How to decorate tea lights

Updated July 20, 2017

Tea lights are thin, circular candles that are very inexpensive but incredibly beautiful when it comes to decorating tabletops, creating mood lighting and embellishing celebratory areas. Most tea lights are sold in bulk packages and are used to decorate for occasions such as wedding receptions, birthday parties and Christmas dinners. There are myriad ways to use tea lights, which makes them a very versatile decorating tool. With a few easy-to-find items and some easy techniques, tea lights are utilised in many ways and become a new favourite candle choice when decorating for those special times in your life.

Make a luminary with your tea light. Take a lunch-sized paper bag. Fill the bottom of the bag with 5 cm (2 inches) of sand. Insert a tea light into a clear votive holder and place the holder into the sand base. Light with a long-handled lighter for a beautiful evening luminary. Line walkways with the luminaries.

Float your tea lights. Fill a shallow, wide, heat-resistant bowl with a layer of river rocks, and pour water into your vessel. Insert your tea lights into floating tea light holders, and float a large flower bloom on top of the water for a gorgeous and simple display.

Create fruit, pumpkin or vegetable tea light holders. Take a clear votive candle holder, turn it upside down, and trace the top of it with a maker on the top of a small pumpkin, artichoke or apple. Hollow the traced area out with a paring knife. Insert your tea light into the hollowed out area and light for a festive candle decoration at your next gathering.

Fill a candle chandelier with tea lights. Insert tea lights into clear votive candle holders in a shop-bought candle chandelier, wrap the rungs of the chandelier with faux wired green vine, and hang securely from the ceiling of an outdoor canopy for a dramatic outdoor look.

Embellish a table centrepiece. Lay a mirrored tray on your table with a floral centrepiece in the middle. Insert tea lights in clear votive candle holders, tie a coloured ribbon around the holder, and lay them on top of the mirrored tray all around the centrepiece for beautiful reflective candlelight.

Light up a fireplace candelabra. Add tea lights to the empty candle cup holders on a fireplace candelabra for a wonderful summertime look or for create a gorgeous glow for a non-working fireplace.


Refrigerator your tea lights one hour before use to extend burning times. Display your tea lights in odd numbers for a beautiful visual look.


Never leave a candle burning unattended. Keep candles away from pets.

Things You'll Need

  • White tea lights
  • Paper bags
  • Sand
  • Clear votive holders
  • Long-handled lighter
  • Shallow, heat-resistant bowl
  • River rocks
  • Flower bloom
  • Floating tea light holders
  • Apples
  • Pumpkins
  • Artichokes
  • Marker pen
  • Paring knife
  • Candle chandelier
  • Faux wired green vine
  • Mirrored tray
  • Floral centrepiece
  • Ribbon
  • Fireplace candelabra
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About the Author

Based in upstate New York, Amy Mosher has been writing interior design and lifestyle articles since 2005. She is a prolific professional blogger, designer, artist and writer for various websites. She holds a bachelor's degree from Mansfield University and is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design.