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Popular in Holidays

Woodland Kinara

The seven candles in the kinara represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa. By making the kinara, your family will celebrate kuumba (creativity), one of the Kwanzaa principles.

What You Need:

Simple beauty lets holiday meaning shine through.
  • Log of cedar or other soft wood, approximately 18 inches long (can use firewood)
  • Chain or band saw
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Drill and 3/4-inch wood boring bit
  • 7 candles: 3 red, 3 green, 1 black
  • Spray-on wood finish (select color of your choice)
  • High-gloss polyurethane (optional, for topcoat)
  • Pencil or felt-tip marker


1. Cut log to 18 inches in length and then cut in half lengthwise. (Home centers and lumber stores will cut wood.)

2. Place half log on its flat surface. This is the base of the kinara.

3. Mark placement of holes. Using the marker, mark the center of the log's top. Mark off 3 spaces to the left 1-1/2-inches apart and three spaces to the right 1-1/2 inches apart.

4. Drill holes where you've marked. Drill holes deep enough for the candles to fit securely (approximately 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches deep).

5. Finish. Spray kinara with the wood finish to give it a deeper color and a sheen. Allow to dry. If desired, add topcoat of polyurethane. Let dry thoroughly.

6. Insert candles. Place the black candle in the center hole. Place the three red candles to the left of the black candle and the three green candles to the right. For an explanation of the candles' symbolism, read our write-up of "Kwanzaa History and Traditions."

Safety Tips:

  • Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Do not let candles burn down to the wood.

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