DIY Birch Log Candleholders

Posted by Dani on December 4, 2012

Love the raw, natural look of birch candleholders? Have you seen these in upscale gift stores? Now you can make your own!

I have a basket of these great candleholders that I wrote about last year here and here. They look amazing clustered on my mantle or living room sideboard. And the best thing about making your own is that you don’t have to restrict yourself to 2 or 3 – you can fill up an entire sideboard in no time.

Now I had one secret ingredient – Livio. He is my dad’s best friend and he can do just about anything. Want to know how to trap a squirrel? Call Livio. Is your plaster falling down from your bathroom ceiling? Call Livio. Need trendy raw wood birch candleholders? Call Livio. Within about 15 minutes, your sideboard is full. He’s old school and he can really put a Pinteresting, blogging, DIYer to shame.

Don’t despair if you don’t have a Livio. These instructions are pretty easy with a few key things – a saw, a drill with a boring bit, and slim birch logs. If you can get your hands on one, a drill press makes this job a snap. I happen to have access to a large wooded lot up north with a huge selection of fallen trees, so this project was made with found birch logs and branches. I just love that these candleholders are green and earth-friendly.

My design involves cutting the logs into random lengths, from about 3 to 9 inches. I like my candleholders to look natural and unstructured, but if you prefer a cleaner look you could cut them all to equal lengths. I also used logs of varying diameters, from about 2 to 4 inches, but I think thicker logs look great, too. Livio drilled the holes to fit standard votive candles, although tapers would also look great.

I arrange mine randomly and tuck some pine branches around them that I get from trimming our Christmas tree. I usually add a few silver ornaments or some extra-large pinecones to jazz things up. Voilà– easy, gorgeous, and green!

Tip: if you’re going to put fresh pine branches on your furniture, put something underneath to protect against pine resin – I learned this the hard way. I usually use clear cellophane for this because it doesn’t show.



DIY Birch Log Candleholders

Birch logs, 2” to 4” in diameter
Drill with hole borer bit, 1½” in diameter


1. Cut logs in sections of varying lengths, from about 3” to 9” long.

2. Bore a hole in the center of each log section, 1½” wide by ¾” deep to fit a votive candle.

3. Place a votive in each. Light and enjoy!



33 Responses to “DIY Birch Log Candleholders”

  1. Missy G says:

    Beautiful! Wish I had access to some fallen birch! Just in case your readers need to find one, that bit is also called a forstner bit.

    • Dani says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and for the name of the bit. I looked for the name online but no luck! As for fallen branches, maybe a friend with a cottage? They don’t have to be birch, and when branches come down in a windstorm homeowners usually appreciate some help getting rid of them! Thanks again.

  2. lisa says:

    I have these beautiful candle holders around the house. I love them, I put them down on a coaster because I didn’t want to put them directly on my wooden table, and they molded the plastic coaster – is there a stain I can apply to prevent this from happening?

    • Dani says:

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa. Did you mean that the wood left a mold stain on your coaster? I have seen this happen before because the wood has not dried out properly first. One thing that might help is raising the bottom of the candleholders with a few little stick-on plastic bumpers so that you get some air circulation. Or you can try painting the bottom with a clear acrylic sealer – some even are designed to help prevent mold. I think Zinsser makes one like this. I hope these ideas help – good luck!

  3. I love these simple and stunning Birch Candles… So perfect!! Thank you for the inspiration… off to find some birch trees!!

  4. I LOVE these! We have a ton of little tea lights sitting around that we never use, and I think that THESE would be perfect for us to make to fill up our mantle for the holiday season in our new house! 🙂 Now I just need to find some birch logs!

  5. Oh wow – your birch tree candleholders look SO pretty!

  6. Holy crap these are gorgeous!! I need to get my butt to the country & stock up on some wood. I’m pinning these 🙂

  7. Kathryn says:

    I love all the holders. My sister in law is hoping to do something like this. I’ll have to pass it on! Gorgeous!

  8. These are awesome and I really like the impact of the grouping – beautiful! Now, where do I find Livio? 😉

  9. perfect! I love this winter look.

  10. I made these for a wedding tablescape… but never thought to use them for Christmas!! your display looks beautiful, must go dig them out!!

  11. jeff says:

    Tried with Oak. Not a chance with the Forstner bit. I guess the wood has to be 100% dry.

  12. Rhonda says:

    I love these too, I ordered some on line and have two problems, the wood around the bored hole is splitting on one and catches on fire when I light and they are growing mold on the ends. I want to keep them so opting to go to battery votive candles but what can I do about the mold
    Thanks for anyone’s help

    • Dani says:

      Is the mold growing on the bottom? In this case, it might be because the wood has not dried out yet. If you raise the bottom slightly on something so that it gets some air, this should help. Also you could spray the wood with a solution of bleach and water. I hope that helps! Thanks for visiting, and Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  13. Pam says:


    I have a friend trying to make these for me for my daughter’s wedding. We have the logs/branches, a drill press and a 2″ Foresner bit but each one is taking him hours to do. Any tips???

    thanks in advance,


    • Dani says:

      Is this because the drilling itself is taking a long time? I’ve made this project more than once. I found the time depends on the hardness of the logs. Usually the drilling has been pretty quick, but once I used very old logs and the drilling took forever because they were so hard. Birch and pine logs have drilled really easily. Hope that helps – good luck!

  14. Susan says:

    I just love the look of these. I have a birch tree that I had to cut down a couple of months ago. My question is how long should the birch dry before drilling into it? How can I tell if it is dry enough to use? Thanks, Susan

    • Dani says:

      I’ve done this project a few times, each time with wood that was already dry. I don’t think it’s a problem to use fresh wood, except you have to remember that it will shrink so be sure to drill the holes a little bigger than you need to. And protect the surface of your table when you use them, in case the fresh wood causes damage. Exciting that you have an entire tree to work with! I’ve used branches as thick as 6 inches across, and they look great. Good luck and thanks for visiting!

  15. Gorgeous collection and display! And I love that you’re showing the “marbled” pieces of birch. I get tempted to only use the “clear” branches but these with the black lines through them have their own beauty don’t they? Thank you for sharing. Pinning for sure!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks for your comment! This is one of my favourite projects, and it’s amazing that they look great almost anywhere I put them. And you’re so right – the natural look seems to work well. Thanks for dropping by!

  16. Hannah says:

    I have foursome Burch logs at the side of the road my daughter want the candles for centrepiece at her wedding these prices are wet do they need to be dry before cutting

    • Dani says:

      Do you mean that the wood is wet from rain? I have never done it, but I believe you can drill wet wood. There are some safety considerations as always when you are using electrical equipment, and I think the sawdust might gum up your equipment. You might want to research a little further. Good luck!

  17. Margaret says:

    Hi there – love this project and my neighbour is as we speak taking down some dead birch trees so I have a full inventory. Question about fire retardant? Any issues with the candles? I was thinking to try and find a clear spray to protect from fire. Thoughts? I see you posted this several years ago, are you still making them?

    • Dani says:

      Thanks for your comments. I haven’t had a big concern with fire. If you burn a votive in these, you’ll see the wooden edge doesn’t get very hot. Maybe you can make a few and try it out. I think you should be careful with clear sprays, as some of these finishes are highly flammable. Maybe you could find a fire retardant spray that would be appropriate. I still use these same candles after several years. Thanks for dropping by!

  18. Kim says:

    Can I use old birch branches?. Middle are like saw dust or do you have to use fresh cut branches. I’m looking to put air plants in them

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