DIY Candlesticks from Porch Spindles

Remember when I found that pile of old porch spindles on the side of the road?


Well, I finally got around to doing something with them! I loved the chippy paint with the old wood showing through, so I knew I would keep that (and seal it for safety — that’s almost certainly lead paint). The first thing I thought to do with them was to make tall candlesticks. Tall/large decor is something I always need more of, as the small things sometimes look unimpressive, invisible, or busy when grouped together on a mantle, shelf or side table. Less, larger things always look better to my eye, and more striking. (Young House Love backs me up on this — listen to this podcast episode to hear Sherry talk about it!)


ANYWAY, I decided to finally make these spindles into candlesticks. I have a resolution to use power tools by myself this year, so Steve gave me a little primer on the miter saw the other day. I slapped on some goggles and a mask (lead paint dust — no thanks) (I’m sure a mask doesn’t totally protect me, but at least I’m filtering most of it out?), and got to work.

I started by pulling out any nails that I could on the tops and bottoms.

Then, I shaved an inch off all of them at the bottom with the miter saw, because these had rotted pretty badly on the bottoms over the years.

After that, it was simply a matter of cutting off different chunks at the top and bottom to make three similar, but different sized candlesticks. I made a total of six sets in this way, all a little different.

After they were all cut (I cleaned up the giant mess I had created in our basement — pro tip: do this outside), I used a small putty knife to scrape them and get all the loose paint flakes off (wear a mask!). Then, I washed them all with a little soap and water and dried them.

I used Rustoleum Matte Clear Enamel — two coats — to seal the chippy paint and raw wood. Then, I hammered the skinniest nails I could find into the top, and used wire cutters to cut the tops off. The little spike sticking out will hold the candles on the top. Don’t put the nails directly in the middle of the top, as many pillar candles have a little metal disk at the bottom that holds the wick, which the spike won’t go through.

And here they are:

IMG_4375 (2)IMG_4377IMG_4374IMG_4358IMG_4373

I created a pretty maximalist (for me) mantle to style them on. I would like them all by themselves, too. I’m going to sell the other sets, but I’m really glad to have these tall guys to use around the house.



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