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Make It: Pine and Balsa Wood Tealight Holders

by on Oct 28, 2020

I don’t know about you, but the change in seasons always inspires me to pull out my candles for a little outdoor entertaining. In Australia it’s now spring, but I’m just the same come autumn – I love being outside in the evenings during the milder months when the weather isn’t too hot or cold; the night air is fresh and the sun goes down at just the right time for us to enjoy a candlelit dinner (ha, I’m such a romantic). If you love candles as much as I do, click through to make some tealight holders of your own!

DIY wood tealight holders


  • Wood plank (mine measured 3.3ft/1m long by 2.8 inches/7cm wide) 
  • Dowel (I used balsa wood but you can also use pine)
  • 1.6 inch (4cm) spade drill bit
  • Power drill
  • Hand saw
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Wood glue
  • White paint
  • Varnish
Wood tealight holders - materials

Step 1

With a pencil and ruler, mark out square sections on your wood plank. My plank was 2.8 inches (7cm) wide, so I measured two 2.8 inch sections down the length of the plank to create two squares.

Once you’re happy with your measurements, cut off the sections of wood with a hand saw.

Wood tealight holders - measuring
Wood tealight holders - cutting wood

Step 2

Turn your wood plank on its side. Line up your spade drill bit with the side of the wood and use a piece of tape to mark how deep you’d like to make your holes. Adding the tape helped ensure I didn’t go too far when drilling.

Wood tealight holders - marking drill with tape

Step 3

Drill a hole for your tealight candles in each wood square.  

Wood tealight holders - drilling

Step 4

Sand off any rough edges on your wood squares.

Wood tealight holders - sanding

Step 5

Give the squares a good clean to remove any dust, then apply a couple of coats of primer followed by white paint.

Wood tealight holders - painting

Step 6

Measure and mark out sections of your dowel so that they’re the same length as the wood squares. Then cut the dowel into pieces using a fine-toothed hand saw.

Wood tealight holders - measuring dowel
Wood tealight holders - cutting dowel

Step 7

Stick the dowel pieces together with wood glue. The resulting dowel square should be roughly the same width as your white wood square (i.e. only glue as many dowel bits together as needed to achieve that width).

Wood tealight holders - gluing
Wood tealight holders - gluing

Step 8

Once everything has dried, glue the painted white square to the dowel squares you created.

Wood tealight holders - gluing

Step 9

Apply a couple of coats of varnish to protect the finished candle holder.

DIY wood tealight holders
DIY wood tealight holders
DIY wood tealight holders

I painted my tealight holders white for a classic, minimal look but you could colour block them, add patterns, or simply varnish them and let the wood grain show through.

You could also get a bit experimental with the dowel – try adding a stain or using different thicknesses of dowel for a completely different look. This project has a lot of room for you to be creative so go nuts and have fun!

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  1. You could make these in all sorts of colors for every holiday. I’m having so many ideas just looking at this! You could paint the wood square dark green and make the dowels red and white for Christmas… they would look so neat!

  2. Hi Sarah, I’m so glad you like the project! I hope you get a chance to make them for Christmas – your idea to paint th dowels red and white with a green square top sounds amazing!