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How to Make Candlesticks from Stair Balusters

This elegant project only looks expensive. You can assemble a trio of candleholders for under $40 from leftover stair parts

Evocative of classic holders cast in bronze and iron, these stately candlesticks can be made for surprisingly little cash—the balusters cost us just $4 and $5 each at a salvage yard. The finished product can transform your hearth or make a dramatic tabletop display. Here's how to make them. (Note: If you're using salvaged balusters that were once painted, wipe down and seal their surfaces to encapsulate any residual lead paint before you do anything else.)

Step 1

Cut the Balusters to Size

Using a miter saw, remove the tenon of a baluster to create a flat bottom. Cut the top down to your preferred length, making certain that the diameter and depth of the top is large enough to accommodate a 1-inch-diameter candle (at least 1½ inches). If your baluster is tapered, shim up the end you're cutting so that you get a square cut.

Step 2

Drill a Hole for the Candle

Stabilize the baluster vertically by clamping it to the leg of a table. Find the center of the baluster's top, and, using a ⅞-inch Forstner bit with your drill/driver, hollow out a hole about ¾ inch deep.

Step 3

Clear-Coat the Balusters

Sand the balusters, then wipe them down with a tack cloth to remove dust. Seal the surface with a coat of polyurethane.

Step 4

Stain and Seal the Base

Sand the 4x4 and 6x6 post caps, then use a clean rag to apply a stain that matches the baluster. Wait a moment, then wipe off any excess stain that hasn't been absorbed, rubbing the rag in the direction of the wood grain. Apply more coats as needed. When the stain dries, apply a coat of polyurethane.

Step 5

Assemble the Pieces

Drill a 3/16-inch pilot hole through the center of each post cap and into the center of the bottom of the baluster. Align the three pieces, stacking the 4x4 and 6x6 post caps and placing the baluster on top. Screw the pieces together with a 3-inch wood screw. Insert a candle in the top hole.