DIY Floating Holiday Candles

Candlelight definitely sets the mood for the holidays, and these candles floating on a bed of submerged wintery flowers and shrubs take it to the next level. Three levels, in fact, as glass vases of different heights create a candle arrangement that's both elegant and cheerful. These floating candles make a lovely centerpiece when displayed as a set, but you can also scatter them around the room to spread the joy.

floating candles
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Things You'll Need

  • 3 clear glass cylinder vases/candleholders

  • Glass beads

  • Artificial or fresh greenery

  • Wire cutters

  • Artificial or fresh flowers

  • Water

  • Floating candles

materials
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 1: Gather Your Glassware

To create a floating candle arrangement, you'll want three cylindrical glass containers in different heights. The ones used in this example are 7.5 inches, 8.5 inches and 10 inches. The opening should be slightly larger than the diameter of the floating candles, which in our case is 3 inches in diameter.

glassware
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 2: Select Your Flowers and Shrubs

The main decision to make in terms of flowers and shrubs is whether to use fresh or artificial ones. Fresh are fine as long as the petals are hardy and will hold their shape in the water. Fresh flowers start decomposing in water almost immediately, however, so they are most appropriate for same day events. We've chosen artificial flowers and shrubs because they remain intact when submerged. Do avoid artificial flowers decorated with glitter or fake snow, as these elements will come off and muck up your water. We also went with a monochromatic color palette of red for the holidays, but are including different sizes and textures.

flowers
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 3: Insert Glass Beads

Place 1-2 inches of glass beads at the bottom of each glass cylinder. Do this slowly and carefully, as you don't want the glass beads to go down too forcefully and break the container. The glass beads are here for more than decorative purposes. They add weight to the bottom to keep the tall candleholders from tipping over. They also provide a place to tuck in floral and shrub stems.

glass beads
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 4: Add Shrubs

Using wire cutters, cut a piece of greenery that will fit inside the glass container without going over the rim.

wire cutters
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Place the shrub inside the container, tucking the end into the glass beads to hold it in place.

shrub
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Add any other elements that can be tucked into the beads, like a stem of red berries.

berries
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 5: Add Flowers

Cut the flower blooms with wire cutters. If you're using fresh flowers, regular floral shears will work just fine.

flowers
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Position the flowers inside the container so that they face outward. Resist the temptation to overfill the container. The water will magnify the contents, so a little goes a long way. The floating candles look best when you can actually see some water rather than just flowers and shrubs.

add flowers
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 6: Fill with Water

Pour water into the glass cylinder up to about one inch below the rim. At this point, you can look to see if you are happy with the amount and placement of the flowers, and make adjustments accordingly.

water
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Step 7: Add the Candle

Place the floating candle on the water. Make sure you select a candle that is designed to float on water. These types of candles are available in home decor and crafts stores. The candle should be level on the water. If it is tilted because a flower is in the way, adjust or remove the flower until the candle is level.

candle
(Image: Jonathan Fong)

Warning

Never leave a burning candle unattended.

While these floating candles are perfect for the holidays, you can adapt the idea for any time of year by changing the color and type of filler you place in the glass containers.

floating holiday candles
(Image: Jonathan Fong)
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