diy woodland wedding lantern with moss and beeswax candle from bee to you candles
Create,  Love,  Wedding

DIY Woodland Wedding Centerpiece

diy woodland lantern centerpiece with candles and moss

When I began my DIY projects for my wedding, some projects just clicked. I had the vision, executed it and moved on. Others did not. Centerpieces were the latter.

My wedding vibe was a mix between classic vintage and enchanted forest. But live flowers were out of my budget, and I didn’t want anything too ritzy or too rustic.

I knew that my centerpieces needed to meet the following requirements:

  • Affordable
  • Potentially reusable for home decor
  • Durable for transport to the venue
  • Incorporated nature
  • Could be made and then stored for a while

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Trial and Error

I created a few different prototypes, but none of them were really working for me. They either ended up looking too handmade in a bad way, or just plain tacky.

bottle with dried flowers and fake flowers in front of it
Sola flowers in a bottle from the Dollar Tree with fake baby’s breath… Not so much.

What is a sola flower? Sola flowers are usually made from the shavings of a tapioca plant. They are naturally ivory, and can be dyed. With a lot of patience and a soft hand, they can be good for crafting. They are very delicate, which is something to consider when working with sola flowers.

bottle with dried flowers coming out of it
Added more sola flowers to the bouquet holder…
double tiered flower bouquets coming out of a bottle
Went so far as to make a double-tiered bouquet with fake ivy coming out of the bottle… was not feeling it. While it can be frustrating, trial and error is part of any DIY wedding process!

I walked through the aisles of many stores, searching for inspiration. I searched pin after pin after pin, looking for a nugget of an idea I could take and make my own.

black lanterns on a shelf at five below
Found these, but decided that even though I wanted my centerpieces to be affordable, I didn’t want them to be cheap or chintzy.

The A-Ha Moment

Then one day, my mom and I walked in to Kirklands. And there sitting on the shelf was the answer to my centerpiece problem.

lanterns with candle inserts on a shelf at kirklands
High-quality, customizable lanterns at an affordable price! Yay, Kirklands!

What You Need

  • Clear glass lantern with candle insert
  • Preserved Moss
    • I used one or two bags for eight lanterns
  • Potpourri/dried flowers
    • I got two large bags of potpourri at Tuesday Morning to use the different dried flowers, leaves, etc.
  • Gloves if you use potpourri so you don’t get the scented oils on your hands
  • Beeswax candles from Bee to You Candles
    • My mom makes beeswax candles so not only were they all-natural and high-quality, it was something we had around our reception that she put her heart into making.
  • Plastic wrap if you plan to store your centerpiece until your event

Optional Items for Base

  • Doilies
    • The rose gold doilies I used were on clearance from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and are no longer available.
  • Wood stump
    • My wood bases came from a huge branch that fell in my yard. My dad removed the bark, sanded them, and shellacked them. What a guy!
woodland lantern centerpiece with candles and moss
The final product on my wedding day. Photo by Frank Gibson Photography.

How to Make the Centerpiece

  1. Take out the candle insert and candle holder. I recommend bubble wrapping these and transporting them separately from the glass lanterns.
  2. Clean the interior of the glass to get rid of any dust or smudges.
  3. Fluff the preserved moss to your liking.
  4. Adhering to your aesthetic preference, fill the bottom of the lantern with the moss. You don’t want to go too high with any of the items you put in the lantern because the candles will heat up and you don’t want to create a fire hazard.
  5. Next, if you are using potpourri put your gloves on. Then, add the potpourri flowers, leaves, or other items from the potpourri mixture you like. If you are sensitive to smells, then I do not recommend using the potpourri method. Instead, look into buying other dried flowers that are unscented, though it could be more expensive. I got all of the dried flowers I used for my other projects (my bouquet and table numbers) from Dried Decor.
  6. After the bottom of the lantern looks good to you, seal the tops with plastic wrap so no bugs, dust, etc. will get into your lanterns while they are stored. I completed my centerpieces months before my wedding date.

Tip: When you arrive at the venue to set up your lantern centerpieces, be sure you have glass cleaner with you so you can wipe down the exterior of the lanterns.

Customizable to Any Theme

The thing I like most about these lanterns is that you can easily customize them to go with any theme, style, season, or even event.

Other things you could add to the lanterns to go with your theme:

  • Beach theme – add sand and seashells
  • Fall – add pine cones and preserved leaves
  • Steampunk – add cogs and screws
  • Boho chic – add crystals like rose quartz or amethyst

The possibilities are truly endless with these lanterns, and you can use them again and again.

diy lantern centerpiece with moss and dried flowers
Testing the lantern six months before the wedding!

Did These Centerpieces Meet All of My Original Requirements?

Yes, yes, and yes. As hard as it was for me to finally get to a concept that I loved and was able to execute, I am so glad I was patient and kept working until it felt right to me.

These centerpieces tied my whole wedding vibe together, and I could not be happier with how they turned out

✓ Affordability

These were not only easy to make, but they were affordable. I would say they were made for under $20 each, and could be done for less.

✓ Potentially reusable for home decor

I had a hard time wrapping my head around some of the quotes I received for wedding stuff, especially when it came to flowers. After a few quotes, I knew that I didn’t want to spend that much money on something so impermanent.

I knew I could cut costs by DIYing things, but also felt that if I was going to spend the time making something, I wanted it to be quality enough for me to want to keep.

These centerpieces are now some of the best keepsakes from my wedding day. They sit on my dinner table, my parents’ dinner table, and my in-laws’ dinner table. My sister/MOH got one, and my sister-in-law/Best Woman got one. I think my cousins made off with the others.

Needless to say, they fit seamlessly into any home without any of the gaudiness that can usually be synonymous with mass-produced wedding items. It is not obvious that they came from a wedding, but it means so much that we get to use these when we entertain.

It means even more when my husband and I can light the lanterns when we are just eating dinner together after work, with the light from our wedding centerpiece setting the ambiance and providing a subtle reminder of the beauty and love that filled that day.

✓ Durable for transport to the venue

Not everything I made ended up being super durable, but the lanterns were very durable and held up on the 45-minute car ride to our venue. It is imperative to wrap the glass candle holder inserts in bubble wrap or eco-friendly packing peanuts separately from the lanterns so the glass doesn’t knock together in transport.

✓ Incorporated nature

These ended up being the perfect touch of woodland fairy magic for my wedding reception, bringing in the natural green color with other natural blues and pinks, which complemented my wedding palette and didn’t seem cheap or manufactured.

✓ Could be made and then stored for a while

Between working full time, wedding planning, and life in general, I needed to be able to check wedding projects off of my list and then move on to the next project.

I wanted to create my centerpieces and know that I was done with them. I didn’t want to be working on projects down to the wire, and I didn’t want to have to worry if my centerpieces were going to show up the day of.

Since I was able to use dried and preserved materials to bring in the natural elements to the lantern, I was able to make my centerpieces months in advance. Once they were finished, I used them as inspiration for other wedding crafts and ended up achieving a cohesive look.

Would I Make These Again?

Absolutely! These lanterns are great straight out of the box, providing ample room for creativity and customization that any hostess or planner may need. I was able to easily make something that I was truly proud to put on the center of each table at my wedding reception.

I highly recommend making them for your wedding or next soiree!

Thanks for reading, Jenna. @DigitalMolt

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