DIY Deer Antler Candle Holders

2 Materials
2 Hours

Hi, I"m Liz from Simple Decorating Tips, a DIY and decorating blog. I previously showed you my attempt to embellish a deer antler mount for a Christmas ornament on the wall.Continuing on with that antler idea, I made antler candle holders and learned a few more things along the way...I probably could have looked up some stuff on the internet for this project, but like I so frequently do, I just plowed into it, kind of figuring out stuff as I went along.

At the same barn sale place where I found the antlers for the wall, I also found these loose antlers. But they didn't look quite as nice as they do now.

Here's one and as you can see, it, like all the rest of the antlers, had large 'chunks' of skull on it.

Not a super pleasant look for the dining table centerpiece. "Could you please pass the mashed potatoes, mind the hunk of skull bone there on the candle holder..."

I did have a little experience with working around this type of thing last week when I did the deer antlers for Christmas, so maybe I'm getting over the 'ewww' factor a little better now. The bone on the antlers was really, really hard. I tried cutting it off with a jigsaw first, but that was taking forever. The bone was just too hard and dense for my jigsaw, or at least for the blade I had in...Then I tried the chop saw...

The chop saw actually worked really well. But if you decided to do this, be warned, it kind of smells... My nose is really sensitive to odors, and I swear I could smell this bone cutting odor for hours after... And I cut it outside. I think it must have just been all in my head, but I for sure know that I do not have any great desire to go into bone carving for a living after that.


The chop saw created a nice clean cut on the end of the antlers. But like I said, the bone is really hard, so for sure wear safety glasses, the fragments can really go flying!Once all the cuts were made, (I had several pair of antlers I was working on) They all got a soak in bleach water.

I have no idea if they needed it or not, and I was slightly concerned it would bleach out the nice brown color on the antlers, but I just felt they needed a little sanitizing...

Five minutes later, I rinsed them and set them out to dry. And I'm glad to report the 5 minute soak in bleach water didn't seem to lighten or discolor the antlers.So these are going to be candle holders, which means they need something to hold the candles!

After searching the hardware store, (plumbing department!?) and home goods store, (candle section) and then craft store, I finally found these little wooden cups... They were the perfect size for taper candles and were at JoAnn's Fabrics in the unpainted wood aisle. They come in a bag of 8 and are marked "Candle Cups"... ha ha ha Imagine that!

They got a quick coat of black paint, then a bit of metallic gold paint over the top in some spots, which I wiped off with a dry paper towel.

The cup rack I have Christmas mugs on at the coffee bar actually worked well for holding these little candle cups as they dried between coats of paint.

Once everything was dry, the candle cups were glued on the antlers with hot glue.

It really seemed to hold well to both the wooden cups and the antlers.


Hot glue cools and hardens quickly, so you only need to hold it a few seconds until it's ready.Here is the finished antler candle holders.

The little candles I used are fabric and wax covered electric candles. I found them at a fun little shop in our hometown that sells vintage and new things.

The candles are so cute, that even when they're off, they look nice in the antler candle holders.

I'm happy with the look of the rustic finish of the candle cups in the gold rubbed black finish.

I'm not sure yet if I'll maybe keep these out longer than just for Christmas yet, but for now, they look great on the dining room table with the deer theme winter wonderland on the built-in buffet in the background.

Be sure to come visit my DIY & decorating blog Simple Decorating Tips to read more tips and tutorials I've written about!

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Liz at Simple Decorating Tips
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  • Thatsagoodidea Thatsagoodidea on Oct 26, 2022

    thanks for sharing your project. I have quite a few of these (husband has been avid bow hunter several years) which have cured and are just looking to be repurposed. Might be a fun twist for the holiday table this year. Like the woodsy rustic look! Might be challenging without the proper saw for me. Wish me luck!