How to Make Decorative Tealight Candles

Written by danielle hansen
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How to Make Decorative Tealight Candles
A decorative holder can add a twist to even plain white tea lights. (Diamond Candle Holder on a White Background. image by daseaford from

Tea lights are small, usually white, candles encased in a small metal container. Many home decor stores offer tea lights in different colours and designs to match a wide variety of decorating schemes. Since tea lights are relatively small and unobtrusive they can be used in any home for decorative or functional use. Try setting a few decorative tea light candles out on a coffee table or night stand. Not only will they serve to set a peaceful mood, they'll come in handy during the next power outage while you're hunting for flashlights.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tea light holders
  • Wicks with tea light bases
  • Wax
  • Colour (optional)
  • Fragrance (optional)
  • Double boiler
  • Paint
  • Small trinkets or gemstones
  • Super glue
  • Studs or earrings (optional)

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  1. 1

    Place the tea light base tabs in the bottom of the metal tea light holders. Use scissors to trim the wick so that the tip of it is about 1/8 of an inch above the top of the holder.

  2. 2

    Melt your wax pellets or flakes over low heat in a double boiler until smooth and lump free. If you don't own a double boiler place your wax in a small jar, and place the jar in a pot of boiling water. Add small pieces of coloured wax to your base wax while melting if you prefer coloured tea lights.

  3. 3

    If desired, add fragrance oil to your melted wax, and stir gently before removing from heat. Plastic and metal utensils work best for stirring, as dried wax can be hard to remove from wood and silicone.

  4. 4

    Arrange your metal tea light holders in a shallow baking dish. Using a small funnel to prevent spills, pour your wax into the tea light holders, filling them to the brim. Let dry for at least one hour or until tea lights are hard to the touch.

  5. 5

    Paint the outside of your metal containers with enamel or another craft paint suitable for metal. Let dry, and add a coat of paint gloss if desired. Let gloss dry completely before adding any embellishments.

  6. 6

    Use super glue to attach small trinkets or gems to the outside of your tea light holder. Add a small dab of glue to the tea light holder and press your decoration firmly into place. Use a cotton swab to wipe away excess glue and let dry for at least an hour.

  7. 7

    If you prefer tea lights without a holder, remove the metal casing after drying and decorate your candles by pressing earrings or studs into the candle sides. It's best to plan your design ahead of time when using this method, as mistakes are not easily hidden once the wax is pierced.

Tips and warnings

  • Palm kernel flakes are one of the best choices for decorative tea lights. It burns a lot longer than beeswax and other types of common candle wax and is fairly affordable at around £4 for 227gr.
  • Add a small amount of glitter to your paint gloss in Step 5 for a shinier sheen.
  • Instead of pricey professional coloured wax, add small wax crayon shavings to your wax in Step 2 to save money and use up old crayons.
  • Be cautious anytime you are working with hot wax. Although it usually stays fairly low in temperature it can become extremely hot when melting and cause burns if handled improperly.
  • Avoid using glue guns to attach gems to your candles. The glue is very hot and can melt the sides of the candles, giving them a lumpy and uneven look.

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