A Wine Cork Centerpiece & Keeping Candlesticks Straight

You guys already know that we like to keep all of our idle decorating objects in one cabinet that we lovingly refer to as the Decor Store for easy (and free) new arrangements whenever I get the urge:


So when I started jonesing for a new look for our dining room table, I looked no further than our trusty little collection of already-on-hand options. Here’s what the table looked like before the mini makeover (I did love having table-setting items right at arm’s reach, I just wanted something new…):


So I stashed the bowls and the silverware back in the kitchen and decided to keep the plant and the napkins for the green pops of color that they (literally) brought to the table. And I wasn’t quite ready to retire my favorite woven & glass cups so those stuck around too. But what else could I introduce to keep things interesting and maybe even a little romantic? One peek into the accessory cabinet- er, Decor Store- had us seeing red. Wine that is. A giant ziplock bag of collected wine corks (thanks to friends and neighbors who save theirs up for us- no we didn’t actually “earn” them all ourselves) caught my eye and a plan began to emerge. I love corks as vase filler, but did I have a larger vessel for the center of the table? Yessss, I quickly grabbed a cheap hurricane snagged a while back at Ikea and a pillar candle for the center. Here are my supplies all laid out before the super simple “assembly” process began:


But what’s that juice glass in front? Well, I introduced that after I tried putting the pillar candle and corks in the hurricane only to notice that it didn’t look as full or as dramatic as I’d hoped. See, by placing the glass upside-down under the pillar candle it became a stand of sorts and raised the candle up a few inches…


… it also took up a good amount of volume in the center of the hurricane so the next time I began to add the cork “vase filler” it instantly looked a lot more full. Score.


Here our new centerpiece bursting with corky goodness. Isn’t it funny how some collected corks, a juice glass we had hanging around, a pillar candle and an old Ikea hurricane can come together like they were meant to be?


I love how the woven basket-turned planter works with the woven cups and the corks for a natural and rugged texture that really complements the more polished looking ceramic candlesticks and the gleaming glass hurricane.

And speaking of those candlesticks that we snatched up at Goodwill for $1 a few months ago, we actually have a little oldie-but-a-goody taper candle tip to share with anyone who is at their wits’ end with a wobbly candle (because the last thing that you want a flaming stick to be is precarious). It’s actually something that John’s mom taught me in passing, and it has since come to the rescue many many times (and possibly saved Casa Petersik from going up in a cloud of smoke). Just light the wick of your candle a bit and drip some hot wax into the base of the candlestick. Then place your candle base in the candlestick (taking care that you’re inserting it so it looks straight and even) and the hot wax will bond to the bottom of the candle to hold it in place like glue.


Ta-daaa. No more obsessive candle straightening necessary. And no more fears of your new cork centerpiece going up in a fiery blaze. Wax on, guys. Wax on. And you gotta love how candles and wine corks keep the dining table feeling inviting and even a little, dare we say it, romantic…

So that’s our latest little mini makeover around these parts. Any favorite candle tips of your own? Any unusual vase filler suggestions or centerpiece solutions? We wanna know what’s living it up on your dining table.

Update: One of our readers replicated our corks-&-candles-in-a-hurricane idea using skinny taper candles instead of a big fat pillar candle and did note that they burned down a lot faster and posed a potential fire hazard if they weren’t being watched (since corks are certainly a flammable material if the flame burns down to that level). We definitely recommend using a large slow-burning pillar candle set about eight inches above the corks and never leaving it unattended. Safety first!


  1. says

    For some reason, this table setting evokes a captain’s table in a pirate ship with the wicker and cork (In a good way!) Very cool. I am going to steal your excellent Decor Store idea with due credit because that sounds like a good way to combat my obsessive need to display everything I own. Rock.

  2. Carol from Indian Springs says

    Love it! Clean, sophisticated and yes, even romantic! I’ve used all kinds of neat things as candle filler but in the summer with all the wonderful colors abounding, I like to use my old marbles. There are so many wonderful colors in them that I don’t have any problems finding some flowers to go with them. Actually, they were a ‘bachelor party’ gift to my husband since his buddies thought he had ‘lost’ his marbles by finally getting married at the ripe old age of 30. So when I use them not only are they fun to look at but a reminder of that fun party and our good friends not to mention our 27+ years of a happy marraige.

  3. Amanda White says

    Sherry, this vase is fabulous! I love how you took a regular little glass cup in the cupboard to give the candle some height and the corks around it are perfect!! It’s looks like something you bought out of a Pottery Barn store! Tres chic!

  4. says

    I forgot to water our flowers one day and one of our poor (new) gladiolus starting to lean in the heat and snapped in two places. I filled a glass olive jar (that I had already cleaned out and used as a vase in the past), tied a bow with twine around the rim and popped in two tall white gladiolus stalks. They look really pretty :)

  5. Julianne Hendrickson says

    I love that idea!! We collect wine corks as well and I have been wondering how I can display them *tastefully*. Thank You!

  6. jillbinmd says

    wow thats a cool cabinet!! the worst problem my boyfriend and i have in our house is clutter. your centerpiece looks great! cant even see our dining room table. we both work and when we get home, the table is a dumping ground for all our crap when we come home….needless to say, we dont actually eat at the table….blah to the clutter!! its a constant battle. btw, love your blog! if i didnt rent my house(and have a strict landlord who is older than dirt and therefore not good with change aka fresh coat of paint) i’d be using all your ideas!

  7. Rebekah says

    Or, hold a lighter under the candle for 2-3 seconds, so the bottom softens a bit and then press it into the candle holder. It sticks that way, too, and you won’t have burnt candle wicks.

  8. says

    I have a large apothecary jar on my table full of wine corks. I always keep a sharpie close by and whenever we pop open a new bottle we write the day, event or some kind of message on the cork. That way there are always good memories on display!

  9. Tracy says

    Love the Decor Store idea! I have too many cute things to decorate with, but I can’t have them all out at once. The Decor Store is a perfect idea!

    By the way, I have that same little blue fish! :)

  10. Holly says

    I use stuff called stick-um candle adhesive to prevent wobbly candles. It’s easier to get out of the candle holder than stuck on wax when you want to put new candles in.

  11. Tara says

    Love this idea! I think I might steal it and make my own tonight. :-) My husband and I collect corks too (only we drink all of the wine that goes along with them!)so here are two little projects that I did to use up some of the corks. I just bought small, super strong magnets and glued them to the back of the corks. Voila- cute cork magnets to go along with our “wine” themed kitchen! I also took an extra picture frame that I had lying around, removed the glass, and glued corks one right next to the other to the inside of the frame. It’s hanging in our kitchen and we use it as a cork board for notes to each other, pictures or grocery lists! Hope you can use these cheap but cute ideas.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Micah,

      Tar-jay of course! It’s a dead ringer for something identical that Pottery Barn sells for big bucks. Hope it helps. Happy Target shopping!


  12. Amy says

    I had to laugh when I saw this post because we have this EXACT cork-filled centerpiece going on in our dining room right now. Right down to the ikea hurricane.

    Anyway, thanks for the tip about the glass-under-the-candle trick. Right now, our candle is long enough that we don’t need it but I’ll keep in in mind when the candle burns down a bit.

  13. says

    Fab tips! Great idea to heighten the candle by using a small glass under it – genius. Question – did you use your wax tip to secure the candle to the small glass to secure it in the hurricane? I would be worried that the candle would be easily knocked over into the corks (we have five dogs and anything is possible!).

    • YoungHouseLove says

      We actually didn’t use the wax trick to adhere the candle to the little upside-down glass in the hurricane but it would definitely work. Great idea for a house with five dogs!


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