How to make garden tea-light holders

Ros Badger / 01 July 2015

These tea-light holders by Ros Badger can give any occasion a touch of sparkle. Find out how to make them with our guide.



Tea lights sitting in their sparkly holders and candlelight in general can make even the most everyday occasion seem magical.

Whether you use tea lights to line the path directing guests to a party or hang them from low branches in the garden on a balmy summer evening, their radiating light will make you feel as though you are somewhere exotic. The more the merrier, so make the most of summer and light up your evenings outdoors with pretty homemade holders.

This is probably one of the simplest yet most effective projects. It’s quick and, in the best tradition of ‘make do and mend’, you are likely to have all the materials already lying around at home.

You will need

  • Lots of clean jam jars
  • Galvanised wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Indelible marker pens (Sharpies are good)
  • Wire wool (or scratchy kitchen cleaning pad)
  • Chicken wire

How to make

First, look for inspiration. I had some birthday cards lying around and the simple lines of Angie Lewin’s floral illustrations inspired me to draw seed heads around my first jam jar.

For the second one, I borrowed an idea from Andy Warhol and drew alternate-coloured hearts onto a plain background.

For my third tea-light holder, I wrapped pre-cut chicken wire around the jam jar, twisting the ends together with pliers to form a vertical seam and moulding the bottom edge under the base with my hands.

I then threaded thin galvanised (or fuse) wire through the top edge, drawing it in towards the neck of the jar.

For the other two jars

I worked freehand, drawing directly onto the glass. Any mistakes can be erased easily using wire wool or a scratchy cleaning pad.

I limited my palette for a subtle look, but you can be as colourful as you like.

To make a handle, cut a piece of wire long enough to wind around the neck of the jar twice and to make a double-twisted handle.

Find the midpoint of the wire, and place it at the back of the jar neck. Now bring both ends round the neck of the jar, twist once and wind back round.

Using pliers, twist the two long free ends together to secure the wire round the jar. Continue twisting the two ends together to create a barley-twist effect.

Fold over the twisted wire to form the handle. Thread one of the ends under the wire ring around the neck of the jar and join it to the remaining end, twisting them together again to hold them in place. Snip off the ends to neaten them.

For more crafty ideas, visit our Craft & Hobbies section.

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