Hurricane Lamp

So easy to make a charming hurricane lamp . . .

 Next time you go on vacation, bring along a baggie, get some sand from a beach you love, (craft stores have sand too!) gather a few shells, and some beach glass and make yourself a windproof backyard table light or a seasonal centerpiece for your dining room to remind you of carefree walks by the sea.
I cleaned my hurricane lamp yesterday, and rebuilt it with Martha’s Vineyard sand as the base for a new candle.  In the photo is everything you need. You might want to sift through and clean the sand a bit before using it.

Find a container that pleases you…put about 2″ of sand in the bottom, make a well for the candle, use tongs to arrange shells around the candle, the way you want them. Plop in a candle, deep enough so the wind can’t get it.  And that’s it!


It works all year round, as a centerpiece on our dining table. In the fall I add a sprig of pepperberry, some acorns, or bittersweet, little red leaves for a dinner party, whatever fallish things I can find on my walk — at Christmas, everything from small ball ornaments to holly, tiny birds, or little faux apples.  Just don’t build the decorations so high up that the flame could come in contact.


Here it is at Christmas, with little apples . . .

The best thing is you can look at it and say, “I made it myself.”  Little things make a difference! They add charm to your house and show you care. 


39 Responses to Hurricane Lamp

  1. Karen P says:

    Wish I lived by the sea so I could collect beach glass, but I LOVE the Fall idea! Just in time! When you do the Fall and Christmas hurricane, do you still fill it with sand first on the bottom….then add the “elements”…or do you fill it with something else on the bottom?

    • sbranch says:

      The sand makes a great base for the candle, I have done it in fresh cranberries, looks great, but doesn’t last as long as sand!

      • Karen P says:

        Well, I found the most GORGEOUS large hurricane lamp at a thrift store for only $5.99!!! It has to be lead crystal or something….simply stunning! Put an orange candle in it and filled the bottom with glass fall colored acorns, real mini pinecones and dark red cherries! LOVE IT! Thanks for the inspiration, Susan.

  2. Jen says:

    Wow, that hurricane is beautiful with the etching! Was this perhaps the one item in your home that you bought somewhere where there were others on the shelf? 🙂 (Doubt that!) I love it. I’ve tried this with tiny crystal stones, and the candle inevitably gets to a point where it drips was all over the stones and I have to toss them all. Sand would work so much better – excited to try it!

    I’m so excited for fall I want to scream!

    • Suzanne says:

      Jen, try the flameless candles they work great, you never have to worry about fire either. They now sell the ones with timers so you can set them for 6 hrs. and they go off by themselves. I purchased mine through QVC.

  3. debi j adomeit says:

    I enjoy looking for the glass jars at yard sales and antique stores, there are the most amazing trinkets … from the antique stores, 1 year i made custom hurricane lamps for all my friends the are very nice

  4. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I love visiting you early in the morning before the paper comes, I know you’re always up! Hurricane lamp tutorial – so charming! I collected green rocks (I’m sure they must be jade!) from the beach at Bodega Bay (65 degrees, so nice) yesterday and my grandchildren all oohed and aahed at my finds! :-)! Because I’m pretending it is Autumn at home in the 94 degree weather, the beach rocks will be waiting for next summer’s hurricane lamp display. Thank you!

  5. Suzanne says:

    This is such a nice idea Susan…I’ve been decorating with natural items for a long time, I collect shells as well and I’ve done it with just shells around the candle (flameless) and it looks so pretty too. There’s such an abundance of things in nature that are great to decorate with, at every season. Thankyou for all of your ideas!

  6. Coni says:

    Susan, the etching on your hurricane is gorgeous. I love this idea. I’m thinking mini pinecones. I can’t resist them!

  7. Francine says:

    Oh my!!! Last year I found a hurricane container…not as fancy as yours with the etchings, but a good size and it was only a dollar at a rummage, and then at another rummage I found a bag of shells! I did the very same thing!! Got some sand from the sandbox at the park….sh-h-h-h don’t tell!!!! And put in a candle then sat back and enjoyed!! I enjoyed it again this summer with the shells, and used various other things during the other seasons. Love it!!

  8. Tam says:

    Just a suggestion – they sell supplies in the craft store so you can etch glass yourself. You could give it a whirl on an inexpensive piece of glass.

  9. Lynn Rue says:

    Fun in October to use candy corn and autumn leaves – and candles the color of the season 😉

  10. Cynthia says:

    Oh now another idea for my table! I like the flameless candle ideas, especially with the leaves for fall. Or maybe get colored sand & use some glass in autumn colors, or candy corn & a real candle. I think I will be very busy this week!!!

  11. Karen P says:

    I am LOVING having my hurricane! I decorated it for Christmas/winter with a Nordic-looking red and white snowflake candle that I found at IKEA and fresh evergreen pieces, little pinecones, fresh boxwood and “fake” red berries with glitter! I put white sand in the base that I bought at JoAnn’s (no lovely Martha’s Vineyard beach here….) Thanks for the inspiration, Susan. I already have purchased a bag of little shells for the summer hurricane!

  12. Katie says:

    I absolutely love using candles when I decorate. There’s this brand of candles that are called Woodwick candles. The wick is made of wood, and it crackles like a fire when it burns. It seems like it burns more slowly too.

    • sbranch says:

      Can you get them fragrance free? I went to the website but couldn’t see that. Joe doesn’t love fragrance.

      • Janet says:

        Joe is smart – because as lovely as the fragrances can be – when you burn candles with fragrance a faintly-sooty grayish deposit gets left on walls and behind pieces of furniture etc. When you move a wall hanging or look into the corners you can see it. It’s most noticeable [obviously] on light-colored walls… but we’ve even had it adhering to the plastic trays that organize our kitchen and bathroom drawers. I was told this is a common problem with scented candles, by the professional who comes to service our furnace /air-conditioner equipment. Major bummer! But now when we want a bit of fragrance we use non-aerosol room sprays, bars of scented soaps [bath/bedroom] and in the winter, you can simmer lemon or orange peels in a saucepan on the stove. If it’s OK to “plug” something from your webstore, I have the lemon thyme soap in my kitchen linens drawer, buried into the stacks of dish and hand towels. So refreshing and clean-smelling… sometimes I just open the drawer and “snort” my towels!

  13. mary says:

    Your hurricane lamp is beautiful! Thanks for sharing, it looks so pretty!

  14. Wendy Louise says:

    I put small stones like river stones or smooth stones from the beach, I collect them on Plum Island where I live near. I have a high mantle in my living room that is hard to reach with out a ladder so I use the remote control candles that are made of wax and they look so real. They flicker at night and look beautiful, now I don’t have to get the ladder late at night to blow them out ! What they won’t think of ! I’m going to try out those Woodwick candles that crackle , I too love all sorts of candles they are sooooo romantic! Thanks again for the inspiration.

  15. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    I got one of these and put some sharks teeth in it I picked up on the beach and some sea glass. It turned out pretty. One thing I didn’t get was some sand, but I didn’t put a candle, which makes yours so much prettier. I have it on the screened in back porch to remind me that when I have time I should be on the beach hunting for sea glass and sharks teeth! I am lurking on the website can you tell? LOL!!! My favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon… most times I don’t stop and visit but today I figured I would!! Here is to a lovely, lazy Sunday afternoon….

  16. Claudia Foster says:

    Where can I find a hurricane lamp such as the one you have displayed?

  17. matty says:

    love your idea susan. i love because its so versatile you can use alll year around, just fill with all the stuff , flowers, lemons, apples, berries, scones…shells and everything you think, and they looks so pretty on your table. just love it. huge matty

  18. Jean Fisher says:

    I am reading an old e-mail from a friend.
    This is such a great crafty display to make for year round. Thank you for
    such great ideas.

  19. Sweet Sue says:

    Good Day Susan Dear!
    I just finished reading all the blogs in your Home Sweet Home section and I surely feel blessed! This last blog about “Hurricane Lamps” is super. I don’t have a hurrican lamp currently yet will be on the lookout for one. We have friends who are having an anniversary soon. Would make a good anniversary gift huh? Any suggestions on how to put it together for an anniversary gift? Also would like to do a “Spring” for Dusty and I……any “springy” suggestions?
    Will be back to the “Home Sweet Home” section often ….great ideas, great photos and artwork and poems and sayings! My favorites are Old China Dishes, Little Vases, The Legacy and The Peter Rabbit Room………with Sweet Vintage Linens, I Like Jars, Hot to Kitchen Garden and Hurricane Lamp close seconds! 🙂 Keep painting, writing and being creative……because we love everything you share!!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Sweet Sue! For your anniversary lamp, I would think about the couple and what they like to do and maybe put little things in it that says “them.” I love nature things, maybe you have a heart shaped rock you could include. You could take a trip to a craft store and see what little bits and pieces they might have. It really doesn’t take a lot. Maybe one of those paper flower bouquets . . . maybe some tiny white bells? Set the candle in rice instead of sand. I’m glad you enjoyed Home Sweet Home!

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Great ideas! I will go out this weekend and look for items to put in lamp and as you say you don’t need much. I have some swatches of fabric ….lacy beige and coral satin…from their wedding day as well a small photo of them…so I’ll go to Michael’s (arts and crafts store in our area) get a few well-chosen items, get some white rice and voila! I even know the perfect place to get just the right candle! Thanks for the suggestions! You are a fantastic person to bounce ideas off of…..have a joyous day! 🙂

  20. Fran from Michigan says:

    We did this for my daughters wedding shower. since we live by the lake here in Michigan we found hurricane lamps at the Thrift store, picked up our own sand and sea shells and they looked beautiful. Only one problem we wrapped toile around the outside and one had the toile to high and caught on fire. Luckily we saw it right away and put it out! ( and good thing it happened before the guests arrived, LOL)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *