My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #54: Holly Candle Tray Finished!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-27-2010 01:33 PM 5583 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 53: "You Know, It Don't Come Easy" Part 54 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 55: Back to "Normal" »

Yesterday turned out pretty good. It felt great to have a handle on everything and things went pretty much according to plan. It was even sunny out, which meant that I didn’t have to do routing in between raindrops. If I had finished earlier on Sunday, I would have probably waited anyway because it rained most of the day.

The Birch I choose for the tray was a really good piece. It was flat and clear and stable and would be the perfect background for the design. This tray, unlike most of the others, was what I call a negative design. Instead of the design being left and removing the material from around it, it was cut from the wood, leaving the framework. The “Hope” ornament set was like that. The lettering was removed and the ornaments consisted of the background and frame.

Although it always isn’t appropriate for every kind of design, I like this kind of scrolling. I find that you can be extremely detailed without worrying about things falling off. It really highlights the abilities you have on the scroll saw to make fine cuts and curves. It is a nice change from ‘regular’ scrolling and one I think I needed after all of the trays I was doing.

Here is a picture of the finished candle tray:

From Holly Candle Holder

The overview of the entire design:

From Holly Candle Holder

And a picture of the detailing:

From Holly Candle Holder

After all the other trays, I guess it is pretty much self-explanatory. I used a 2/0 reverse-tooth blade and it was small enough to do the cutting, but since the Birch is pretty hard, it offered a good amount of resistance so I had a great deal of control, which is exactly what I needed with this type of design. I first tried cutting with a 2 reverse tooth, but found that the blade seemed too wide for the corners, which I wanted to keep nice and sharp. It was a dream to cut this out and I really enjoyed doing it. There is something really satisfying to me when cutting. It is my favorite part of my job. Like anything, it seems you have good days and bad days with it, but I think that planning is a big part of that and after the last couple of weeks of working the way I have, I really enjoyed this last part of my deadline. I wanted to make this design one of the best, as I didn’t want to cut any corners (no pun intended!) just because I was doing several at once. I tried really hard to look at each design individually and give it a style and personality all its own.

I also decided to do a beading-type drilling in it. I think this added interest and made it look more formal. The trick when doing this type of drilling is using a brad-point drill bit and take your time. You can’t rush it and expect it to come out good. I gently touch the center point of the bit to the pattern and make sure it is centered and then slowly apply pressure. This way there is little tear out and I am sure the holes are in the right place. The effect is really nice, I think and adds a lot to the overall look of the design.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t finished the birch yet. I am toying with the idea of applying a green stain to it all. I took my pictures of it natural, so I could submit them for the catalog and did so yesterday. But looking at that perfect piece of wood, it is almost asking me to stain it. I have a beautiful color called Pthalo Green which is a deep, almost bluish green acrylic that is transparent in itself and I am thinking that with the gel medium I have been using, it will give a nice deep, yet sheer color. We will have to see how things go later today.

I am holding off posting the project in my gallery until I make the final decision. I need to write the instructions for these last five candle trays and I want to get them on my site by the weekend. Although they are similar, there are some things I want to point out when making each one so I want to take extra care when writing the instructions. Now that I have several new projects under my belt, I want to take the rest of the week to concentrate on the site and the other details of my business. I still have so many more of these I want to do, but I also have more ornaments and stuff I want to draw and it may be good for me to change my direction for just a bit and do something different.

I also want to paint. I am really getting the urge to do a nice painting. I have one half-finished one of a black cat lounging on a pumpkin that I started almost two years ago, but I haven’t worked on it for over a year. My mind and heart just weren’t in it. I want to do something else though, like a bear or a wolf or a fox and I need to look at photos and decide which direction to go. I am fighting the urge to do another big cat because I have so many of them that I know I need to diversify. I love the cat’s eyes, though. They are like no other animals. I usually paint them first because I feel like it gives the painting a soul.

Anyway, we will see on that. I hope you all like the Holly Candle Tray. I will post the pictures when I decide what I am going to do with it. Until then I have plenty to keep me busy. I decided to refinish the top of my kitchen table yesterday and have it stained and it needs a couple of coats of clear on it. I am taking bets as to which of the three cats will jump on it first when I put the finish on it. With three of them, it is just about a given. :)

It is only Tuesday and there is a whole week of fun ahead. I am looking forward to see what the rest of the week brings. I hope you all have a great day too!

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

10 comments so far

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3119 days

#1 posted 07-27-2010 06:25 PM

Man oh man, Shelia, your designs are exquisite!!!! You are definitely a designer, that’s for sure. But more than that, your work is so clean looking.
BTW, I have just started painting as well. Strange thing – when I first started carving, I loved my first crappy pieces. I actually hate my first attempts at painting – thus far. I guess I wanted to be good immediately….I’m not. But I’m going to keep it up.


View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3298 days

#2 posted 07-27-2010 07:27 PM

well sheila this is just fantastic…man your design is out of there good, and your cutting is super…man you can cut so well…all of the right things were in place and you executed it right down to the the last cut..very good i cant wait to see some bears dancing around on your saw….grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3298 days

#3 posted 07-27-2010 07:48 PM

let me say this also…when it comes to bears…there expressions are what help tell the story..and how they position themselves…..i hope you will do a bear..i grew to love them so much from being in alaska…maybe if you do a grizz bear with a tool belt on and working at the table saw…i bet that it would even intrest the boys at grizzly tools…and you have the talent to do it also..well im sure your probably talking of doing a serious painting, but the other would be so cool…no i wonder why why i would think that…lol

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3110 days

#4 posted 07-27-2010 11:54 PM

that realy is some delicat work Sheila


View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3013 days

#5 posted 07-28-2010 02:06 AM

Yes, you can design em and cut em with the very best of them! My Other Half will definitely want this one, so I guess I’ll have to be brushing up on my scroll saw skill. I may even get her interested in doing this herself (crossing fingers).

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#6 posted 07-28-2010 12:05 PM

Thanks you guys! I really appreciate it a lot!

@Jordan – I would love to see your paintings. I am watching your latest blog and I can’t wait until you get to the painting process. What kind of paints do you use? I had done tole and decorative painting for years and in 2004 I finally tried some ‘real’ painting. My first painting was of a Snow Leopard and although it took a while, I liked how it came out. Only thing was I painted it on a wooden box. I love painting wildlife but haven’t done so in a couple of years, but I am wanting to get back at it. I need to find a market for it eventually if I ever want to sell it. I don’t know how to begin. You can see my paintings at my Gallery on my site. I am proud of some of them and would really like to do more. How come there are only 24 hours in a day, anyway?

@ Grizzman – A ‘cabin’ piece with bears, moose and trees is in the works. You have inspired me for that one! :) I will let you know as soon as I have it done. Stay tuned . . . .

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

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2981 days

#7 posted 07-28-2010 03:48 PM

Hey, I really love this design. It is a nice change of pace to see a negative space design! Really lovely.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Handi75's profile


377 posts in 3469 days

#8 posted 10-31-2010 12:06 AM


I really enjoy this one. I love the Lacy look and the Veining details.

I’d have to sale that one on your Store, Bet you get ALOT of hits on that one.

I know if money wasn’t so scarce for me I’d probably buy that one from your store to cut!


-- Jimmy "Handi" Warner,,, Twitter: @Handisworkshop, @HandisCreations

View HAWKEYE13's profile


1 post in 1568 days

#9 posted 02-03-2014 08:08 PM

I have a question… do you cut the 4” circle in the middle with out leaving a mark or hole.
What kind of tool is used?
I don’t scroll saw….I only use a coping saw.
No one wants to reveal how to make the hole part.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#10 posted 02-03-2014 08:17 PM

Hi, Hawkeye:
I drill a hole with a very small bit just to the inside of the 4” circle. I tilt the saw for the bevel cut, thread the blade through, and cut the circle. The combination of the angle of the saw and the kerf of the blade allows the center to slide down slightly. Since I drilled the entry hole a bit to the inside of the circle, the hole is on the center part and easy to disguise by filling. I mix some sawdust with a little clear drying wood glue and apply it to the drill hole. When it is dry, I sand it flush. It is very difficult to see where it is drilled this way.

I hope this answers your question. :)


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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics