What are Floating Candles?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Floating candles are candles which are designed to float in water. They are molded with oversized tops and small bottoms so that they will remain stable as they burn, rather than tipping, listing, or inverting themselves. Many candle stores sell floating candles, and they can also be ordered directly from candle manufacturers or made at home, by purchasing block wax, melting it, and pouring it into molds which are suitable for floating candles.

Small, votive candles might be placed to float in water.
Small, votive candles might be placed to float in water.

There are a number of uses for these decorative candles. At outdoor parties with pools, these candles can be scattered across the pool to create an interesting visual effect, and to alert guests to the presence of the water. A floating candle centerpiece can be used at the dinner table, with the candles suspended in a large dish of water, and floating candles can also be added to water features in the garden, large bowls outdoors and around the house, and any other environment where there is water.

One major advantage of these candles is that they carry few safety risks, as long as flammable materials are kept away from the sides of the water so that the candles do not accidentally set something alight if they drift against the edges. When the candles burn down, they eventually sink and extinguish themselves. When materials like flowers are floated along with the candles, these materials are usually too waterlogged to catch fire, making a floating candle arrangement reasonably safe when compared to ordinary displays of candles.

Many floating candles are very small, like tealight candles or small votive candles. It is also possible to purchase floating candle holders which can be used to display tealights or small tapers, along with other types of candles. One issue with these candles is that they can burn out within a few hours, so it is important to keep an eye on the display and refresh it as candles go out.

A variety of wax colors can be used for floating candles. White is classic, and very common, but for themed centerpieces or visual variation, dyed wax candles can be used, and it is also possible to find dipped candles which display a rainbow of colors as they burn down. Scented candles can also be utilized, although they are not recommended for pools or garden water features, since the oils used to create the scent will leach out and make a mess in the water.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

wesley91

@cellmania: My daughter is a girl scout and one of their fundraisers this year was candle sales. They voted to make their own candles. I am including the “recipe” that they used for floating candles.

You need a muffin pan, paraffin wax, color dye, wick, scissors, double boiler, wooden spoons and stearic acid.

Break your paraffin wax into small pieces. Put them in the top of the double boiler and melt them. Stir constantly. You can use a candy thermometer to check the temp. Once it reaches 180 degrees, you can turn off the heat. Add 4 tsp. of stearic acid per pound of wax into the melted wax. Add your favorite color and stir well.

Pour the liquid wax into each individual cup of the muffin pan. Don’t fill them full or they won’t float. Let the wax cool and cut the wicks a half inch longer than the height of your candle. Place the wick in the center of the candle. Let the wax cool until hard and then remove from the pan. You have candles!

Sorry for the long post. Tried to shorten it as much as I could!

CellMania

Does anyone know how to make floating candles?

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