Introduction: Bird's Mouth Votive Candle Holder

Picture of Bird's Mouth Votive Candle Holder

My wife asked for a homemade votive candle holder for the holidays. Searching online, I found that the general design concept is a board with holes in a straight line. Since the desired design is for a holiday centerpiece on a table, I chose an octagon shape. We think it turned out very nice! My kids even gave it a "that's pretty cool" which is an upgrade over their comments on my previous projects :). Also, this is my third design using the bird's mouth joints - others projects shown here and here.

Step 1: Tools/Materials

Picture of Tools/Materials


  • Table Saw
  • Drill Press
  • Forstner Bit (1.5" Diameter)
  • Punch
  • Hammer
  • Ratchet Strap
  • Sander
  • Ruler
  • Pencil


  • 4x4 x 12" Long
  • Wood Glue

Step 2: Drawing

Picture of Drawing

The design is pretty simple. One part, repeated eight times.

Step 3: Starting Point

Picture of Starting Point

I started with a Douglas Fir 4x4. I cut 12" off which allowed for a few extra pieces in case I messed up.

Step 4: Cutting 4x4 Down

Picture of Cutting 4x4 Down

The 4x4 had rounded corners. I shaved off two sides to get the board down to a 3.5" x 2.5"

Step 5: Bird's Mouth Cut

Picture of Bird's Mouth Cut

Set the blade on the table saw to 45 degrees. Raise the blade so it cuts exactly to the midpoint. This step might take a few iterations. Practice on a scrap piece of wood. Cut both sides to a make a v-notch (bird’s mouth cut) in the board.

Step 6: Pieces

Picture of Pieces

Set table saw fence to 1". Cut the eight pieces. You might want to cut a few extras and pick the best eight.

Step 7: Dry Fit

Picture of Dry Fit

At this point, you might want to do a dry fit. At the same time, it’s a good idea to choose a top vs. bottom side. I tried to place the best cuts (tightest fit) on the top side.

Step 8: Candle Hole

Picture of Candle Hole

Mark the center per the drawing in Step 3. I used a punch to indent the location. Use a 1.5" Forstner bit for the hole.

Step 9: Glue and Pull Together

Picture of Glue and Pull Together

Apply glue at the notch for each of the eight sides. Use a ratchet strap to pull the pieces together. Wipe off the excess glue.

Step 10: Clean Up and Stain

Picture of Clean Up and Stain

Fill any gaps with wood filler (glue and saw dust) and then sand smooth. I used a dark cherry stain for the finish followed by two coats of polyurethane..

Step 11: Finish Pictures

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I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Step 12: Night Pictures

Picture of Night Pictures

Thanks for viewing.


michael.j.feierstein (author)2018-01-01

Very Nice! This might make a nice Wreath design as well!

Thank you

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to design and build random things.
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