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You should have eaten all those Christmas cookies by now, save the round cookie tin for this candle carousel. These things are always fun but cost a leg if you buy them from the German Christmas stores. Candles heat the air which rises and spins the propeller and attached ornaments.

This project uses:
  • A round cookie tin
  • Two coat hangers
  • A cork
  • A piece of scrap wood
  • Two screws
  • Four tea candles
  • Spray paint and Christmas ornaments to jazz it up.

Tools used:

  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Drill and small bit
  • File or Grinder
  • Tin Snips
  • Screw Driver

Candle Carousel(click thumbnails to view gallery)

Complete Candle CarouselCookie TinBlade TemplateTwelve Blades MarkedWood Insert

1. Make the Prop.

Clip a long straight section of the coat hanger with the needle nosed pliers to make a rod. Make a sharp pencil tip on one end of the rod with a file or grinder. Try to keep the rod as straight as possible. Then take the lid from the tin and mark twelve blades with the template given (print the template photo.) Drill a small hole in the center of the lid, the same diameter as the coat hanger rod. Use tin snips to cut the lines to an inch from the center. (Caution, sharp metal here.) Then carefully bend the blades to look like a little fan. Cut the cork in half and spear it onto the rod; you may have to pre-drill the cork. Slide the propeller onto the rod and spear the second cork-half on top to hold it in place.

2. Build the Base.

Use the tin bottom and cut a piece of wood to fit inside; this doesn't have to be exact, just a weight and something for the screws to bite into. Flip the whole thing upside down and use the handle of a screwdriver to press a small round dimple in the center; this gives the propeller rod a place to spin. Drill a hole on each side of the base to mount the prop holder later. Now use the other coat hanger and cut a very long section to make the prop holder. Bend a loop in the center and at the ends of the hanger. Bend and form the hanger like an arch over the base. Screw the arch into the base and align the center hole over the dimple from earlier.

3. Put it together and Adjust.

Slide the prop rod into the center arch loop from the bottom and set the pointed rod end into the dimple. It should look done now. Now put your chin on a cup or something and align/bend the blades to a fixed point on the wall to take out the wobble. Add some decorations; set the candles under the blades and light them. This can be finicky; adjust the candle placement, blade angle, and prop height until it works well. I usually have to nudge it to get it started. Turn off ceiling fans and keep drafts away to keep it running well.

Have fun!


  • ember

    how on earth is the cork moving in the opposite direction as the carousel?

  • ming

    It is not running at all, what can I do about that

  • berningglass

    i'm a glass blower ,who's been slowly making pieces for an ornate carousel.......i like the simplicity of your's reinspired me and i'm gonna move in a slightly different direction,to simpler more interesting design .........thank you

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