Sunday, February 15, 2009

We've Got Salvage Chic...

... Or how to make a shabby fab candlestick out of a salvaged baluster (spindle). It doesn't have to be a salvaged one, but honestly? It makes the project about 7,000 times better. Just saying.

So, what matrials need we gather for this exceptionally simple project that turns out impossibly adorable results? Here's the list:

1 (or more) salvaged baluster(s)/spindle(s)
bonus points issued for chippy paint and crazing.

1 saw or wood cutting tool

(optional, I like to keep my candlesticks tall and use them beside the fire place...)

*Insert Saw Of Choice Photo Here... C'mon, You Know What a Saw Looks Like...*

1 Tin/Metal/Glass 'cup'

For lack of a better word to use as the holder on the top. You can just drill a hole right into the top and plop a candle in, but if you plan to use it I discourage this. Using 90 year old dried out tinder as a candle holder isn't always the best idea...
1 Tool to pierce tin/metal (optional)

You'll need it to pierce the edges of the tin/metal cup if you choose to attach one to the top as a holder. Usually a nail and a hammer works just fab. Something like these from old chandeliers works wonders (especially if you're using the old crystals, those pieces usually also have the crystal cup!)

A few small crystal prisms/etc
for that added shabby chic look. (also, optional)

Now given the photos of the required material it's fairly easy to 'put it all together' as to what steps will take place. But, just for the sake of typing, we can go throught it step by step.

Step 1:

If you scored those extra points with the chippy paint, it's probably best to take some fine grain sand paper, steel wool, or a well worn wire brush and flake off those loose chips of paint. As much as I love me some chippy paint, in the eye of safety, if that balluster/spindle is old than say 1970, you're likely dealing with lead paint, which is fine until it's disturbed (or eaten, which I also don't advise) so just brush off those little extras so that the spindle has a fairly smooth feel while still looking chippy/crackly. Also if you're going to brush on a coat of paint (allow me to suggest a pale pink/green or cream) just to give it a little colour but still allowing for that aged look, do so now as well.

Moving on...

Step 2:

If you desire a shorter candlestick now is the time to break out your saw and lop of the desired amount off either end (only one end though) and smooth that cut with some fine grain sand paper, try to smooth down the edges too or it'll constast fairly sharply compared to the rest of the piece (you know, 90 years of weathering storms comes at a price and all...)

Step 3:

Take your tin/glass/metal cup (either from your used chandelier parts or picked up from the good old dime store) and fix it to the top, be it by glue or by nailing a nail down the center of the cup into the wood. You can always just drill a hole in the top for tapers, but I prefer not to, I'm a fire-phobe in that way.

Remember: Never leave a burning candle unattended, particularly when your hold is 90 year old dry wood... so if you're going to use it in the light of, say, romantical event, blow it out first, Mmmkay? Thanks.

Step 4:

If you're going to attach prisms/crystals to the top edge of your holder, do so by drilling diagonal holes about 1.5" along the top edge. The prisms should come with little metal rings already attached so just break them open and feed them through the newly drilled holes, forcing the back together and feeding the 'broken' space back into the hole, feel free to fix it there with a dab of hot glue or the like.

What you should end up with is something similar to this:

The above photos are courtesy of, and linked to:
left(or top):
right(or bottom):
Both are fab sites and even sell great wares like this!
I also believe in a few weeks or so Green Spot Antiques in Cambridge, Ontario will be offering kits of this nature containing both instructions and materials so that you don't have to go around hauling your used chandelier pieces, chipping paint spindles, and prisms while dragging out your power tools to achieve this adorable look. Let's call it 'Fab In A Bag' for now...


  1. Very nice. I don't believe I have any old spindles lying about, I think I used my last set as legs for a table that needs a sanding and some paint before it graces my craft room.

  2. Hi

    Thanks for the comment on thevintagejournal. Lovely blog you have. Denise Elizabeth

  3. OMG!! Thank you for invite...I am having a hot flash!!


Thanks for commenting! This way I know someone is reading this craziness!


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