This colorful DIY wood candle holder doubles as an air plant holder! Learn how to use recycled skateboards to create this layered look!
I've been fascinated by this new trend of using recycled skateboards to create colorful projects for the home. I'm starting small with this easy DIY wood candle holder that shows off all the bright layers! The shallow hole in the top makes this a fun way to display your favorite air plant too!
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What is Skateboard Veneer?
Most people don't realize that skateboards are made up of layers of thin maple veneer that are glued together like plywood then pressed and cut to shape. Some of those layers are dyed bright colors to show off along the exposed edges.
Since the veneer is so thin, the dye penetrates all the way through the wood so the color shows through no matter where you cut. Stacking and gluing multiple sections of skateboard together creates thicker pieces with lots of colors!
I purchased a box of scraps from a skateboard manufacturer, which didn't give me much to work with. But the larger pieces were just enough for this DIY tea light candle holder!
Materials Needed for DIY Candle Holder
- Skateboard veneer
- Wood glue
- I recommend Titebond III because it has the longest working time.
- Glue brush
- You can use a finger to spread the glue around, but then you'll have a sticky finger!
- Miter saw
- Here are my tips for how to use a miter saw!
- 1 ½" Forstner bit
- Tea light candle
- Sandpaper and sanding block
- Wood finish
- I used General Finishes High Performance Top Coat, which doesn't change the color of the natural wood but makes the dyed layers really pop!
How to Make a Candle Holder from Skateboard Veneer
Cut the Pieces to Roughly the same Size
I had four scraps that were all about the same shape and size. The edges are uneven, so I marked the cut line where the four layers join together.
Then I cut each piece into roughly a four inch square. This doesn't have to be exact, since you'll be trimming it into a hexagon later on.
To add a little more height to the candle holder, I cut a scrap of curly maple (left over from my DIY nightstand drawer front) into two more squares for the top and bottom.
Sand Both Sides of the Squares
Give both sides of all the pieces a quick sanding, but be careful not to remove too much of the color! This will ensure a good bond between the layers in the next step.
Glue Up the Layers
Wood glue is strong stuff, and it will hold together all the layers without any screws or nails! I suggest using Titebond III, because it gives you the longest time to assemble the pieces. I ran into problems using the Titebond II shown here.
Use a glue brush to evenly distribute the wood glue on both sides of the squares. Make sure every spot is covered with glue to reduce the possibility of delamination.
Clamp the Glued Pieces Together
Stick all the layers together with your desired color pattern. I tried to get one cut side even with these Bessey parallel clamps first, but the glue was already starting to set! This is why Titebond III would be a better choice.
The melamine pieces on either end of the stack are there to prevent the clamps from marring the surface of the wood, and to apply even pressure throughout the layers.
I added a few F clamps where the parallel clamps couldn't reach, then flipped the whole thing over and added a few more. You can never have too many clamps!
There will be a ton of glue squeeze out, but that's ok! Just let it dry overnight, and the excess will be trimmed away in the next step.
Draw a Hexagon with a Compass
Trim all four sides on the miter saw so the layers are even. I cut as close as I could to the edge so I didn't waste any material. You can learn my trick for how to cut off a tiny bit with a miter saw here.
Next, mark the center of the square block by drawing an X from corner to corner.
Then place the point of the compass on the center of the X, with the pencil just inside the outside edge. Draw a circle around the center point, and make sure to keep the compass locked into that distance.
Now, draw a line down the center of the block. Put the point of the compass where the center line and the circle meet. Then mark where the pencil and the circle meet on either side of the center line.
Move the compass point to that spot, then make another mark the same distance away on the circle.
Repeat this process all the way around. If all goes well, your pencil mark at the top should cross the center line exactly! Then, use a ruler to connect the marks along the circle to draw a hexagon!
This method is sooooo much easier than breaking out the protractor, and doesn't require any measurements! I wish I had known how to do this when I made my hexagon side table a few years ago!
Cut Out the Hexagon
There are a few different ways you could cut out the hexagon shape. I decided to use the miter saw set at 30°, being very careful to keep my fingers as far from the blade as possible. I originally planned to use the table saw and the cross cut sled, but the saw blade doesn't raise high enough! 🙁
All those offcut corners are so pretty, I don't want to just throw them away! I plan to glue them all back together and create something new with them, so stay tuned for that project later!
Drill the Hole for the Tea Light Candle
The hexagon shaped DIY wood candle holder is pretty as is, but I wanted to recess the tea light into the top. Time to drill!
We had a box of tea lights laying around that were perfect for this project. The diameter is exactly 1 ½", so I used a Forstner bit of that size to drill the hole in the center of the hexagon. Stop occasionally to let the bit cool down so it doesn't scorch the wood!
The Forstner bit leaves a flat bottom in the hole, so I just popped the tea light in occasionally to check the fit. Eventually, I got down to the first blue layer and all the sawdust changed colors! It turns out that this was exactly the depth I needed, so the candle holder will have a fun pop of color when it's time to change it out.
Sand and Finish the DIY Wood Candle Holder
It's almost done! I used a sanding block and 220 grit sandpaper to remove the pencil markings, and to round over the edges slightly.
Remove all the sanding dust, then apply the wood finish. I used General Finishes High Performance Top Coat, which doesn't change the color of the natural wood much but makes the dyed layers really pop!
Insert Tea Light Candle or Air Plant
I couldn't decide whether to make this a candle holder or an air plant holder. This candle lantern I made a few years ago doesn't get used much, but a tea light seemed like a natural fit.
I'm addicted to air plants, especially after making this air plant holder for the wall next to our living room window. So to switch up the base easily, I popped out the wax from another tea light and filled it with decorative gravel. The bottom of the air plant is held in place by the tiny pebbles, and provides drainage.
Which version is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!