Thanksgiving Candle Centerpiece

Candlelight adds warmth and a feeling of security to a Thanksgiving gathering of family and friends. In this Flower School How-To Video Leanne uses flame leaf ash, grevillea, leucadendron, camellia for a base of foliages, then adds lisianthus, stock, hybrid tea roses and spray roses to create a gorgeous design in a unique analogous color scheme. The addition of pillar and votive candles completes this fantastic arrangement. Enjoy!

Video Transcription 

Welcome to the Flower School .com video library. I'm Leanne Kesler, director of the Floral Design Institute, and today I'm here to share with you a fabulous Thanksgiving candle centerpiece. 

When I think of Thanksgiving arrangements, I think of the analogous, the fire colors, and traditionally, when you look at the color wheel, we often use sunflowers, going from yellows to oranges into the reds. This side. Today, leaving out the yellow, skipping that, and going the other direction from orange to red to violet for a little more intense color. The container, faux terracotta, gives me that orangey hue. Candles in the more burgundy to deepen the intensity, using anchors to hold them in place. Then flowers, a lovely variety. Oranges, reds, purples, and of course, autumn leaves, as well. 

As I place the candles, I want to think about the spacing, making sure that they won't get too hot next to each other, always putting space in between, adjusting them and using different heights just because I like the variation. Setting the stand right into the foam, securely. That way, I'll have a nice stable support for each candle. Then setting the candles in. I like these because they're not so tight, so I can pull the candles back out when it comes time to deliver so that I don't have to worry about them shifting. Or, after they burn down, take them out and replace them and reuse the holders. 

During the autumn season, we're so fortunate. There's so much to choose from. You can use natural foliage like this flame leaf ash. Actually just foraged it right outside the classroom. Gives you a nice color instantly. You can do a natural foliage, like agonis, bringing in the deeper brown, chocolatey hue. It, too, breaks nicely. Gives it a nice placement, keeping the stems down low so that they don't interfere with the candles. I don't want any fear of flame. 

Then we can also go to the dyed foliages. They're so beautiful, and there are so many different hues to choose from, from the coppery orange to the rich purple. Getting contrast, and then, of course, just like mother nature, you may not want to have all autumn hues because here in the Pacific Northwest, we still have the green, the evergreens that are with us year round. Maybe a little bit of camellia, breaking it down, brightening, and adding that with the autumn foliage. 

With all of the foliage placed radiating from the central binding point, get a full and lush design that's very long lasting. Next is to create the focal emphasis. Protea, again, long lasting and fabulous. The foliage may or may not be beautiful. I oftentimes go ahead and just remove it, getting down to the bloom. Just so exotic. True conversation starter. I'm giving it a cut and tucking it in. Again, keeping it away from the candles. Maybe taking a second one, placing them together. Make sure that I've got a bit of drama on this side. And a third. Bring it over to the other side, creating another focal emphasis area, so that it's not just in the front. We've got it on both sides so that no matter which way you look, it's beautiful. 

Now to finish the form with flowers. Bringing in stock gives it a wonderful old fashioned look. Can drape out beautifully, extending the sides. Maybe grouping a couple together to draw the color towards the center. Bringing in the deep red, picking up the color of the candles. And again, doing various levels, tucking it even lower so that it pulls the eye inward, one shadow behind the other. Bringing in the orange to brighten everything. Cutting it down so I can use the whole stem, using one portion, coming back. Again, thinking about depth, tucking it down a little bit lower. Keeping them grouped so it looks like it was all on the same stem. And then repeating. More stock, more roses, more spray roses. 

As a final touch, adding to the intensity of the purple with lisianthus, so wonderful because it's long and strong, so you could add it in, let it come out a little bit longer than the rest of the arrangement. Using the buds. They're lighter. Pick up the hue of the camellia that we tucked in. Repeating, bringing it through. Maybe this one a little shorter, drawing the eye inward, but capturing that deep purple of the grevillea, letting the buds come out with it, and then repeating it, so it's not just in one spot. You want to bring it through to look gorgeous from the front, the back, and all the sides. 

As you finish, turn the arrangement and look at it from all sides. Make sure that you filled it in. There's no spots left, no foam showing through, and that everything is just the way you wanted it. Think about your elements and principles. You may have noticed I actually created a line that goes through horizontally, the red roses coming through and back out the other side just to give depth and movement. The recipe? Oddly, I ended up working mostly with nines. That was an accident. Don't know why, but it is mostly nines. I started with the three candles and three candle holders, three protea, and then the different foliages, flame leaf ash, grevillea, some dyed leucadendron. Little bit of camellia to give it a nice base. Then the nines. Nine lisianthus, nine stock, nine red roses, nine orange spray roses. And you can see, it's perfect for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. 

As with all candles, don't leave them burning unattended. Yes, it is a fire hazard. You have to be very conscious of that. Now, for Thanksgiving, I love to extend. Go beyond just the centerpiece. Adding in votives tucked into terracotta so it picks up the color of the dish. You could put one at each place setting, stretch it down the table. With this year, Thanksgiving may be smaller. Maybe it's cozy, and each and every person will have their very own candle. And then, the luxurious centerpiece as well. 

For more creative inspiration, check out our website at If you have questions, you can reach us through there, or pick up the telephone and call us at (503) 223-8089. Now, it's your turn. Gather your most favorite flowers. Create away. Be sure to take a picture and post it on social media, #FloralDesignInstitute. That way, I'll see, and your tribe will see what you do as you do something you love.

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