I Love my Porch! (Shutter Candleholder Tutorial too!)

Don’t let the title fool you ….I didn’t get a new porch, nor did I do a porch redo…..BUT, I love my porch and wanted to tell you why. I sit out there most evenings for about 2 hrs (if I’m home) and just swing in total silence with my shutter candleholder glowing as the only light……

Isn’t it pretty? I’ll tell you how to make it in a bit….

The BIG DEAL about this is that none of the kids or my hubby can take the heat out there so THEY DON’T FOLLOW ME!!!! I can sit quietly and listen to the katydids and (like last night) the rain…..lovely.

Another bonus is that in the evening, the porch looks pretty, as opposed to the daytime, when I see the dirty grass coverd sneakers and socks the 16yr old drops every time he cuts the grass, dry grass bits that he tracks in and all over the rug and floor too, dirty fan blades, the broken arm on the swing, the mildew on the couch cushion (despite the disclaimer of outdoor fabric), and so forth. Don’t think I’m a disgusting housekeeper please……I’m just a tired one. The daytime heat has been overpowering here the past week and we’ve had rainstorms in the evening, resulting in the mildew and general dirt on the porch from the wind. 

BUT, I found something so cute and reasonable at TJ Maxx the other day that I was inspired to take a crack at cleaning up (once again). Plus, the weather report is predicting lovely temps in the 80’s……YES!

So, there I am in TJ Maxx because I have to kill an hour waiting for a kid to finish a meeting. Down on a bottom shelf I spy these nylon mesh bags that you can’t even see through. They’re like the stuff they make those basketball jersey shirts out of….you know what I mean? Here…….

So, nosy as I am and always looking for something unique, I grab one. Someone has been there before me (good thing because I had to use scissors to open the other one later) and one is open. Inside is a driftwood garland!! How cool…….How much?  $9.99! Only two left and I knew right where I would use them……

I hung one on each side of the double doors today, but I know I will also just pile them in a basket or maybe a glass jar at some point too. That’s the potting shed in the background with my fabulous copper heron weathervane.

Now, isn’t that pretty? I rarely see driftwood here on the beach and it would take a few years to collect this much so I’m happy. I don’t care if it’s really just sticks that some enterprising person tumbled in a barrel and soaked with water…..it looks GOOD! There’s an added bonus with those bags too….they went right into my beach bag for collecting more shells and those smooth black stones I love to pick up when we’re at the beach. 

I hung the garlands up this morning and had the extra bonus of being able to smell the ocean while I erased the mildew with some white vinegar and cleaned the tables. We are about 4 mi from the beach but when the wind is right we get that wonderful salty smell which is so pleasant. I’ve lived within reach of the ocean all my life so it is something that is deep in my soul.

Next I decided to clean up my glass hanging candle lanterns….

Here are the components. I was a representative for Southern Living at Home several years ago. They have since reorganized under Willow House but continue to do home parties. Their stuff is very pretty and, as usual, you get discounts on stuff for having parties. Anyway, these candleholders came from there. I hung them high on all the pillars of the porch and they are very pretty lit in the evening. One problem with an outdoor porch is rain, wind dirt and bugs……ick. Soon after I started using the lights, I realized it would be a constant problem with the rain and bugs primarily. Bugs loved the light and flew in to commit suicide and the blowing rain kept adding water. What to do? Then I remembered the little etched glass plates I had inherited. There were only a few and I used them primarily to set pillar candles on. They worked great and even the wind didn’t blow them off. here is how they look hug up……

The metal holder is rusting just a bit whicih is fine with me. I just take the plates off when I’m ready to light them and put them back when the evening is over. I always use the little tealights in the metal cups……cheap. In case you are not a fan of these, let me give you my spiel…….I use them EVERYWHERE because I love lots of candlelight but hate having to go around and blow them all out at night. I’ve forgotten one occasionally and my heart pounded at what could have happened with a candle burning ALL NIGHT in my house……..chills…. The tea lights burn 4 hrs and then go out on their own. Now, I have various pillars because you can’t always use a little tea light in a container BUT it definitely is easier to remember where three candles are than 15…….Yes, it’s true, I could have 15 going at once…..I TOLD you I love candlelight    

Back to the candleholders. Another little bonus (I LOVE multipurpose things) is that you can use them as a little cloche….
Not the best angle, but photographing glass is not easy. Isn’t that sweet? Perfect for a cupcake or petit four. Or, a pretty little shell or piece of jewelry. Or the perfect strawberry maybe……..
Now, the shutter candleholder. Simple project. I sold some at my Porch Sale in May and will probably sell some more in October…..as long as I can find shutters that is….
So, find some indoor decorative wood shutters. Maybe you have some in the attic, or you know someone who does. I have found them at the thrift store as well as the Habitat for Humanity store. You need four shutters. If they are hooked together with hinges….fine. As long as you can fold them into a pillar shape there’s no need to take them apart. I take off the little knobs because they are usually plastic. You can replace them with little wood knobs and just hot glue them in place or leave them off.
There are no pictures of assembly because I don’t have any more shutters and didn’t think to take pics in May……sorry. It is really, really simple so hopefully you can figure it out with reading and looking at the finished pictures.
So, arrange the shutters standing up to form an enclosed tall box (so to speak). Glue and nail those together so it stands up alone. Then, stand your pillar on a sheet of paper. Hold it still while you reach inside and trace around the INSIDE of the pillar. This will be your base. Cut out your pattern and trace onto scrap wood. Thickness is not a problem but you need enough surface to glue and nail from the outside. Cut out your piece of wood, insert it into the bottom of the shutter pillar (look and see which way the louvers go first!) and nail it in place. Done!
Now, I can hear someone thinking….why can’t you just nail or glue on a piece of wood at the bottom which was traced on the outside of the pillar? Yes, it is a bit easier but I like this method because if the shutters are already weathered or chippy then I don’t have to deal with an unfinished edge of wood showing……the shutter goes all the way to the bottom and looks best this way to me.
Finally as a last step, I spray painted some of them for the May sale because summer was coming…..

A couple final things….Make sure that you trace the bottom piece AFTER you have assembled the sides. The base will not be a square but rather a rectangle or even a skewed rectangle. The hinges affect this. Here’s a pic looking down so you can see what I mean….

Here are a couple closeups of a side with hinges and a side without hinges. It’s up to you how much work you want to do….

If you have broken louvers (very common) then you can use a bit of wire to reattach them or use a small piece of wood to make a brace and permanently hot glue it in place. You can leave them broken for a more primitive look too. At the thrift store there are TONS of glass vases for less than $1. Get one of those and put it inside for your pillar or tealight. You need that or the breeze will blow it out…. One gal who bought two in May was planning to use them on her kitchen table. I think they’d look great on in any room. How about putting a small lamp inside or (if you’re ambitious) wiring it for a bulb?

I think I’m inspiring myself to do just that for the October sale. They’d be great used inside during the Fall!

Hope your day is productive and happy!

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    clever and so pretty with the candle glowing in the evening. I was also wondering if one could not use the doors to block the side of the patio for privacy or block the wind that comes up sometimes in the evening? But how to anchor them? any idea?
    Thanks for sharing

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