Building a chandelier from scratch is a great way for kids to spend time outside in nature and to indulge in craft activities with natural materials. It involves fine motor skills with hand tools as well as forest exploration. This whimsical DIY nature chandelier was made by my 8-year old daughter in an hour in the woods in the winter.
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All I did was provide tools, reclaimed wood, some directions and inspired company. For the rest, she did it all and was very satisfied with the result. Featuring no smashed little fingers and no harmed trees, this craft activity is both child-friendly and green, as it involves only dead wood and tree branches that you can (usually) collect in parks and forests. Real wax candles look warm and nice, adding an “elfic” forest touch to your festive decorations this season.
What You Need for the DIY Nature Chandelier Craft
- Find a piece of reclaimed wood. I took my family on a walk in a forest next to our home and we wandered until I found the perfect piece of wood fallen from a tree. That took 10 minutes. It was roughly 40 cm long (a big foot), relatively flat and didn’t have any sprouting offshoots, otherwise I would have cut them off. If yours needs to be cleaned or brushed, make it look nice as it will serve as the basis for the swing.
- With the hand drill, have your child drill four holes in the piece of wood – 2 at each end, about 2 inches apart. Choose a drill it whose diameter is slightly smaller than the nails you picked. My daughter loves how easy it is to make holes in wood with hand drills and I’m with her on that thrill. Super easy.
- Have the child push one piece of string down a hole then up again through the opposing hole on the same end. Repeat at other end. You have a swing or hanging base for the nature chandelier.
- Now’s the time to hammer nails in groups of 4s in a square pattern to secure candles to the base. What we did is hammer in the two first nails, then hold the candle against the nails and guesstimate where the two last nails should go. Once the first 4 nails were in, we fiddled a bit with them until they held the candle tightly and my daughter repeated the same pattern three times along the piece of wood.
- Last but not least – hang the swing, place the candles and light them! If the wood is soft enough, you can push the nails in with your fingers to fit them tightly around the candles.
My daughter loved this craft activity and made me promise we’d do it again to decorate her grand-parents’ house for Christmas.
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Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.