Illuminating Ideas: Hanging Votives

Published July 19, 2012

I’m always amazed at the unique and wonderful ways people find to illuminate their outdoor surroundings during the warm summer months. Tea lights are finding their ways into all sorts of shells, paper products and other containers that one would never think of using for outdoor lanterns. Before slipping your tea light in the traditional glass votive, think of the theme of your table and consider using a fireproof item that may add to the look of the evening. Large seashells filled with a little sand and a tea light are perfect for an outdoor clam bake and good old-fashioned paper bags filled with sand are always a popular favorite for the beach.

If you are looking for something a bit different for your next dinner party consider these ideas…


Hurricane Lamps

I love the bold and clean look of these traditional lanterns. Dress them up this year by gluing small items to the outside of the glass with a glue gun. Miniature flowers and seashells are just two examples of items that will beautifully decorate the outside of the hurricane. Try clear glass beads (available at craft stores) or small, coloured marbles. Both are easy to glue and only take minutes to attach.



Sea glass is available at florist shops and craft outlets. Similar to glass beads, sea glass has a frosty exterior and looks fabulous when lit with a candle. Simply fill a short, glass vase with the sea glass (or coloured glass beads). Place a tea light inside a small, glass container and put the container inside the glass vase. The beads will scatter around the glass and the tea light will shine through. This look is especially wonderful for a contemporary, simple table.


Hanging Votives

There’s something magical about hanging lanterns against the evening sky. The way the breeze moves them and the sparkle they emit during the dinner party. Save yourself the expense of purchasing lanterns this year and make your own. Dollar stores have loads of clear, glass votives that have wire handles attached. Simply hang these votives from the spokes of your patio umbrella in varying heights. Be sure to monitor these votives carefully and place them well away from the canvas of the umbrella.


Floral Vases

Who says vases are just for flowers? I love them in the summer filled with sand or river rocks and a large pillar candle. Try an assortment of vases filled with mulicoloured candles for a fun and festive look. Great for a Mexican party!