Yuletime Pyramid

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Project by Druid posted 12-26-2012 07:14 AM 1213 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the items that my wife and I use each year at Yule is a candle powered Pyramid (also sometimes referred to as a Whirligig). These are more commonly seen in Europe, and come in a wide variety of themes and sizes. I built this one about 30 years ago, based on an article in Family Circle Magazine 12/7/82, and although it has had a few minor repairs along the way, it continues to perform beautifully. The wood is cedar that I sliced from a straight grained piece of 4×4 fence post.
The heat from the candles forms a rising column of warm air, which in turn causes the set of blades to rotate, and fly the small angels around the Pyramid. Photos 2 and 3 are a bit blurred since the blades were in motion at the time. Sorry I can’t insert a short video here.
As with anything with an open flame, these Pyramids are not something that you would leave unattended. I have changed the design a bit with similar Pyramids that I have built more recently, and they use tea lights instead of the taller candles shown in this version.
If you want to have a look at some more elaborate (and newer) designs, have a look at . . .

IMPORTANT NOTE:- If you make one of these Pyramids that is designed for standard candles, make sure that it is NEVER used with beeswax candles. Beeswax is much hotter when it burns, and you would have to redesign the Pyramid so that the distance from the flames to the rotor blades is greater, and reduce the possibility of overheating the wooden blades.

Happy Holidays.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

10 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1947 days

#1 posted 12-26-2012 09:40 AM

John that is an item that I’ve not seen in a while
I like #3 the action shot

Wishing you & yours well over the festivities


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8623 posts in 2011 days

#2 posted 12-26-2012 12:22 PM

This is really cool. I used to have one too and we loved to see it in action. It is beautiful! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View GerardoArg1's profile


852 posts in 1085 days

#3 posted 12-26-2012 12:23 PM

Very Nice. IĀ“like the movements in woods. Try to copy that.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

18621 posts in 1429 days

#4 posted 12-26-2012 02:39 PM

Very nice

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


113833 posts in 2668 days

#5 posted 12-26-2012 04:21 PM

Very cool design,nice job.

-- Custom furniture

View Camero68's profile


64 posts in 1272 days

#6 posted 12-26-2012 08:28 PM

A very cool project, especially when the blades are in action. A great centerpiece for the holidays.


View Celticscroller's profile


1072 posts in 1164 days

#7 posted 12-26-2012 11:50 PM

It’s been years since I’ve seen one of these. Beautiful!

-- Anna

View Dave's profile


11256 posts in 1931 days

#8 posted 12-27-2012 03:28 AM

John I have never seen one of these. This is a wonderful little project. Your family should cherish it every year.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View prompt's profile


304 posts in 1684 days

#9 posted 01-20-2013 01:54 PM

Very Nice “perpetuum mobile” :-)

-- Elhan, Azerbaijan

View Druid's profile


941 posts in 1886 days

#10 posted 01-20-2013 08:42 PM

prompt – glad you liked it.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

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