Dead Tree Centerpiece with Candles

I’ve got to give credit where credit is due – I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was a perfect centerpiece for my Thanksgiving table. Also, it doesn’t hurt that I have a heavily wooded area as part of my property, so finding the materials was a cinch. If you don’t have a forest behind you, any fallen or dead branch you might have would work perfectly. My husband did all the work on this one, so this post is by him.


  • Dead tree or branch that isn’t rotten (if it has a nice arc, that will help)
  • Candles that are 1½” diameter (well, just under)
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Two small dowels (about ¼” by 3″)


  • Hand saw to cut the tree/branch
  • Miter saw to cut the final size
  • Forstner bit (I used 1 ½”)

First, I found a nice dead, but not rotten, tree in my backyard. I eye-balled approximately how long it should be and cut it with a handsaw so that there would be a nice arc in the middle. This was pure luck. After I made clean cuts on the ends with my miter saw, I took it over to my drill press and used my Forstner bit to drill out holes for the candles. I roughly spaced out 6 holes for my candles (it’s a rustic project, after all) and started from the center of the tree/branch and worked my way to the ends. I drilled about ½” deep – this project required very little measuring, but basically, you just want the candles to rest in securely.

Once I was done with the drilling, I noticed it was a bit wobbly and added dowel feet where needed (part of my tree/branch had a knot, so use your judgment when adding dowel feet to make sure it’s stable since it will be holding fire). You can do this by drilling a small hole in the underside and inserting a dowel. I finished up by coating the whole thing in boiled linseed oil to seal the wood and prevent warping and cracking. I did put boiled linseed oil on the bark despite the recommendations I read to the contrary. It has worked out fine for us so far.Centerpiece2