1. Fill dish with dried material. If you're using food items, have an extra bowl of the goodies nearby for snacking, so little hands won't be tempted to disturb the lighted display.
2. Press candles (or candleholders) into the dish until stable. Remove excess dried material as needed so that candle wicks are well above the level of the items in the bowl.
3. Light candles. Never leave burning candles unattended.