What is a Floating Candle?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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A floating candle is a candle which is specifically designed to float while it burns, allowing people to place floating candles in bowls of water and other liquids. A number of companies make floating candles which range in style from plain white egg-shaped candles to ornate candles which have been designed to look and smell like flowers. Many home design stores carry floating candles, and they are also available through a number of Internet retailers who specialize in candles.

A typical floating candle sits low in the water as it burns, but it will not tip over or become waterlogged. The candle only goes out when the flame has burned all the way through the wick, just like a normal candle. Many floating candles have a broad, splayed design to encourage them to float without tipping or sagging on one side or another, and some are made from ecologically sound materials which emit minimal particulates and other substances.

One classic use of the floating candle is in a table centerpiece. A centerpiece can take the form of a large bowl or dish filled with water and floating candles along with accents like small flowers. Some people find such centerpieces to be ethereal and quite pretty, with the light from the candles reflecting from the water and the sides of the bowl.


A floating candle can also be used in a fountain, swimming pool, bathtub, or hot tub, although in an environment where people are going to be sharing the water with the candles, people should be careful to avoid burns. In homes with large pools and ponds, floating candles can turn a garden or a lounge area in a wonderland at night, which can be nice for events and parties.

Some companies make floating candle holders, which can hold any sort of candle. If you want a floating candle effect and you do not have a specially designed holder to float the candle in, make sure to use a candle which is labeled as a floating candle, to ensure that the candle will hold up as it burns down.

As with any candles, floating candles can also pose a fire hazard. If you use floating candles in a centerpiece, make sure to keep napkins, floral displays, and other flammable items well clear of the centerpiece, and keep the centerpiece out of reach of sleeves and flowing hair styles. Also remember to fully extinguish the candles at the end of the evening, and keep in mind that many are designed to resist some splashing, so be sure that the flame is truly out.


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