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Fire and Water

This illuminating centerpiece uses two vases -- one placed inside the other -- to create the illusion that a lit candle sits underwater. 




  • Larger glass vase
  • Smaller glass vase
  • Floral adhesive
  • Food coloring


  1. Step 1

    Place a glass vase inside another that is slightly larger (secure them with floral adhesive), and then pour tinted water in between them.

  2. Step 2

    For added light play, make a series of these centerpieces in different shades of the same hue (a few extra drops of food coloring will yield the desired contrast).

Martha Stewart Living, July 2007



Reviews (35)

  • clubsoda 2 Aug, 2011

    I will be looking for those vases at IKEA. They are good for those kinds of things - and the block candles are soooo reasonable there, and burn so nicely

  • naglaaa 12 Feb, 2011

    wow it is so lovly

  • LiveWire_777 24 Mar, 2010

    This idea looks cool and classy to me. I already have a vision of how lovely my glass patio table will look while entertaining for at an after 6 dinner party.

  • Ranedrop 14 Jul, 2008

    I sooo get the "staying put" issue! I use the wax sold for keeping candles in place. They're small little circles of a sticky wax that work great! Take a piece of one circle, "work" it a little with your fingers and place it under the inner candle holder. Waterproof and invisible!

  • melindaseaford 11 Jul, 2008

    I too love this idea and used it at my son's poolside rehearsal dinner. The problem is that the inner vase did not stay attached to the bottom of the larger vase once the water went in. Used waterproof floral adhesive tape that night and also experimented with floral clay (really bad choice) prior to the night. So I think rocks in the interior vase could be a helpful choice to keep it anchored.

  • hancock119 11 Jul, 2008

    The problem eith this is that colored water can sometimes letch the glass. Use colored sports drinks like gatorade, etc.

  • Nayda 11 Jul, 2008

    Awesome!! This was a hit in my house, Thanks!

  • priya108 10 Jul, 2008

    You can also use frosted rocks, they come in different colors too, instead of water. That will solve the floating vase problem and create cool shadows.

  • willowcraft 10 Jul, 2008

    We used these for my daughters wedding in June......but had a very hard time getting the inside vase not to let go and float up.....I finally had to use some clear rocks to help. I used the floral adhisive (I was a florist-so I have the good stuff), but it didn't hold well. Also, a tip for those using we did...if it is an outdoor wedding, the red and pink food coloring fades fast in sunlight....luckly it we had a big tent.

  • mrspsp 10 Jul, 2008

    Michael's craft stores has great vases that would work. I was just there choosing some crafting materials from Martha's line and thought I'd look around a bit. They weren't expensive at all. I admire the impact one can get from these fire and water centerpieces with just a few common items from the decorating storage cabinet. And what could be simpler or faster to clean up after the party?

  • Christina_Holly 10 Jul, 2008

    This is a cute idea. Pottery Barn and Illuminations both sell this type of vase. It won't be inexpensive, but you can keep using them for different ideas and holidays.

  • Laurawst 10 Jul, 2008

    I love this idea but I'm having a hard time finding appropriate vases. Any suggestions or favorite sources?

  • antonis 10 Jul, 2008

    I just used your fire and water centerpieces for my daughter's July 5, 2008 wedding reception. We live along the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. We had a fabulous ceremony on the lake under a fabulous tent and then proceeded to carry out the lake/beach theme with the fire and water centerpieces. We added play sand and various types of seashells in the bottom of the containers prior to filling it with the blue water.

  • scrapbookdi 10 Jul, 2008

    Laura, I think that would be very pretty if you put some kind of white flowers in the blue water. After a while the flowers may absorb the blue coloring but you could try to see what would happen. They might stay white long enough for your special day. Perhaps you could use them on the cake table or any other special place. Congrats!

  • DiGalan 10 Jul, 2008

    Great and simple idea, for summer parties.

  • honeynutcareyo 7 Jul, 2008

    Make a small ring of flowers around the bottom of each one or around the group of candles....

  • laurajamroz 18 Jun, 2008

    I'm getting married in January, we have already pretty much decided on centerpieces for the tables, tall vases with gel and blue led lights to make the gel icy with flowers and branches. How could I incorporate this into the reception? There will already be candles on the tables and in the windows. Or maybe we could not do the centerpieces we were talking about and use these? How would you incorporate flowers into this without losing the blue water?

  • photophil 12 Jun, 2008

    I like to do this in groups of three, in the primary colors. The reflections are amazing.

  • domesticoolmom 10 Jun, 2008

    Jersey Cook meant: replace water with candy, replace candle with flower arrangement...

  • Suzngr 9 Jun, 2008

    Jersey Cook...I dont' know what you mean about the Flowers in a vase of candy. Could you please explain further?
    Thanks, Suz

  • sheika 9 Jun, 2008

    this is a great idea,very easy procedure to have a cute candle light

  • JerseyCook 6 Jun, 2008

    This is one of Martha's classics. We've all see the flowers in a vase of candy, which is the same idea of a vase in a vase. I have seen this done with sand anchoring the candle in the inner vase, with the surface sprinkled with shells. It makes a really lovely centerpiece. Its pretty with just the candle too because at night the light just glows through the water. Its the perfect centerpiece for an outdoor gathering. With an ocean or sea scented candle, you will think you are at the beach.

  • kimwylie0523 6 Jun, 2008

    I did this one for Valentine's Day last year to set a pink/red look to the tabletop, but I'm definitely partial to the blue in this picture! Saves plenty of money on candles and candle holders, too (besides, I have more than I need as is...).

  • casperboy 6 Jun, 2008

    Love this idea!! The blue colors are so refreshing.

  • emeraldcat 6 Jun, 2008

    I used this same idea for my daughter's beach wedding last summer. Rather than colored water, we used her colors of pink and orange pillar candles. I placed a few small stones and shells at the bottom before adding the water. It was stunning with the color and various cylinder sizes. This was also an idea from Martha Stewart.

  • carabau 6 Jun, 2008

    Fantastic! I love creating with color and add food dye to the water in my filled flower vases.

  • iandominic 5 Jun, 2008

    Very great idea. It is much more greater if you use the scented candle with different colors!!!!

  • kariponce 5 Jun, 2008

    This is beautiful! How can you be assured of fire safety in the glass?

  • willowcraft 5 Jun, 2008

    I am going to use this next weekend at my daughters wedding.!! Great idea!!

  • puckbunny 5 Jun, 2008

    Floating candles are nice to alternate in the mix - requires fewer vases!

  • Tamarck 5 Jun, 2008

    Lovely Color~
    I'll make this the center piece for my dinner party this Saturday and then move them to the bathroom. They'll go perfectly with my blue decor.

  • pugnlouiesmom 5 Jun, 2008


  • dreamdesigner 5 Jun, 2008

    I LOVE it!

  • KrysB10 5 Jun, 2008

    I can't wait to have a party now.

  • drbromm 22 Feb, 2008

    Wow! These are so inviting, yet so simple. Great idea!