How to Make Floating Candles
Part II

I thought I’d give you just a quick and easy way to create some floating candles this weekend.  A little project that has immense reward with very little effort.  Almost none in fact.

Something even easier than what I showed you yesterday with How to Make Floating Candles Part I.

All you need are tea lights, which I’m sure 90% of you have right now, and one little tip.


How to make a floating candle out of a tea light.

Take your tea light.

Pop it out of the tin cup and flip the candle over.



Light another candle.  You can use any candle at all.



The important tip!

Drip some wax over the base of the tea light, covering the  metal thingamabob holding the wick.

This seals the candle and stops it from taking in any water (which would put it out).

Do NOT remove the metal thingamabob from the bottom of the candle.  It helps to keep the wick upright which therefore helps keep the candle lit.  Just drip the wax right over it.



Stick your candles in a bowl and admire.



When they’re prepped like this, the candles will stay lit for at least 2 hours.



If you don’t use this little tip and you just stick the tea light in the water without sealing it, they’ll go out in about 15 minutes.


There’s something very calming about candles.   Plus they make very beautiful lighting that enhances everything (and everyone) around their glow.

Have a good weekend!


  1. Christine Hamlet says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for posting this great “how to” tip. I wanted floating candles for table centerpieces for my husband’s 60th birthday party. I did a test-run with small and large tea candles. The smaller tea lights just don’t have the burn capacity of the big ones – and I wanted a long burn. My test run yield result of 4 hours for the large tea light (bought at IKEA). I wasn’t thrilled with the adhesion of the newly applied candlestick wax to the tea candle (there was a thin gap between the original and the applied layers) – so I decided to try a slight variation. I took 2 tea lights from the same bunch of candles I wanted to float. I melted the wax into a hot liquid in a pan on the stove and carefully poured the hot wax onto the bottom of all the tea lights a the same time. Note of Caution: Be careful not to overfill the backside. If the melted wax drips down the candle, it can create a mess on the wick side (the side that shows when it’s floating). Pan melted wax was MUCH faster than the candle drip approach – and the result yielded much better adhesion than my test run. Result from the party – 5.5 hour burn time (compared to my candlestick text run result of 4 hours). AMAZING. Thanks again for this awesome post. It continues to help people like me – long after you posted it.

  2. Tina Waddoups says:

    Your blog always makes me grin and snicker. Thanks

  3. Jasmine says:

    This might seem silly, but would this work to float on top of vegetable oil? Seems like a potentially very flammable situation, but I would be quite please if it works…

  4. Angelica says:

    I didn’t have tea lights but I had votives candles. They worked beautifully! Walmart had 16 for 2 bucks hard to pass that deal up. Thanks

  5. DianaW says:

    What a great idea! Simple and beautiful. And yes,the tip is to drip some wax “to cover the metal thingamabob holding the wick”. Thank you I now have many “floating candles”.

  6. Charity Coselmon says:

    Hey there! This comment is for Karen or anyone who can answer it. How long do these little makeshift floating candles burn? Wanting to use them for m wedding reception so I don’t have to buy floating candles. I’m just wondering how long theyll last?? Anyone??? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charity – It actually says in the post that they’ll last around 2 hours. And I imagine the bigger the tea light you use (some are bigger than others) the longer burn time you’ll have. ~ karen!

  7. Sarah -IttyBittyCelticWitch says:

    Thanks, for sharing! Super useful info πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Well if you think this is super useful, wait’ll you get to my post on how to cure a yeast infection, lol. Now *that’s* useful! πŸ™‚ ~ karen

  8. sonia says:

    Good thing I found your article!
    I was scratching my head trying to figure out why the tealights for my wedding centerpieces were going out in a matter of minutes when they should be lasting at least 2-3 hrs.
    I thought I had to spend extra money to go and buy floating candles.
    Thank you!

  9. gary says:

    Does the wax get into the water? Sometime to “top it off” would be a beautiful bata fish in the bowl with thecandles? Do Any one else think that would be pretty

  10. wIN says:

    Hi Karen,
    after reading the first part of your tutorial, I got a tealight and put it in a wineglass of water-left the little tin thing on, and, voila! it floats!
    Yesterday I ran all over town looking for floating candles and finally found some – 6 for 7 bucks. lit it last night and it burned for about a half an hour then got water in the little well in the top and that was it. Tried it again this morning and the same thing happened. I have a gazillion tealights so now I have a gazillion floating tealights. Who knew?

  11. Kristy says:

    Oh my goodness!! This is fantastic. Thank you.

  12. Diane says:

    You, madam, are incredible. Do you know that you just saved my event planning committee a TON of money with this tip?
    We can put the savings to terrific use.

    THANK YOU πŸ™‚

  13. Molly says:

    Just saw this and wondered, would this work as well with the long-life tealights that are a little bigger?

  14. Cat says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome!! I just tried your tip for my wedding centerpieces – totally beats paying $12 for 6 floating candles! You rock!!

  15. Jed says:

    This is genius! Of course, I won’t be using the candles in a bowl so much as in a lake, but thanks! This is just the information I needed.

  16. Cathy says:

    Hi again,
    For getting wax out of its container, put the container with the wax in the freezer and, once frozen, the wax will slide right out. Use this all the time. Don’t really know how long to leave it though as I usually forget it until the next time I need something from the freezer. Just keep checking it if you do remember. This way there’s no chance of a glass container cracking in the heat.

  17. Cathy says:

    Have burned many tealights as floaters but never tried the sealing for the bottom. Great idea!
    You can also make floaters with the tealights in their little cups. I prefer the look of using the clear plastic cups or glass cups. Try to be gentle while setting them on the water. I usually end up getting water on the top and then can’t get them lit. Perseverance does work though!

  18. Amazing Great photography – these look like the Floating Candles…. wow!

  19. Kourtney says:

    I just found this on Google today. THANK YOU! I live in a small place and cannot find floating candles ANYWHERE for my wedding in 17 days! Quick question though, did you try the freezer/fridge thing, and how did it work if you did? Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Kourtney – I did try it, and in my experience it didn’t make any difference with these candles. Keep in mind for your wedding, these candles won’t last the whole night. Of course, the bigger the candle, the longer it’ll last but these which are fairly small shouldn’t be lit until the last second! Congratulations! ~ karen

  20. bex says:

    Id like to make a suggestion (if i may..)
    The other day I was in our cheapie shop and stood staring blankly at the tealight candles. I was sure I wanted them for something… that was a week ago πŸ™‚
    Its dawned on me.. I wanted them to try this! So was wondering .. is it possible for you to make your site mobile friendly so that I can look at it for ideas whilst in the cheap cheap shop?

    • Karen says:

      Bex – I believe so. I tried it once before but I actually didn’t like the look of it. I’ll give it another shot just for you and your Dollar Store shopping, though. πŸ™‚ ~ karen

  21. Kelly Kline says:

    Karen, LOVE it, I and II!! Thanks so much!!

  22. Jennifer says:

    I’ve done that myself with the tea lights, but I hadn’t thought to seal the bottoms. πŸ™‚ Thanks for a very helpful/great tip!

    • Karen says:

      No problem! You’ll find they last quite a bit longer. Not as long as they normally would, but longer than if you just plunked them in water w/out sealing the bottom. ~ k!

  23. Jessy says:

    Genius! I’m doing this right now!

  24. Bowls represent the womb y’know – a girl can’t have too many of them.

    Don’t know what the candles signify.

    • Karen says:

      Tricia – I imagine they represent setting yourself on fire when you go to the doctor and find out you have multiple wombs. ~ karen

  25. I would like to book a room at your house for the weekend please πŸ™‚ The serenity is beckoning me! Love the tip, I’ll be playing with tea lights this weekend.

  26. Katy says:

    Love candles (and bowls of course!) but just can’t have naked flames with a couple of Newfoundland dogs frolicking about with giant flappy (and flammable) tails! Plus any bowl of water would soon end up on the floor after a good slurpy drink (the dogs again… not me.)

  27. I’ll forgive the Paddy’s Day thing, Karen, but only cos of the green soup, and this most brillant tip!
    I was wondering yesterday when I read your post f this would work, you reading my mind??
    If I’d known yesterday, I could have floated green, white and gold candles, that would be cool!! But today, just white!
    Have a fab weekend!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mimi! (wasn’t St. Patrick from Wales, anyway?) Seems like some sort of coverup going on. πŸ™‚ ~ karen

      • Pam'a says:

        He was indeed from Wales, and wasn’t associated with the color green until the rest of the world got ahold of him.

  28. sharon says:

    OMG! I just thought of something else, when do you cover their bottoms with hot wax?

  29. sharon says:

    I am still trying to figure out why anyone would want to float guests in the toilet bowl. Also, at what point do you light them?

  30. I love this idea! I’ve got a ton of those little white tea lights! Immensely cheaper than buying fancified floating candles, especially for an event. Kudos.

    Oooh! What if you joined (with melted wax) three tealights together to make a triangular floating candle?? Gonna have to try it.

  31. magali says:

    I am surprised you did not even mention St. Patrick’s day yesterday. It seems very un-Karen like. You better not skip over Easter, one of my neighbors has a beautiful Easter wreath on their door already and it made me excited for what you’ll show us!

    • Karen says:

      Magali – At the risk of bringing the wrath of all things Irish down on me … I’m not very into St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t drink and I look terrible in green. πŸ™ I *did* however make broccoli soup for dinner if that counts. I’m also not HUGE on Easter decorating but I’ll definitely be doing something for it! ~ karen

  32. Lesley H says:

    Now this I think I can (and will) manage for the weekend. Perhaps you have an answer to the dilemna I have with floating candles – I love them but the kitties think I’ve just given them a pretty new water dish until *sizzle* there goes a whisker! Any tips for that????

    • Jane says:

      Funny, I’ve never met a cat yet that will allow itself to get burnt.

      • CJ says:

        Feline version of a heat seeking missile lives here…turn to drain the pasta in the sink and guess who’s warming her belly over the flames from the gas stove top? Singed whiskers and human heart palpitations later and candles are only lit in very deep hurricane vases – you can float them in there too though so still pretty.

      • Leigh says:

        I’ve had a cat set his pantaloons on fire when I left pillar candles burning on the coffee table. Thankfully, I got him extinguished before he even knew he was aflame! We don’t burn candles in the house anymore πŸ™

        PS – Cat’s name was Crackhead. Seriously.

  33. amyjk says:

    great tips, karen.

    if you need the candles to last even longer, pop them in the freezer for a few hours. that would extend their burn time for say, a party or something. that is, if you ever let guests into your house πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Amyjk – I’ve heard that about freezing candles, but I’ve never actually done it. Perhaps I’ll do an experiment this weekend! Thx. ~ karen

      • CJ says:

        Excellent – I’ve always wanted to know if it does actually make a difference. I’ve also heard that it can make candles crack but maybe this depends on the kind of candle?

        Oh and I’ve heard that just refriferating is as good as freezing – who knows? Hopefully you will after the weekend!

  34. Kim says:

    Awesome! What a great idea! How do you manage to think up a new idea every day? I am in awe!

  35. Liz S. says:

    For Christmas my aunt gave all of us girls two big packs of nicely scented tea lights and nothing to put them in. I’ve been dropping them down into jar candles that have burned down too low. Now I have a new use for them…. as soon as I get a pretty bowl. Yard sale anyone?

  36. Jennifer says:

    Genius, Karen — so glad to know about this! I have several of those bags of 50 votives from IKEA hanging around. Think I’ll try it today, in fact.

    This also gives me an idea for a cool, arty (expensive!) salad bowl I got for my wedding but have never used because it’s blue. As a general rule, I don’t do blue in my house — but with water and (free!) floating candles in it, just might work…

  37. Jo says:

    I like this tip. I bought some floating flower candles from Dollarama and they went out in about ten minutes – booo! I will try this instead.

    • Karen says:

      Jo – I know those candles! I saw them at Dollarama the other day and I remember thinking … Humph. Those’d go out in about 5 minutes. So actually you did twice as well as I thought you would with them! ~ karen

  38. CJ says:

    Another use for tealight candles and a tip for the people who don’t like to burn their beautiful pillar candles – burn them just enough to create a well large enough to pop in a tea light candle.

  39. Carol-Anne says:

    Your so technical — thingamabob!

  40. sandi says:

    how confused would guests be if you floated them in the toilet bowl? Just sayin’…

    • Karen says:

      Sandi – It’s *me* who would be confused if there were guests in my house. Who let them in??? ~ karen

    • Julie shinnick says:

      oh sandi, love the way you think!
      I have fake redback spiders hanging from my ceiling in the main loo, which I have sometimes ‘forgotten’ to tell visitors about…..
      yep visitors are *welcome* here too!

    • Janis says:

      I know I am about a year late on this. but wouldn’t this be a great idea for potty training a little boy!!!

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        And I’m 3 years later . . . it cracked me up big time! OK Honey, try and put out the fire . . . good job!! From another Janice, spelled the right way, hah!

      • Jes says:

        I was actually potty trained this way with floating candles. Fireman has to put out the fire.

  41. Nicole says:

    ps: according to a dictionary of candle terms (pps: WHY does such a thing exist??) the thingamabobs are called “wick tabs.” I prefer thingamabob.

  42. Adrienne Audrey says:

    I have this fear of burning the house down by accident with an unattended candle (almost done it a few times !) Floating the candles in water would make it almost impossible to accidentally burn the house down!

  43. Rebecca says:

    Couldn’t you just smash it? Lol

  44. Pati says:

    Very pretty!..I haven’t been in a very floaty candle kind of mood lately…but thanks Karen it is a great tip and I too Love your bowl:)

  45. Paula says:

    I was thinking the same, how can I ever accomplish this without that bowl? Its a beauty for sure! Although am contemplating putting some of these in the hot tub.. now how pretty would that be!

    Thanks Karen, Have a great weekend!

  46. Shauna says:

    That bowl right there is worth the unhealthy obsession!! Man I love that bowl! Now… to float me some candles…. well after I run out and buy a new bowl of course!

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