3rd Week of Christmas – Wood Candy Dish

Naptime Gnome Idea #9

Custom Candy Dish

Why is it so hard to find the perfect gifts for the ones we love most and know the best? I always find it harder to think up things to make for my husband than anyone else. Luckily, he has a passion for Iowa Football. So I can slap a hawkeye on just about anything and come up with a  somewhat serviceable gift, but this one was such a hit he started coming home reporting special orders! Thankfully, they’re not terribly difficult if you have a few tools.  So I thought I’d share!

These simple candy dishes are made from two sheets of wood.  By cutting either recesses or raised portions on a top board and gluing them onto a backer, you can produce a custom piece in about 3 naptimes (accounting for dry times).

NOTE: This project is actually fairly easy, but it does require the use of a scroll saw (or bandsaw). If you have one hiding in the garage or shop and you’ve never used it, we need to talk! If you can trace and/or sew, and have had any safety training on tools what-so-ever, you will have no problem with this simple, but stunning project.  That being said, all tools are accompanied by inherent risks, if you have not been trained to use your saws, be sure to get proper training before starting any project.  If you are still new to power tools, you may want to start with a very simple design.  No matter what your skill level, make sure to wear protective eye wear and be observant of basic shop safety.

Quick and Dirty Run-Down

  • Select a design with chunky details so you can easily single out a few recesses, like the hawkeye above, or you can raise the pattern and use the background to house treats, like this:
  • You’ll want to make sure that your pattern is at least large enough to manipulate the wood easily (the lettering above was a bit of a bear, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you are not particularly comfortable with your saw. When considering your design, you also want to make sure all recesses are wide enough to accommodate your sweet little morsels. For example, this dish’s size was completely predicated on the dimension between the G and the yellow perimeter in order to fit M&M’s without them getting stuck:
  • Once you’ve determined your desired design, print or draw to scale (between 6 and 10 inches seems to be a nice size), then glue to one of the boards with spray adhesive (in this case I just used a pine board from Lowe’s, but you can use virtually anything you like) .
  • If using a scroll saw (preferred): Use a drill-bit large enough to produce holes to allow passage of your saw blade, drill a hole in each of the desired cutouts (the hawkeye required 4 holes).  Remove your saw blade from the saw, pass it through a hole and reattached to your saw.  Repeat with all the recesses. DO NOT cut around the outer edge yet!
  • If using a band saw: make a small cut into one of the recesses, once cut out completely, make a small cut into the next recess, cut out completely, and so forth. Once you are done, you will need to fill the cuts between the recesses with wood putty. DO NOT cut around the outer edge yet!
  •  Sand to desired smoothness.
  •  Paint or stain all the pieces while they are still separate.
  •  Designate where the pieces will lie on the second board (backing), trace with a pencil.
  •  Sand the portion of the wood you’ll be using (portion within outermost trace mark).
  •  Stain or paint the portion of the backer board that will be part of the candy dish.
    •  NOTE: You will want to paint all the pieces prior to assembly to achieve a crisp, manicured finished product. Painting them separately will also help prevent bleeding of colors between the pieces.
  •  Once all the pieces are dry, use wood glue to adhere the upper pieces to the backer board.
  •  Once the glue is dry, cut out the outer perimeter of both pieces.
  •  Paint the outer edge.
  •  Clear coat with a food-safe finishing product. Spray acrylic works great. I also like pourable polyurethane products for this project. I’ve had questions regarding the safety of polyurethane: as long as you make sure it is COMPLETELY polymerized (dry to the point of being “plastic,” with no residual carrier solvents) before using, it is food-safe… just don’t drink the stuff 😉
This was my very first bowl, I hadn’t worked out the particulars yet, and cut the two pieces separately, then glued them together. This was an inferior technique to that used later, which was to cut the outer edge with the two pieces already glued, giving a much more uniform outer edge.

-The Naptime Gnome <;’)

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