As their name suggests, tea light candles originated as a way to heat tea kettles. They are usually small, round and fitted inside a thin aluminium cup. One tea light candle gives a subtle sparkle to a room, but a group of tea lights adds a decorative, warm glow. You can use everyday objects around your home to make your own tea light candle holders.
Use Wood for a Natural Look
If you're handy with woodworking, choose a thick, dry log from your backyard. Cut it into a short piece, then cut it in half, lengthwise. Use a drill press to hollow out three (or more) spaces just deep enough for inserting tea light candles. This log candle holder can coordinate with an Adirondack, cabin or woodsy room decor.
Use Gourds for a Thanksgiving Centerpiece
In autumn, choose a few very small pumpkins (gourds) in different colours. Using a melon baller, hollow out the centre of the gourd just deep enough for inserting a tea light candle. Group the gourds together in the centre of a table along with fall leaves and bittersweet branches to create a Thanksgiving table centrepiece.
Let Kids Get into the Action
Find a small terra-cotta dish (similar to a flower pot saucer) or a ramekin. Let your child use acrylic paint to decorate the outside--perhaps flowers for springtime, holly for winter, pumpkins for Halloween or stars for the Fourth of July. Let the dish dry completely before inserting the tea light and burning.
Use Glass Jars for More Sparkle
Check your china cabinet for interesting glass jars. Old jelly jars and wine goblets also work. Simply insert the tea light candle into the centre bottom of the glass jar, then sit the jar on a heat-proof, level surface before lighting. The candlelight will flicker off the glass and provide a cosy look.