making fall centerpieces

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Making fall centerpieces often includes inserting taper or pillar candles.  Candles are a popular choice for many Thanksgiving, wedding and other special events.  Professional florist's use pre-made stakes or picks to hold the candles firmly in place.

(Note:  always transport your candle centerpieces WITHOUT the candle and insert them once you get to your destination.)

If you don't want to use candle stakes, you can keep candles stabilized in a centerpiece.  One of the quickest is to use wooden picks and waterproof tape to create an anchor point at the bottom of the candle to insert into the wet foam.  The wooden picks swell and tighten in water to keep the candle in place.  Once the centerpiece is on the table and you've inserted the candle, you can squirt some Floralock to keep the candle locked to the wet foam.

There are various styles of plastic anchors as shown below in the photo below that are made for both taper candles and pillar candles.

Insert the stake deeply into the saturated florist foam brick.  

Most holders have grooved edges to grip the candle tighter.  You may have to gently force the candle down into the holder.  This will make marks on the bottom of the candles.

I usually add a piece of florist clay to the stake to ensure the candle stays in place.

Place a small piece of florist clay on the bottom of the holder.  You can line around the perimeter of the stake if the candle diameter is slightly smaller than the standard 3".

For demonstration purposes, I'm placing the candle in the arrangement now.  In reality, I would wait until the arrangement was delivered to the venue before placing the candles in the flowers.

Be sure to look at your candle from the side and see that it is standing straight and tall.  This is more noticeable with tapers than with pillars.  If crooked, your foam surface may not be level.  You may have to compensate by pushing one side or the other of the pick deeper into the foam.

Floral designing is all about attention to details.  Notice how the edges of the foam extend beyond the pillar candle stake.  If it didn't, you would have a hard time inserting flowers straight up they way they need to be in order to conceal the stake.

If your pillar candle is very tall, you may want to have extra security by taping the holder into place with waterproof florist tape.

I'm going to green in this piece starting with a standard fern used by every flower shop.  Leather leaf fern has a lot of laterals that can be cut off by the piece for use in the centerpiece.

Be sure to cut with a sharp knife rather than tearing off the middle stem.  This sharp cut is easier to insert into the flower foam.

I'm cutting off some single laterals so I can use them around the base of the pillar candle.

Note how I inserted the fern frond deep into the foam at a slight angle INWARDS towards the candle.

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