Firewood Log Tea Light With Matchbox




About: I love creating and making things. From leather wallets, wooden rings to DIY projects. I also make videos of everything I make, have a look at my YouTube channel.

In this guide, I'll show how I made my tea light candle holder with a built-in matchbox area from a firewood log. I grabbed a few logs of wood from my parent's firewood pile a few months ago and have had them sat around trying to come up with an idea of what do with them.
I'm really happy with how the final thing came out, I love the natural knots and grain in the wood and think it looks great.

For this project you will need;

Step 1: Log

I started with the log of firewood. I knew I wanted to use 2 x tealights, and integrate a matchbox. I had an approx side in mind, and marked this out onto the wood with a sharpie. I made sure I got the grain going the way I wanted before doing this.

Step 2: Cut

With this marked up on the wood, I took it over to the bandsaw and cut along the lines. It was hard to make sure that the cuts were straight as I had no flat surfaces on the wood. I did try making a jig to take advantage of the guides on my bandsaw, but couldn't get it working very well. So I just free handed it.

I was left with a block of wood that was mostly square, but I knew I would sand it all down later.

Step 3: Match Up

I took one side, and marked up where the matchbox would go. I made it so the box would sit flush inside the main wooden box. I took that over to the bandsaw and set up the fence to make a series of cuts along the length till it was as deep as the matchbox.

Step 4: Chisel

Once the block had a series of cuts the depth of the matchbox, I needed to clear out any of the remaining bits of wood. I used a sharp chisel to knock these out. I'm not very good at working with chisels, but got there in the end.

Step 5: Drill

I found the centre line along the length of the box, and marked out where the I wanted to drill the holes for the tea light tins. These are about 38mm to 40mm. I used a 40mm forstner drill bit to cut these out. I used my drill press to help make sure they went in straight, but you can use a hand drill if that's all you've good.

I kept going, then checked it was going deep enough for the tops of the tea lights to sit flush.

Step 6: Wick

I bought a pack of general wicks that already came with the bases attached. You can make your own wicks from scratch which works out slightly more cost effective, but I find this a bit easier to do. To fix the wick to the base of the tea light tins I use a hot glue gun. I added a dab of glue to the bottom of the wick and stuck it into place.

Step 7: Wood Polish

I sanded the whole piece down so that it was nice and smooth to the touch. I used my orbital sander up to 240 grit on the outside. And trimmed down a piece of wood that was the width of the matchbox to sand down inside where the matchbox goes. I left the inside of the candle holes as they were.

To finish, as always, I used my wood wax polish. It gives the wood a beautiful finish, if you want to make your own check out my video (DIY Wood Wax) or you can buy it from my Curious Creator Shop.

Step 8: Melt

For the wax, I'm using a Soy Wax. It is very clean burning and white colour. Soy wax is more eco-friendly than beeswax, and I tend to switch between the two when making candles. To work out how much wax was needed when it's in the pellet form, I poured it the tins, and then doubled it.

I added all this to the slow cooker and let it melt down for around 20mins. I like to use the slow cooker to melt down the wax, as it is slow and gentle and very easy to add it back to the slow cooker when working with it. Once melted I poured it into the plastic measure jug, to make it easier to pour into the tins.

I left this for around half an hour to solidify.

Step 9: Final Images



    • Gardening Contest

      Gardening Contest
    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest

    11 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I really like how rustic and simplistic this is. Plus, it is just a great part of a decor for a room. Nice job! The photos are beautiful and I enjoyed the video!


    Question 1 year ago on Step 1

    what size of wood did u use .. how many cm or mm width and depth as i am doing this for a school project


    1 year ago

    Simple but really nice! The built-in matchbox is a good idea.


    Question 1 year ago

    How much money did you spend on it I had all the materials so I want to know how much it would cost to do it a second time

    1 answer

    Answer 1 year ago

    Well, the wood was free. But you can go anywhere to buy firewood relative cheaply.
    The only thing that really cost was the candle making stuff. So the tins and the wax. But you can buy them already made which actually might work out cheaper than the DIY route! I've got links above to everything you need so can grab prices there! Hope that helps :)


    Question 1 year ago on Step 9

    Great 'ible. Thanks for sharing it.

    BTW, how did you prevent cracking? I've tried lots of project with fire wood and that is a big problem. Either the wood is already cracked everywhere if I let it dry before cutting it up, or it crackes after I make the project if I cut it before its dry.

    Thanks again.

    1 answer

    Answer 1 year ago

    The wood looked slightly 'diseased' (sorry - not meant to be a criticism, adds to the rustic charm) but I guess that may allow some of the stresses from the drying out to relieve themselves without cracking.
    I watched a demonstration of 'bodging' (ancient method of making objects like table and chair legs out of forest timber) and the first thing the guy did was take a large log, then split it into wedge-shaped quarters using a 'froe' (lovely old tool). Then he laboriously made those quarters into rough cylinders before turning them on the primitive lathe. One of the kids I was with asked the obvious question "Why not start with smaller branches as they are already almost the correct circular cross section and diameter?" - but the reason was that the way circular logs dry out - from the outside first - means that they end up splitting. The outer layers dry out and try to shrink, but they are prevented from shrinking by the inner parts that are still damp, so the only way for it to happen is for the wood to split in radial lines.


    1 year ago

    I was curious to see why you listed a slow cooker in the tools list, but not I see it is because you are making your own candles. I know it isn't in the DIY spirit, but I find it easier and less expensive to buy the pre-made tea lights.

    Nice use of the log.

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Aha yes it's quite a bit of extra work, and also cheaper to buy the actual candles premade! But I had most of the stuff already and thought would go the extra step for the video on this guide :)


    Reply 1 year ago

    If you bought the premade then you wouldn't get the sense of accomplishment from what I've found most people would earning and making things with there own knowledge insead of going to the store this is a lot better way to get the sense of accomplishment overall I loved the instructable better than going to the store much recommended if you haven't done it yet


    Tip 1 year ago

    Another method you could have used instead of chiseling out the end for the matchbox section would be to have used a coping saw. The grain of the wood was running parallel to your clearing cuts and chiseling out (more mortise cutting) can be difficult at times. With the rip cutting made already with the band saw, it might have been easier on a coping saw blade to go in, make the turn cut with it and in the end have a nice, clean space within with little clean up afterwards.

    Overall, great Instructable here! Loved your work with this project! :)