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Winter Centerpiece with Twigs and Floating Candles

Winter centerpiece at CreatingThisLife.com

Note: I get lots of questions about how to keep the twigs from floating in these clear vases. The key is to choose little “branches” instead of individual sticks. If the branches are just a bit wider than the vase they should stay put nicely.

Recently I’ve made a habit of going out to the yard and finding things to drag back inside and – because of that – I’ve started to keep a pair of gardening clippers in one of the drawers in my kitchen.

What I do is really more foraging than gardening, but foraging clippers just doesn’t have quite the ring to it, so gardening clippers it is.

Last fall I was amazed at the number of things I found in the yard to put in a fall floral arrangement.

Fall Yard Clippings Arrangement at CreatingThisLife

And at Christmas I made good use of a boxwood we have growing along our tree line to dress up some ornaments on a plate…

boxwood and ornaments centerpiece…and also to fluff up the garland.

Christmas garland after

Last weekend found me back out in the yard –  in freezing temps no less – all to clip some bare branches from a bush.

It sounds like I’ve lost my mind and maybe I have. The neighbor’s dog certainly thought so as he stood barking at me from his yard.

But I was having some of Grant’s friends and their moms over after our last ever Mother-Son Dance at the high school, and I wanted to put together a super simple centerpiece for the dining room table where the moms gathered to drink wine and talk about how much our boys drive us crazy and how much we’re going to miss them when they’re gone, because isn’t that what moms do? (The boys were out in the family room watching football by the way; no centerpiece required for that.)

I did this same centerpiece  – which I saw on Pinterest – for my book club last year and it looked like this.

Floating Candle Trio

The twigs I clipped this year were thorny, which I thought ended up looking more interesting.

Floating candle with twigs

And since I could also only find two of the the three vases, I put them on either side of the boxwood/white ornament centerpiece from above.

Dining room with winter centerpiece

Because – don’t judge! – as of last Saturday, the house was still decorated for Christmas.

It’s all down now, except I left the boxwood and white ornaments on the table, because they seem kind of winter-y to me and the house just looks so bare after Christmas.

Winter Centerpiece

And that’s one reason I like leaving these little floating candles and twigs out in the winter too. They’re pretty, but bare – just the way winter can be – and, unlike flowers, they’ll last a long time.

I use vases like these for this centerpiece (and for a lot of other stuff too). The floating candles are these. (Those are my Amazon affiliate links, by the way, which means if you happen to click on them and order something from Amazon, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.)

I hope that you’re warm, wherever you are.

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  1. I love it! What a cute idea and I think it’s great that you can find bits and pieces from the yard to include in your decorating projects. Ahh my shrubs are tied up and burlapped for the winter so I can’t go out to do that kind of foraging! Stay warm!

    1. I’ve never heard of tying up shrubs and burlaping them, Liz. I’m guessing you live in a very cold climate?

  2. Hi Julie,
    I’m having the same “issue” here!
    We (Italians) enjoy our holiday decorations till January 6th, so I only started yesterday putting away everything “Christmas-ish” and I don’t recognize my home anymore!
    Since I decorate a lot for Jesus’ birthday, every room looks pretty bare, now! 😉
    And it seems I never remember what each room used to look like BEFORE Christmas, so I spent at least one week to make every room “recognizable” by me when I get home (lol) and I always look for some new ideas to make them still “winter-y” (even though we are having unreasonable warm temps here!) but not “Christmas-ish” anymore and not yet “spring-ish”, so I have to say your centerpiece is perfect and adorable!
    And romantic, too! Love it! ♥
    ~Hugs to you~

    1. Thank you Cecilia. I have a dear friend who lives in France and she also reminded me that it wasn’t yet Epiphany when I wrote that so you Europeans are making me feel better. Enjoy those warm temps.

  3. I really like the table, it’s simple and classic and beautiful.


    1. I love simple and classic, Christine. Thanks for the nice comment.

  4. love the look and yes so winter y perfect for january

  5. Love the twigs in the glasses — and I can even imagine spray painting them white, silver or gold as well for a totally different look.

    On another note, are those wine glasses in your chandy in the next to last picture? I searched your blog to see if I could find more info, but alas…. (though did find lots more posts to tickle my fancy!)

    1. Sharon, yes they are. The light fixture is from Pottery Barn and you hang your own stemware in it. My wedding crystal was mostly sitting in a cupboard unused so I took this opportunity to see it every day. We love the fixture and it gets lots of comments.

  6. Alyssa Pontine says:

    Did you have any trouble with the water getting dirty from the twigs or did you do anything to prevent it? I am looking to do these as a wedding centerpiece!

    1. Hi Alyssa. I did not have that problem and I did not do anything to prevent it. Happy wedding planning!

  7. Hi Julie, I am thinking of doing this for my fall wedding. Did you find that the twigs were floating? If so how did you accommodate this?

    1. Hi Kalie. The twigs did not float for me, but I’ve been asked that by others. I try to make the twig branch just a bit wider than the vase so it stays put. Does that make sense? The candle also helps hold it down. Good luck! And congratulations!

  8. Good afternoon,
    I absolutely love the idea of the twigs submerged in water vases with floating candle 🙂
    How do you keep the twigs down so they don’t rise up to the top? Do they have weights at the bottom of the stem?
    Thanks so much, Amelia.

    1. Amelia, see the comment above yours.

  9. Savanah moose says:

    Someone please help! How do i make the sticks sink. Im doing this for my wedding and the sticks keep rising and causing my floating candles to move to the side of the glass

  10. Maria Arroyo says:

    I love the idea of the twigs and will use them for my wedding. Are the twigs natural or did you buy them at a craft store?if so what kind are they?
    Thank you!

    1. Maria, they are just sticks from my yard. 🙂

  11. Hi Julie, just ran across this floating candle display and I love it. A couple of questions though. How did you get the sticks to stay on bottom and in the tall glass why does it look like 2 different liquids? I try ed it and the candle fits snug but my sticks go everywhere. Lol
    Please help I am trying to use this idea at a get together. Thanks

    1. Hi Lisa. The way to keep them from floating are to use little “branches” and not single sticks. Choose branches that are a bit wider than the vase and they will stay put. And there’s only water in these vases so if it looks like two different liquids that’s just an optical illusion. Good luck!

      1. Thank you so much Julie. I love these and will definitely be putting into use.

  12. Hi Julie,

    I purchased twigs for the centerpieces for my fall wedding. They branches and twigs are pretty brittle. I was thinking of soaking them in the bathtub a day before the wedding. Any thoughts? I just don’t want them breaking into too small of pieces to be useful. Thank you!

    1. Oooh…I don’t know. Wish I could be more helpful! Could you try one out and see how it goes? I’ve only ever used twigs from my yard and the stakes were much lower than for a wedding! I would suggest some trial runs both ways. Good luck! And congratulations!

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