Category: Milk Paint

Make Candle Pillars from Spindles and Milk Paint

Building the candle pillar:

As I mentioned on Facebook, I got all these old spindles – which were actually old bed posts – because I just couldn’t resist! Then, what to do with them? I don’t have access to any fancy tools so whatever I decided on, had to be very easy. The simplest thing to do was to cut them to different lengths for candle pillars.


Sounds easy right? Well, not so much! They are tapered, which meant that it was very difficult to cut a STRAIGHT line. After a little trial and error – mostly error and a couple or rejects- I managed to make a few cuts that were acceptable – not perfect, but…. if you turn them just right, they look straight! The good thing was, the wood is soft so the cutting part wasn’t too hard. A bit of a workout but okay.

The next issue was stability. You can’t put a burning candle on top of something that will tip over if you look at it sideways. Did I mention that I don’t have any fancy tools? Well, Home Depot to the rescue. They have caps for fence posts that are pre-cut and cheap. But (there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there), they needed a flat board on the top to screw the pillar to. After a little hunting, I found a perfect board to cut up for this. Applied white glue, taped it to keep it together tightly and then left it over night to dry.

The next step was to drill a hole through the top of the base and into the base of the pillar. A nice long screw (2 inch) made for a very secure fit.

To attach the candle on the top of the pillar, I hammered an 1 1/2 inch finishing nail (no head) part way into the center. The candle just happened to have a little dimple in the center of it’s base that allowed me to just push it down onto the nail. Voila! a nice tight fit (the candle shouldn’t be put on until the painting is done, but I just had to see how it looked!)

Next Step: Painting with Painter Sisters Milk Paint

I just love that old chippy and distressed look on some things. These were the perfect pieces to use this method on. I used my ‘Painter Sisters’ Milk Paint to get this look using Black is Black and White Rabbit. The original finish on the pillars is some kind of old shellac and the milk paint just does not like to stick to that finish! You just never know until you try it whether or not the paint will chip so go ahead and try it on yours. If you’re using unfinished spindles from the lumber store, the paint will stick really well and NOT chip – so best to find some old, used ones with a finish on them.

Apply 2 coats of each colour and then let the chipping begin (chipping often won’t happen until the second coat). When the paint is dry, you will see it lifting here and there. Sand the whole thing lightly with fine sandpaper to remove all the loose bits – it’s messy so be prepared.

Use #CottagePaint flat wax to seal the pieces – if they are still a bit chippy, sand again lightly and reapply the wax. That’s it!

I found some really nice ribbon and red and gold beaded trim at Home Depot made by Martha Stewart. She has a very nice collection of Christmas trims and ribbon. They will look wonderful for Christmas and then I can change them up after the season with something else.