmade for Christmas !
    Thank you Kate, and keep up the good work (I could still use a couple more ideas ;)

  • Lovely response to “Jimmer.” What a crappy thing to say. What we find on the internet is not always our cup of tea yet wonderful that it is shared in such detail.

    My sister’s wedding is coming up and I can see these sitting on each table dressed up in some way.

    Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.