How to Use a Hurricane Lamp As a Table Centerpiece

Updated February 21, 2017

Hurricane lamps historically were oil-burning lamps with tall glass chimneys to protect the flame from burning out. Today, hurricane lamps describe a broad spectrum of decorative tall, glass cylinders that hold candles. The chimneys are still meant to be taller than the candle to protect the flame. Hurricane lamps make elegant centrepieces at a dinner table or for fancy occasions, such as weddings. Create your centrepiece by installing flowers and greenery around the hurricane lamp. Remember to use thick candles that will burn throughout your entire event or meal and purchase candles that are shorter than your hurricane lamp.

Cut floral foam -- green or brown foam used in floral arrangements and available at craft stores or florists -- into a circle several inches wider than the diameter of the hurricane lamp and about 2 inches high. Cut out a circle inside the foam, leaving a 1-inch border, to create a ring.

Drop the foam ring into a bucket of water if you're using fresh flowers in your centrepiece. Do not push it down, but allow it to soak up water. Remove the foam ring when the top is level with the water's surface and drain it for several minutes. Skip this step if you're using artificial flowers.

Cut a plastic tray, also available at craft stores or florists, to the size of the foam ring. Set the foam ring onto the tray.

Cut flower buds and greenery from your flowers. Leave several inches of stem.

Install the greenery onto the foam by sticking the stems deep into the ring's top and outside areas. Point the greenery both up and out to create a full look. Continue until you can see little, if any, of the foam's outer edges.

Insert the flower buds in the same manner. Use a gentle touch so you don't crush the petals. Space out the flowers around the ring, or concentrate them on one side, depending on your preference.

Transport the centrepiece to its ultimate destination, carefully supporting the tray.

Place the hurricane lamp into the centre of the ring and insert the candle into the lamp.

Add more greenery or flowers if you can see the plastic tray between the foam ring and the hurricane lamp.

Light the pillar candle just before your event begins.


Use a mirror instead of a plastic tray under the foam for a different, reflective effect. Use a pre-made wreath slightly larger in diameter than the hurricane lamp, instead of the foam ring for a quicker centrepiece creation. Purchase floral foam already attached to plastic trays to avoid cutting the foam and trays and to create a more stable centrepiece.


Monitor the centrepiece carefully, as open flames are a fire hazard.

Things You'll Need

  • Floral foam
  • Scissors
  • Bucket
  • Plastic tray
  • Fresh or artificial flowers
  • Pillar candle, several inches shorter than the hurricane lamp chimney
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About the Author

Tallulah Philange has worked as a journalist since 2003. Her work has appeared in the "Princeton (N.J.) Packet," "Destinations" magazine and in higher education publications. She also has edited and produced online content for those publications. Philange holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from American University and a Master of Arts in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University.