How to make a Christmas candle centrepiece

The Christmas tree is up, the festive houseplants are blooming, and all you need now is a centrepiece to give your dining table some wow factor.

Alex Cawley, plant area manager at Squire’s Garden Centres, offers the following guide to help you make a gorgeous centrepiece using natural foliage and other garden materials…

What you’ll need

Select what you'll add to your centrepiece (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Select your centrepiece components

To make the job easier, you can buy ready-made pine wreaths which will form the circular base for your candle centrepiece.

Start with a blank canvas (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Start with a blank canvas

Alternatively, buy a wire frame and fill it with moss (which you can buy from a garden centre or lift from your own lawn), wrapping florists’ wire around the frame to secure the moss, then add Christmas tree or other clippings (all facing in the same direction) to create the base for your decoration.

Use a pair of needle nose pliers to help you secure small decorations to the wire frame.

Use real foliage

Use a mixture of leaves and berries (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Use a mixture of leaves and berries

Take a walk around your garden to find berries, leaves and flowers to add to your natural wreath.

Ideal specimens include pyracantha, which often has berries on it, holly, the white foliage of eucalyptus, conifers, wax leaf privet and the winter flowers of viburnum. If the weather has been mild, you can use tight clumps of black berries from ivy.

If you have to trim your Christmas tree, use offcuts from your Nordmann or Noble to create the frame or help fill in the gaps. Pine cones you may have gathered from a country walk can also be used, or you can buy them from garden centres.

Add other natural-looking additions

Think about mixing pops of colour (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Think about mixing pops of colour

Other items you may want to use include dried orange circles – which you can make yourself by cutting the orange into slices then placing them on a tray in a barely warm oven for a few hours, until they are dried but not completely shrivelled.

You can buy cinnamon sticks, lotus flower heads, artificial berries and ribbon in neutral colours if going for a more natural look, with a simple church candle for the centrepiece; this can be placed on a glass candle holder, which will be hidden by the foliage of the centrepiece.

Odd numbers are best

Use ornaments in threes (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Use ornaments in threes

Your centrepiece needs to be well balanced, so position the items at equal distances from each other and play around with them before deciding where to secure them. Odd numbers always work better, so do combinations of threes or fives for the best effect.

Avoid big bows on flat centrepieces as they take the emphasis away from the rest of the decoration, unlike a wreath on a front door, where a big bow placed on the top can be the focal point and brings the whole thing together.

Play with the order

Try a rough outline before attaching ornaments (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Try a rough outline before attaching ornaments

Start with the largest items, such as pine cones. It you want some focal points, wire together a lotus flower, cinnamon sticks and an orange slice to create a single addition.

Wire pieces together for extra interest (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Wire pieces together for extra interest

Use a long piece of wire to secure the items, and then push the wire through and fold it around the frame, making sure you fold the wire back up into the frame so you don’t scratch your table.

Secure items with wire around the base (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Secure items with wire around the base (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

If you are using natural flowers such as white viburnum, make sure the stalk is long enough to secure to the wreath easily. If you need to make the cutting smaller, snip off a little at a time, as you don’t want to cut off so much that it becomes unmanageable.

Gold wire adds extra shine (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Gold wire adds extra shine

A novel idea is to use thin gold florists’ wire all the way up to the flower, which not only gives it a little shine but makes the flower stem more bendable.

Keep it fresh

Add real plants to a centrepiece (Hannah Stephenson/PA)

Add real plants to a centrepiece

Mist the centrepiece regularly to keep the leaves looking their best throughout the festive season. If some of the flowers fade before Christmas, replace them with new ones just before the big day.

While some people use hairspray to keep indoor decorations in place and to help retain their shine, don’t do that with a candle centrepiece, as hairspray can be very flammable.


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29th Nov 2017
Thanks for voting!
A few years ago my wife gathered some greenery to make a table centrepiece - she's quite artistic. During the meal, with a cathedral candle alight in the middle, it surely graced the table.

However, after dinner the ten of us had had quite enough to eat, and drink, and left the room for a couple of less strenuous hours.

Sometime later I smelt pine smoke and raced to the dinner table. The centre piece was alight, had burned through a superb damask table cloth and was eating into the dining table.

Because of the volume of outer clothing that winter we'd put a clothes rail at the back of the dining room. I instinctively reached for something to dowse the fire but, very sadly, it too caught light.

Later, once matters were under control my step daughter in law said, 'that jacket was my husbands Christmas present to me. Thanks for ruining it.'

We've been estranged ever since!
3rd Dec 2019
Thanks for voting!
I’m really sorry to hear of your estrangement with your stepdaughter, have you thought of offering to replace the burnt jacket
It would be sad if the rift wasn’t healed. Best wishes
3rd Dec 2019
Thanks for voting!
Thank you for your comment, Olsen.

It grieves me to report that was but one incident resulting in ruptures in this family. There have been many more.

The chief cause I believe is pride in the next generation. Until they climb down from their pride, their superiority over their mother who has MS there will be no healing for us. The woman whose coat I scorched lost her son to suicide just over a year ago. The root of that? Her pride both she and her son are better than anyone else.

The Bible teaches ... pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

I wish it were otherwise but, whether we like it or not the Bible stands both as the instrument against which we will be judged and the pathway to peace with God.

So many of my stepfamily believe themselves too high to even acknowledge God. But His word stands.

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