It never ceases to amaze me how much money people are willing to pay for the simplest decor items.
Provided, of course, that the item in question is sold by a company that is widely regarded as hip or cool.
Note: hipsters are notorious for spending outlandish sums on otherwise ordinary items, provided there is some sort of “hook” to the product – something that makes it different that the hipster can crow about to his or her insufferable hipster friends.
I’ve told you about the local company who makes outlandishly priced blue jeans sewn on antique sewing machines.
Don’t ask why. The mind of a hipster is as empty as his bank account.
Urban Outfitters was once a destination for the hipster set. Maybe it still is. I wouldn’t know. But recently Handan came across the following pin:
I thought it must have been a typo. Who on God’s Green Earth would fork out one hundred nine dollars and ninety nine cents for a few craft store beads strung together?
And…and who? Who else buys this stuff? Somebody must – they’re out of stock!
Do you, madam? If so, please let me know in the comments, so I can sell you some beads for $100.
But I think you are much smarter than that.
I think you look at something like that and say, “Nuts to those jerks! I’m gonna do it myself!”
And I applaud you, madam!
So let us, in fact, do this ourselves, shall we?
I’ll bet we can do it better.
And I know we can do it cheaper.
Here’s what you’ll need for this project:
DIY Bead Garland Candle Holder Supplies List
- 4-6 (or however many you want) 50mm beads
- Assorted smaller beads
- Tassels or other decorations for the garland (optional)
- Hemp cord
- A small piece of craft wire
- Pencil (or a dowel)
- 7/8 inch Forstner drill bit
- Torpedo level
- Table saw or a miter box kit
- A square block – I used these metal square blocks, but any block that’s perfectly square will do.
DIY Bead Garland Candle Holder Tutorial
Let’s start with the big beads.
First I needed to drill the candle hole, and that hole needed to be as close to perpendicular to the string holes as possible. My solution was to run a spare piece of dowel through the bead holes and then sit it on two equally sized scrap wood pieces.
I used the torpedo level to make sure that the dowel sat level on the scrap wood.
I then took the bead, the dowel and the two scrap pieces to my drill press to make the candle hole. I will also show how to make the hole with a handheld drill.
I was careful not to drill past halfway.
I also drilled a couple of candle holes using a handheld drill.
I first inserted a pencil through the bead hole.
And then I laid the pencil across two scrap wood blocks of the same size.
I taped the pencil to the blocks with duct tape to make sure it wouldn’t move during drilling.
Drilling by hand is a little trickier. It helps to have someone else nearby to check that your drill is as upright as possible.
I drilled slowly and carefully, always keeping one hand on the bead.
Even if the hole isn’t mathematically perfect, there are ways to get the candle upright in the end. I’ll talk more about that in a bit.
The next step was to flatten the base directly underneath the hole, so that the candle would stand upright and not at an angle. This is the trickiest part of this otherwise easy project. I used a table saw with a crosscut sled, but I realize that most of you don’t have that tool. I’ll first explain what I did, and then we’ll talk about some easier workarounds.
I pressed the drilled face against the block.
I then adjusted the block so that a small section of the base would be cut off.
Slowly and carefully, I ran the sled past the blade.
This gave me a perfectly flat bottom that was parallel to the opening of the candle hole.
But, since most don’t have a table saw handy, you can try the same thing with a miter box kit. And if you want an even easier solution, then you can use some wall tack or poster putty. Duck Brand makes a good poster putty that is white, so it won’t stand out as much as the blue brand that most people buy. Just stick a bit underneath the big bead, and you’ll be able to position it perfectly upright.
Once the big beads were finished, it was time to string together my DIY bead garland candle holder.
This is the part of the project where I got to sit down. That’s a real benefit of these small crafts – I don’t have to stand all the time!
Handan and I started laying out bead designs until we hit upon one we both liked.
Handan then fashioned me a sewing needle of sorts made from a twisted piece of craft wire. Forgive the blurry pic – my phone was on portrait mode.
I used this makeshift needle to create my garland. For an in-depth tutorial on this process, please see Handan’s DIY Wood Bead Garland (and DIY Tassels) post.
When I reached the end, I looped on a tassel and then ran the cord back through all of the beads.
When I reached the other side, I tightened the garland and then tied off the cord with a square knot.
I trimmed the excess cord, leaving a bit on the ends.
And then I stuffed those ends back into the last bead.
The next step was to place the candles into the holes. I had originally chosen the diameter based on some old candles we had on hand. When I recently bought new candles at Michaels, they were slightly thinner, so to make them fit snugly, I first dripped some melted wax in the hole and then inserted the candle. This is the same method you can use if your hole was drilled at a slight angle.
With candles secured, my DIY bead garland candle holder was finished and ready for use.
Though it is meant for all seasons, since Christmas is coming, I used a mix of red and white candles…
…and wound the garland through some greenery.
It’s a versatile garland that even works in a circle!
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