Let your creative side shine through clear vases filled with found and inexpensive items.

For seasonal decorating or just for dinner parties and a touch of color around your home, you can’t beat hurricane vases.

Any tall or wide, clear glass vase offers endless possibilities for holding candles, decorative stones and store-purchased dried fruits and flowers. You can save money and boost creative possibilities by looking for a few items around your home, lawn or local grocery store to fill the vases or at least supplement the many choices available at craft stores and in home décor departments.

Try these ideas for inspiration:

  • Layer decorative pebbles or stones with color-coordinated food items from your pantry. Dried items like kidney or coffee beans are earthy colors, for example. Popcorn kernels are a great fall choice, along with gold candles.
  • Or try drying your own items. Rose hips, the striking berry-sized seed pods left after roses bloom, can be used for tea and other healthy edibles. They’ll dry naturally on the bush, or you can dry them on a screen in your home. You also can dry citrus peels. Just scrape off all of the fruit and lay the peel in a single layer on an open rack for a few days. Layer these natural items in a vase with each other, with decorative stones or fillers.
  • Your dried items also can surround a candle for a pop of color or seasonal effect. Split peas are a popular choice for natural green around a soft white candle.
  • Who says fruit has to be in a bowl? Whole lemons and limes are a natural choice, but a mixture of seasonal apples (reds and greens) looks great in a large glass vase. When they’ve served their time, bake them up in a pie! If you have a smaller vase or want to add flowers, try tinier key limes and kumquats.
  • Slicing fruits to border clear vases for flower arrangements is another popular trend. Only citrus fruits will work; sliced apples and pears turn brown. The citrus shortens the life of the flowers in the vase, so the design only works for a short time (it’s a popular wedding arrangement) or you can place a smaller vase inside to contain the flower stems separately. The sliced fruit, standing on edge all around the vase’s side, will hide the inside vase and flower stems.
  • Candy is another popular seasonal choice. Valentine or Easter arrangements can feature hard candies like conversational hearts or colored eggs. If you use a lower, wider vase, you can add a pop of spring flowers in the middle. Try a retro candy arrangement for a school reunion.
  • If you want to add a touch of elegance to a dinner party table or a romantic evening at home, take a small hurricane vase, line the bottom half or so with sand, then add a thin layer of loose fake pearls, beads, racelet charms or similar bling you have laying around the house or in your craft box. Add a scented candle in the middle.
  • Other natural choices for vases are right in your backyard. Cut twigs and branches make easy arrangements. You can’t match red twig dogwood cuttings, but birch is also a beautiful wood choice. Any bunch of interesting dried branches or stems will do as an arrangement held by sand, rocks, pebbles or marbles. Or you can simply toss them loosely into the vase and see how they fall.
  • Pine cones are terrific seasonal fillers, paired with a few fall fruits, dried leaves, purchased fillers or Christmas decorations.
  • Do you collect any small items? Maybe thimbles, wine corks or matchbooks? Use a hurricane vase to hold your collection and display it. If you place a smaller vase inside before filling the large vase, you might be able to add flowers or a tapered candle. It all depends on how valuable – and flammable! your collection might be.

Finally, any combination of elements – fire, water, earth – makes for a great arrangement. Place stones on the bottom of your vase, topped off with a flower blossom (the stones can hold down a long stem). Pour in clear water and add a floating candle at the top.