Floating Taper Candles

I think it’s fair to say that I have a “thing” for candles.  I like em.  I like lighting them, looking at them, smelling them.  I like em.  You know those people who hoard candles and stick them in every possible cupboard and drawer?  I’m not one of those people.  I burn my candles.  Even the ones you apparently aren’t supposed to burn because they’re in the shape of something and once you burn them, they turn into a blobby  mess that doesn’t look like whatever it was it was supposed to look like anymore.  Understand?  Doesn’t matter.  The point is, I like candles.

A few months ago, many months ago now that I think about it, I showed you how to make your own  floating candles.  Floating candles are incredibly expensive.  Apparently the only thing rarer than a floating candle are superpowers.

At the time I was doing the tutorial on floating tea lights, I started working on another kind of floating light.  I thought, how brilliant and beautiful and unexpected would it be to have floating taper candles?  Very.  Very brilliant and beautiful indeed.
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When you drop a taper candle into a vase of water it (being made of wax) tries to float and because it’s bum end has more wax (which wants to float), the bum end tries to float up to the top.  So that’s no good.  To remedy this you have to weigh the bottom of the taper candle down.   And this … is how you do it.

You need candles, washers, and thumbtacks.
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Just scrape the bottom of your candle so it’s perfectly flat on the bottom of it isn’t already. Then place your washer on it and secure it with the thumbtack. You only get one shot at getting it centred so be precise. Fill your vase with water and drop the candle in. Inevitably it will still be wonky. Lift it out of the water and slide the washer a bit to change the balance. Stick the candle in the water again. This may take as many as 10 tries to get the candle perfectly balanced. But … it’s worth it because look how beautiful!

Tapers 1

Cough. Ahem. Cough. So … this is the point where I tell you the candles got too close to the edge of my glass vase and cracked it. It was that unmistakable sound of C-r-A-C-kkk! I knew what had happened even though I was in the other room. So … this experiment is kind of a bust. Don’t ever try to do this in fact.

Why post it then? So you know not everything I do works out perfectly. And not everything you do will work out perfectly.

However, I should add that to remedy this, all you would have to do is buy washers that are bigger than the base of the candle. That way they’d act like a bumper, stopping the candle from floating right up to the edge of the vase. I will, in the future, buy larger washers and confirm that my theory of bumper candles is true. I believe it is.

But I also believe in superpowers.


  1. Annie says:

    What about trying a vase with slightly wider opening at the top? the flame shouldnt be able to reach the glass then. i have a floating tealight vase that is like that, the effect is still beautiful.

  2. Mandi says:

    I love this idea. Thx! I can’t wait to try this out. Just wanted to make a mention about Pyrex. The formula was changed over recent years. The original formula was made so the glass dish could go from Freezer to Oven. If you are looking for the good pyrex, you will need to find dishes older then 1980. Anyhoo, love your site! 🙂

  3. Summer says:

    I love your website, I’ve never laughed so hard all while learning about crafts

  4. Debbie says:

    Why not try flower frogs on the bottom of the candles. The frogs come in different sizes. Insert the bottom of the candle into the frog “spikes” . The weight of the frog keeps the candle from floating and the spikes keep it stable and upright in the container.
    Flower frogs can be bought at craft stores or floral supply stores.

  5. leslie says:


    Thanks for some cool ideas and your wonky humor!! I was thinking (yikes!) that maybe if you put a bead of clear silicone around the vase, a couple of inches under the water surface, it would act as an (almost) invisible bumper. The best solution I heard here so far was the shorter vase inside the larger vase and fill the larger vase with water over the top of the shorter one. In fact, you can just get rid of all the other posts and stick with this one, right? No? Oh well…

    Anyway, thank you and I look forward to more ideas and more posts, etc.

  6. Quinn says:

    I absolutely love this. I was looking through my iPod and I found it bookmarked!!! So doing this in time for the holidays!!!

  7. Mel says:

    I really want to do this. It looks like it belongs at Hogwarts. Like magic. Have you come up with a tested solution? *Fingers crossed*

  8. jennifer says:

    Maybe you could use clear fishing line and a weight at the bottom Covered with rocks or gems? That may work

  9. Jewelie says:

    Sarah Neeley! Yes…your brilliant idea works. Then I dropped black rocks in between the outside cylinder and the inside cylinder—just a few so it masks the interior cylinder. I tried floating flowers in the water too—but it just looks like I’m trying too hard. I will burn this little get-up tonight to see how LONG it lasts because I need 12 of them for a party Saturday night. I also tried three different candles to see which works best. Dang! I can’t seem to post a picture here.

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