Crisp mornings. Falling leaves. Thanksgiving. Autumn is in the air and that means the outdoor activities will soon move indoors. Family and friends sitting around the table, sharing a meal and good conversation.
Why not make an eye-catching centerpiece that will serve as a focus point and bring it all together?
It Started With A Branch
I dug through the branches I cut a while back and found a relatively straight piece that still had some character. Be careful cutting on the miter saw. Any kind of crook in the wood will bind the blade and potentially cause damage to the saw or yourself.
Gather Your Materials
After you’ve sourced your branch wood and cut it to length (I cut mine a little under 19 inches long), its time to decide on candles. I used regular votive candles I had on hand.
Cut The Candle Holes
Figure out where you want to position the candles and make a center mark for the drill. The candles I used were roughly 1 3/4 inches at the base, so I used a 2 inch forstner bit chucked into my Craftsman drill to make my holes.
I went about 1 1/2 inches deep into the wood. Make sure you drill as straight as possible. Forstner bits are aggressive and will snag the wood if you’re not careful, resulting in a twisted wrist or a mangled work piece, especially if you’ve chosen a softer piece of wood like pine or fir (I’m using ash, which is what they make baseball bats from). Hold the piece firmly, or carefully put it in a vice.
Originally I had considered using four candles, but settled on 3. After drilling my holes, I cleaned the piece of sawdust and chips and then wiped it down with Mineral Spirits.
It’s All About Staging
Here’s where you can let your creativity run free. You can choose to simply use the branch and candles as the entire center piece, or you can elaborate. I wanted something a little more, so I pulled out an old oak table top I’ve had for years. It has a nice weathered white wash on one side that is kind of beachy, and I thought it would work well with the rest of the centerpiece. I cut it down to size with my circular saw and then trimmed the edges on the table saw.
We had some small pumpkins our neighbor gave us that worked well. You could add some greenery or a few crab apples. Christmas is around the corner. Maybe add some pine cones and white candles to give it a wintry feel. A few cornflowers and seashells, especially with the beachy table base, would take this piece into spring or summer.
However you choose to be creative, this is an easy project that can be done in just a few hours. And its something different that you can feel good about showing off to you guests. Better than anything, it cost very little by repurposing most of the materials from your own yard. Simple.