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Fall and candlelight go together like pumpkin spice lattes and wool sweaters, and this floating candle centerpiece will make you want to curl up and bask in the glow. Here, candles float atop cylindrical vases filled with autumn leaves, flowers, corn and fruit to remind us of fall's abundance. While they're perfect for elegant occasions and Thanksgiving tables, they're easy enough to throw together for last minute gatherings, or even a family viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Things You'll Need
Step 1: Gather Glass Vases
For this centerpiece, you'll need three cylindrical glass vases of different heights. The staggered heights are more pleasing to the eye than vases that are all the same size. Select vases that are narrow, with openings that are just larger than the floating candles, which in our case are three inches in diameter.
Step 2: Incorporate Leaves
Trim a small bunch of fall leaves from a larger bunch using wire cutters. Make sure to include about six inches of the stem. We need the stem to help keep the leaves from floating up in the water.
Position the leaves in one of the vases, bending the stem so it is locked in place against the sides of the cylinder. Turn the vase upside down to make sure the leaves do not move.
Step 3: Add Fall Flowers
Cut a stem of an artificial fall flower with wire cutters, leaving about ten inches of stem. Bend the stem at the bottom to create a hook.
Hook the bent stem of the flower to the stem of the fall leaves. This will keep the flower secured so it doesn't float to the top.
Fluff up the leaves and flower inside the vase. Make sure there are about three to four inches of space below the rim of the vase to allow for water and the floating candle. Now let's start decorating the second vase.
Step 4: Incorporate Grapes
When I was searching for fall elements to place in the vases, the challenge was to find materials that would not float to the top of the water, thereby hitting the floating candle. It's surprising that almost everything floated — nuts, acorns, apples, oranges — even heavy gourds. But I found one thing that stays put instead of floating: grapes. Grapes are associated with a bountiful harvest, and they look beautiful in the vases. Start by placing one artificial fall leaf in the bottom of the vase to anchor the grapes. It's not a grape leaf, but I won't tell.
Rinse a bunch of grapes and place the bunch in the vase on top of the leaf. As with the vase with the fall leaves and flower, make sure there is space above the grapes to allow for water and the floating candle.
Step 5: Incorporate Popcorn Kernels
Another material that doesn't float is popcorn, which is what we'll use for the third vase. Popcorn's warm color lends itself well to this fall centerpiece, and it's an unexpected element sure to elicit sighs of appreciation. Rather than just filling the vase with kernels, I decided to use the density of the corn to lock in a leaf on the outer edge. Hold the leaf against the inside of the vase, and pour the corn behind it.
Keep adding kernels until the corn is completely behind the leaf. Again, make sure there is room at the top for water and the floating candle.
Step 6: Fill Vases with Water
Add water to the vases, pouring it slowly to avoid disrupting the contents of each vase. Keep the water line to at least an inch below the rim to allow for the floating candles.
Step 7: Add the Candles
Place a floating candle on the water in each vase. If the candle displaces too much water and the water line gets dangerously close to the rim, remove some of the water to avoid overflow.
The candle should be level on the water. If it's tilted, leaves or other elements are probably in the way. Remove or cut down any material that is blocking the candle from floating in the water.
Enjoy these floating candles throughout the fall, and save the glass vases to create a festive floating candle centerpiece in the winter using holiday elements.
Never leave a burning candle unattended.