Light the Night With a Rustic Candle Centerpiece
Bring some winter enchantment indoors with a centerpiece that will not only impress holiday guests, but also beautifully deck the table all season long.
Nothing says holiday cheer quite like the warm glow of a candle. Capture that cozy charm with a show-stopping log centerpiece that will easily transform your holiday table.
- measuring tape
- chalk marker
- spade bit
- drill bit
- small brad nails
- needle-nose pliers
- taper candles
- hot glue gun + glue (optional)
Choose a Log
When selecting your log, find a piece that not only fits the table well, but also possesses character. The more moss, lichen and mushrooms, the better! And although good color and texture are desirable, it is more important for this project that you find a log with a level side. The log itself will be the base for the centerpiece, so be sure that it will be able to support itself with no possibility of rolling.
Remove any loose bark or dirt from the log. Be sure to clean with care and not brush away any bark or eye-catching texture. Once the necessary cleaning is complete, set your log on a flat surface to determine which side will serve as the top.
With the log resting on a flat surface, measure the length of your log to determine the number and spacing of your candles. For the centerpiece that we created, the length was approximately 30 inches; therefore, we determined that we would use five taper candles total, separating them approximately five inches apart. Our measurement also accounted for space on each end to ensure the candles would not sit on the edges of the log. Mark where you want to drill with a white chalk marker.
Measure the width of your candles to determine the spade bit size you will need. The spade bit should be slightly wider than the base of the candle so it can easily slide into the hole and sit securely. Drill until the spade bit is completely submerged (approximately one and a half inches). Next, select a drill bit that is roughly the size of the brad nail’s head, and drill a one-inch deep hole in the center of each spade-bit hole.
Place the brad nails head first in the small holes you’ve drilled. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, firmly push each nail until secure. If you find that the brad nails are not sturdy, add a dot of hot glue before inserting the nail. Slowly slide the candle onto the brad nail and into the hole. Be careful not to force the candle in too quickly as it may force pieces of the candle apart.
Safety Tip: Rather than allowing candles to burn all the way to the log, we recommend replacing candles once they burn down to approximately four inches long.
Now to add some polish! Add evergreen boughs and seasonal berries to make your stunning centerpiece really shine. And when you're ready to transition to spring, simply trade out the evergreen boughs for fresh eucalyptus or other seasonal greenery.
Oh, (Tiny) Christmas Tree
Boxwood clippings in a white tea cup become a tiny holiday tree. Fill the cup with floral foam and stud with green clippings. Use a hot glue gun to attach silver dragees from your cake-decorating stash. Add sparkle to natural cones and acorns with a thin coat of silver paint.
Classic Silver-and-White Centerpiece
Create this simple, classic centerpiece with dishes and ornaments you have on hand. Top sprigs of fresh greenery with sparkling sliver and white ornaments, trees and mercury glass candle holders. The soup tureen in the center is both beautiful and functional. Photo by Marian Parsons.
Forget the florist this centerpiece starts with evergreen branches you can clip from your yard. Place fresh boughs in a galvanized bucket and swag a wooden bead garland around the greens, then layer homespun items at the base of the vase, like snowflakes, knit "sweater" ornaments, twine-wrapped candles, fresh greens or pinecones.
All That Glitters
Before you take all your old candlestick holders to the thrift store, why not give them a festive update? Janell Beals gives her eclectic collection of wooden candlestick holders a holiday-inspired revamp with gold leaf, making them the ideal tabletop centerpiece or coffee table adornment.
Twinkling candlelight, sparkling crystal and glints of silvered tableware create a warm ambiance at this holiday dinner table. Delicate white blossoms, tall pillars and starched white linen napkins work together to create the appearance of effortless elegance. Photo courtesy of Susan Fredman and Associates Ltd.
Putting together a beautiful holiday centerpiece doesn't have to be difficult or break the bank. This one is made up of a few elements you might even have around the house, like a grapevine wreath form and a glass candleholder.
Make family meals even more fun by adding a unique advent calendar centerpiece to the table. Jessica Wilcox uses a vintage chicken-wire cloche dome as the base for her decorative advent calendar. To make your own, add presents, colorful ornaments and ribbons underneath the dome. On the outside, attach the Christmas countdown tags to represent the number of presents inside. Each day, remove a tag and open a present until Christmas arrives.
Modern Tabletop Tree
We all love decor we can keep from year to year, especially artificial trees that look like the real thing. Unfortunately, artificial trees don't hold their form forever, but here's a tree that will. Using thin wooden rails, a small saw, a glue gun and white paint, Paul Lowe forms a modern miniature holiday tree that's perfect for any sparkling vignette. A glittering star makes the ideal topper.
Ombre Tabletop Trees
Layer shades of same-colored felt to create a modern ombre effect, or use a solid color for a more traditional look. Either way, these eye-catching trees will add a handmade touch to this year's Christmas table. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.
Topiaries don't necessarily have to be made of live greenery. Create one-of-a-kind topiaries from candlesticks, foam floral spheres and faux cranberries. The graphic shape of the sphere, juxtaposed with the texture of the cranberries and sheen of the metallic candlesticks, strikes a perfect design balance.
Layer garland with a collection of colorful ornaments in your favorite tray to create an irresistible holiday centerpiece. Janell Beals dresses up a vintage-inspired porcelain tray with bold accessories and uses a mixture of silver, blue and gold hues for a twist on the traditional red and green.
A Contemporary Tabletop
For a modern look, try unexpected flower arrangements this year. Instead of poinsettias, white hydrangeas and pink carnations can add a lovely and unexpected touch. Use clean white vases to enhance the feeling of a winter wonderland. Styled and photographed by Manvi Drona Hidalgo.
Bring the Beach to Christmas
A centerpiece doesn't have to be a fussy (and expensive) floral arrangement. Fill a large shell, basket or silver bowl with mercury glass ornaments, sprigs of fresh greenery and some loosely-looped lengths of burlap ribbon. An arrangement like this is low, so guests can see over it to converse while eating. Design by Marian Parsons
Several small arrangements can dress up a table filled with food and drink. For this holiday open house, mercury glass footed bowls are filled with silver and gold ornaments. Tall ceramic vases filled with red roses add height and a colorful accent to the green sequined stockings. Design by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo
When buying flowers for a party, sometimes the best place to look is at your local grocery store. An easy way to make everything cohesive is to stick with one type of flower or green. To get this look, pick up two bunches of eucalyptus, which is readily available at any grocery store. Fill an odd number of clear vases with chunky glitter, then add a few sprigs of your chosen flower.
Make Rudolph and his sleigh full of goodies the star of the table with this fun centerpiece decor. Simply print and cut the Rudolph printable graphic and sleigh templates and hot glue them to a circular piece of white cardstock to make them stand up. Embellish with ribbon and cover base with fake snow or shredded coconut for a touch of seasonal sparkle.
Gingerbread House Centerpiece
Turn this season's gingerbread masterpiece into a chic centerpiece for your holiday table. Let the kids help decorate it with candies and printable party circles, then set it in coconut "snow" atop a cake stand.