Made from two boards using a simple drill-and-cut technique, this candle display can be set up as an ornamental piece. With just a simple change of cuts, it becomes a menorah.

These candleholders are a set of simply cut blocks of wood that are drilled and then cut to final angled height.

Good to Know: Customize your holders. These holders are designed to hold LED rechargeable votives available from a variety of craft stores. These votives may vary in height and diametre. When drilling a hole for a candle, select a bit as close as possible to the actual candle diametre. Bits typically come in 1/8-inch [.318 cm] increments. This project is not intended for use with standing-flame candles.

Prepare the Holders

Step 1: Cut a 2-1/2-in [6.35 cm] square x 36-in [91.44 cm] long oak board into the lengths of the individual holders (Project Diagram). For a traditional candle display, cut the centre holder to 6-1/2 inches [16.51 cm] tall (E). For the menorah the taller centre holder (F) is 8 inches [20.32 cm] tall (Photo 1).

Alternate centre holder

Step 2: On the top of each candleholder, mark an X by drawing a line from corner to corner — this will mark the centre of the block, where the holes are to be drilled.

Step 3: On the side of the holders, draw a line to indicate the bottom of the holes to be drilled, then with the aid of a carpenter’s square, draw the cut angle at the top of each holder (Photo 2).

Draw the candleholder top angle.

Step 4: Clamp the holders to a work surface. For a hand-held drill, clamp the blocks horizontally and drill into the end, holding the bit parallel to the workbench. Adjust the hole depth for each pair of holders to keep the bottom of the holes consistent across the display.

Good to Know: The fibres are tough to cut and drill in the end of a block of wood. Apply steady pressure, but back the pressure off the bit every 1/8 inch [.318 cm] of depth to reduce the heat buildup and keep your bits sharp. Mark your bit with a piece of masking tape to ensure the holes are drilled to a consistent depth.

Step 5:: After drilling the holes, cut the angled tops on the holders; set a mitre saw to the angles for each holder (Photo 3).

Cut the candleholder top angle.

Good to Know: Always drill holes into a square surface and then cut the angle, if your project allows. This prevents the drill from skidding across the work and makes it easier to drill holes straight and to the proper depth.

Finish It, Light It

Step 1: Sand the wood with a 150-grit sanding sponge, and then apply a stain or paint of your choosing. For a stained finish, apply the stain and allow it to dry following the manufacturer’s instructions, then apply two coats of satin polyurethane following the manufacturer’s instructions. For a painted finish, apply primer and allow to dry, then sand smooth, and apply two coats of paint for a durable finish. After allowing the paint to dry for 72 hours, we applied an accent colour to the lower 2 inches [5.08 cm] of each holder. Use newspaper and painter’s tape to mask off the top portion of the holders. For our painted finish, we used spray paint for ease of application.

Step-It-Up Skills: Using a Drill Press
Want to make the project easier? Take advantage of a handy tool every project builder should have – a drill press. We chose an affordable bench-top model that can handle almost all drilling needs. A drill press takes the guessing out of the drilling depth and the angle of the hole. When set up according to the manufacturer’s instructions, the tool drills straight holes to a precise depth every time.


Skill Level: Beginner

Estimated Cost: $50.00 [$49]

Time Estimate: A few hours


  • Cordless drill or drill press
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Drill bit 1/16-in [.159 cm] larger in diametre than candle
  • Mitre saw
  • 150-grit sanding sponge


  • 2 – 2-1/2-in x 2-1/2-in x 36-in [6.35 cm x 6.35 cm x 91.44 cm] oak boards
  • LED rechargable votives

* Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colours may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Products and prices may change; check your local Lowe’s store for details

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