Look for less: Crate & Barrel Candlesticks

On Christmas Day, I tried to set a festive table. Yes, this was four and a half months ago. Yes, I had just gotten off an airplane two hours before from two weeks away in Florida and the Caribbean. So I needed an easy way to introduce some glamour to the Christmas dinner proceedings.

And we all know that easiest way to festivize something is to light some candles, right?

Well, I had one problem with that. No candlesticks.
The main problem was, I had fallen in love with these:
Dramatic, handmade, Greek Isles style candlesticks from Crate & Barrel. They still have a few available. But at a regular price of $40-60 each, the large, dramatic grouping I thought was so awesome was WAY out of my price range. Even on sale, which some of them now are, I was going to have a hard time justifying that purchase. So I just didn’t buy anything.

Luckily, visiting as many thrift stores as I do on a regular basis, I knew that brass candlesticks are often easy to find and very cheap. So is spray paint (though at the hardware store). So I set a limit of $0.99 per candlestick and picked one up whenever I saw one for sale.

Most of these came from the new Goodwill in Annandale. A couple came from The Closet of Herndon.

Once I had acquired eight of them, I pulled out my trusty Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Primer, a can of Valspar’s Oil Rubbed Bronze and a cheapo tarp I keep around for spray painting.

I’ll not cover detailed steps to successful spray painting because it has been done so well elsewhere (I’m looking at you YHL), but basically:

1. Scuff with sandpaper.
2. Wipe off with a wet cloth to get any dust off.
3. Spray primer in a thin even coat. Let dry according to directions.
4. Spray color in two thin even coats. Let dry.
5. Touch up.
6. Done.

The only piece of wisdom I have to add here is that if you can, you want to get candlesticks up off the ground because those nooks and crannies and curvy spots are hard to reach otherwise. I used an empty egg crate.

The only other problem I encountered was that it was getting dark so I needed to move them before they had completely cured. I had to be very careful not to let them knock against each other or the paint chipped. That said, now that the paint has cured, I’ve knocked them about a bit and that problem seems to have dissipated now the paint is bonded.

It’s not quite as stylish as the Crate & Barrel versions, but let’s take a look at the budget break-down, shall we?

Crate & Barrel
Six candlesticks in varying sizes: $350
TOTAL: $350

Thrift store version
Eight candlesticks: $8
Spray primer: leftover from another project, but otherwise $4
ORB spray paint: leftover from another project, but otherwise $7
TOTAL: $19

I’ll take it. Now…back to Goodwill for some candles!

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