Pottery Barn knockoff: DIY birch candles (plus a giveaway winner)

I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of those adorable birch candles featured in home decor catalogs like, my personal favorite, Pottery Barn.

Pottery Barn Painted Birch candles

Photo from Pottery Barn

The price of these particular candles, however? Yea. I’m not a huge fan of that.

So what do you do when you just gotta have that special piece for your holiday mantel but you don’t want to have to sell a kidney to get it? Why you make it yourself, of course!

I started with five flameless candles in various sizes that I picked up at Walmart. The total for all five was about $15.


I chose the battery-operated version because I wanted them to last and I didn’t want to worry about keeping stuff away from the flames. I’m sure you could use regular pillar candles. Just remember to never leave burning candles unattended – especially DIY ones. 😉

I started by painting the outsides of the candles in a greige color (that’s a cross between gray and beige, to be clear), similar to the color of tree bark. I used leftover chalk paint I had lying around, but any craft paint would probably work.


After the paint dried, I took a craft knife and cut slits all over the outsides of the candles to create the texture of birch bark.


I like to keep a picture of what I’m trying to replicate handy on my laptop while I work, so I can do my best to get the design correct.

I created faux wood knots on the candles by drawing eye shapes in various sizes with my craft knife, then scoring (i.e. notching or scratching out) the middles.


After that, I brushed on some Varathane® stain (in Espresso) that settled into the cracks and started to give the candles the look of real wood bark.


I wiped off the excess stain and let everything dry really well. Then I brushed on a watered-down layer of silvery-white paint, giving the candles a bit of shimmer.


Finally, I accentuated the knots by going over them with a small artist’s brush loaded with a watered-down mixture of brown and black craft paint. I used craft paint for this step because it stuck to the wax really well.



Done! Here’s a look at my knockoff birch bark candles:




To purchase five similar candles from Pottery Barn would have cost me $192. My thrifty, DIY version cost me less than $20!


What do you think of my Pottery Barn knockoff DIY birch candles?

Special thanks to the folks at Rust-Oleum® for providing me with the Varathane stain I needed to complete this birch bark candle project. 

Before I go, I’d like to announce the winner of the HomeRight SteamMachine Plus Multi-Purpose Steam Mop. Congrats to:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 thoughts on “Pottery Barn knockoff: DIY birch candles (plus a giveaway winner)

  1. Those look great! I had some tiny faux candles that I covered with birch paper last year and placed in a lantern on the shelf. My sister thought they were from PB but had never seen them that small. Up close you can tell mine are paper…..yours look amazing.

  2. You knocked it out of the park! I like yours much more than Pottery Barn’s. I am going to attempt this because I have wanted just one of those candles.

  3. Your candles look fantastic. How do you think of these things?
    Congratulations to the winner. That was an awesome prize.

  4. Nice craft Susan. I seem to wonder, though, that when you burn them, if you do, will you have toxic smoke from the paints and stain that you used. Have you looked into that part of your craft. Is it burn safe? Yes, I know not to leave a candle unattended, but wonder if the paint and stain would smoke up the house as the candle burns and would there be a problem with air quality? They do look great for a knockoff!

    • I actually used non-burning, no-flame, battery-operated LED candles for my project. I’m not sure how they would perform if flame candles were used. That’s why I mentioned to monitor them if that’s the route you choose.

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  6. You inspired me! I followed your directions mad mine turned out great! They got raves!
    Thanks for the idea and well documented steps.

  7. I like yours better than PB. Your candled look more realistic with the knot holes. what a fantastic idea, I will have to try this.

  8. I agree with the others, you did do a very good job replicating the Pottery Barn candles. It would be a great craft to do on a rainy weekend while watching football. I will have to get the things together and make some soon!

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