Arts & Crafts Luminaries

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If spring’s in the air, but the ground is solidly in winter’s grip, you can still get an early jump on the season by building one or more of these attractive outdoor luminaries to add a warm glow in the garden, porch, or patio. Their size and styling make them equally well suited for use as an interior accent.

Requiring very little wood and no complicated joinery, the basic box can be built quickly, so that you can focus your creative energy on the fanciful scrollsaw work. The copper panels not only offer a color and character you can’t get from wood, but they’re also customizable (check out the Dragonfly and Iris Patterns on page 69). Once you discover the simple tricks of scrollsawing metal, you’ll likely adapt this technique to future projects.

We used white oak not only to complement the Arts and Crafts design, but also to make the luminary tough enough to withstand a few surprise showers. (Bring them inside when they are not in use to keep them looking their best.) The battery-powered tea lights ensure that the luminaries are as safe to use indoors as out.

Note: This is a nice project for beginners, because it doesn’t require a jointer or planer. Thin stock is available at your local Woodcraft store and at most home centers. See the Convenience-Plus Buying Guide for a list of additional items.

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