Saturday Morning Workshop: Wooden Tea Light Holder

Build this small candle holder in a couple hours, and add some ambience to any room.


A few hours






Candles impart a warm, inviting glow to any room. This candle holder accepts three standard tea lights, and it is a perfect project for someone interested in honing their notch cutting skills.

Tools Required

  • 1-1/2” Forstner bit
  • dado stack
  • Drill
  • Miter saw
  • Table saw

Materials Required

  • 1-1/2” dia. tea light candles
  • 1/2x3x12” bocote
  • 1/2x3x24” maple
  • Wood glue

Cutting List

Small Candle Holder

Project Plans

Small Candle Holder

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

Mill your stock

small candle holder

It’s important to match the notch width and lumber thickness so that the parts will fit perfectly. Start by cutting a 1/2 in. dado in a scrap board, and then plane your parts to fit the dado. This is much easier than trying to match the dado size to your stock thickness.

Step 2

Mark the notches

Small Candle Holder

Mark the notches on the faces of the stretcher (A) and cross member (B) stock. Lay out the cross members on a single, long board, leaving at least 1/4 in. between each part. You’ll cut them to length after cutting the notches.

Step 3

Cut the notches

Small Candle Holder

Attach a fence to the miter gauge. Set the 1/2-in. dado stack to 1-in. and cut the deep notches. Set the dado blade height to the thickness of your material and cut the shallow notches.

Step 4

Mark and drill the candle blocks

Small Candle Holder

Mark a line down the center of the candle block (C) stock. Then lay out the individual blocks, including their center points, leaving 1/4 in. between each block. Clamp the marked stock with a sacrificial board underneath and drill the candle holes using a 1-1/2 in. Forstner bit.

Step 5

Cut the parts

Small Candle Holder

Cut the cross members (B) and candle blocks (C) to their final size. Sand the parts up to 220-grit before assembly.

Step 6

Assemble the parts

Small Candle Holder

Spread wood glue into the notches and slide the cross members into the stretcher. Glue the candle blocks into their recesses. Wipe up any excess glue with a damp rag. Apply a finish of your choice. Check out more awesome woodworking projects you can build in a weekend.

Small Candle Holder