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Great tips for making floating candle centerpieces

Updated on November 1, 2012

Using Floating Candles in Centerpieces

If you need a table centerpiece this festive season then you really can't go wrong with a floating candle centerpiece. I thoroughly recommend keeping floating candles on hand for just this purpose. If you make your own candles you might occasionally produce a set of floating candles from any left over wax. If you don't have any floating candles and have absolutely no available time to create some I can help you there too.

The main requirement for a candle to float is its base must be smaller than its top and its wick must not go right through the candle. Making floating candles is really simple, you can buy floating candle molds or you have the option of using household items like cupcake tins or ice cube trays. There are many commercially available floating candle molds. These come in quite cute designs, you can get flower shaped ones that are extremely effective and can look quite realistic. If you intend to use your floating candle on an outdoor table or even in a pool then ensure you buy ones where the wick is recessed and protected from breezes. Personally, I use cupcake and mini muffin tins and novelty ice cube trays for my floating candles as this saves on the overall cost.

If your floating candle only burns for a short time before going out the most likely reason is that the wick is getting wet. This may be because your wick has pierced the base of the candle. This is a really easy problem to solve. Just melt some extra wax and recover the base of your candle.

Candles used in a dining table centerpiece really shouldn't be fragranced. This is mainly because you don't want the candle fragrance to over power or out compete the aroma of the food and also at a dining table candles are typically in close proximity to people and the fragrance may very well be too powerful. However, when making candles for a buffet table or to float on a pool or pond I usually scent them.

Centerpiece Ideas

Centerpieces are normally created in dishes, glass containers or vases. A simple centerpiece will involve using a large bowl of water full of a variety of floating candles. If you use a white bowl choose colored candles. Also you can use a number of different colors of candles in the bowl for a more impressive outcome. A variety of shapes used in a single bowl can also add to the overall effect.

I often find myself searching the shelves of Goodwill stores to find tall thin vases to use in my floating candle displays. If you have several thin vases of different sizes you can create a really effective display as your floating candles will be at different heights. Even if you have similar sized vases you can create a similar effect by creating levels with your water heights. Again, various colored candles can make this display more effective.

'But I only have one color of candles' I hear you say.
Here are a few ideas if this is your situation

  • Immerse a string of beads of a different color inside the bowl then float your candles on the top. I often borrow my children's dress-up necklaces for this purpose. At Christmas, you could place colored baubles inside the bowl.
  • Submerge real or artificial flowers in the bowl. If need be weigh them down. I have used both curtain weights and fishing weights to help keep the flowers immersed.
  • Don't limit yourself to submerging plants, place items related to the subject of your party in the bowl or vase.
  • Place a few drops of food coloring in the water and then float your white candles on the top.

Other Floating Candle Tips

Flower shaped floating candles look really effective floating in a pool or on a pond and could add that final touch to your outdoor decorations. If using the candles in a pool area you'll probably need to weight the candles. I suggest using lengths of fishing line and a fishing weight or maybe a balloon containing sand to keep the candles from continually moving across the pool.

Floating candles work really well for themed candles such as Halloween candles too. I made a mummy candle and used a floating candle in the vase. By adjusting the level of the water in the container I was able to obtain different lighting effects in the mummy.

Lastly, if you haven't had time to make any floating candles.

If you have some tea light candles available, simply remove the tea light from its metal holder and turn it upside down. You should see a metal sustainer or tab holding the wick in place. To be completely sure water does not penetrate to your wick you will need to cover the base of the tea light, including the metal tab or sustainer, with melted wax.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

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    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I love your floating candle ideas. So much versatility could be incorporated with these candles. Thanks for the inspirations!

    • Ruth Denton profile imageAUTHOR

      Ruth Denton 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Have fun creating Ingenira, I find floating candles can create the coolest centerpieces.

    • Ingenira profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, this is super cool idea ! I must try it in the next party.


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