Customise the tealight holders you already have, or use jars or glasses – or something entirely different – to create these inspiring illuminations.
Decorating the inside
Achieve a sophisticated new look with additions to your candle container.
Create a mini winter wonderland on your mantelpiece with a plain glass tealight holder, or a jar. Pour in a 3cm layer of rock salt crystals, top with a tealight and see that snowy sparkle. Finish off the container by tying raffia or ribbon around the top.
Alternatively evoke memories of time on the beach by using a layer of sand instead of salt. You can also add a couple of tiny shells and pebbles, too.
The ‘bed’ for the tealight can be made of almost anything: cloves, coffee beans, beads, berries…
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Decorating the outside
Enhancing the look of a tealight holder can be as easy as tying on a ribbon. Attach a charm or decoration, or beads strung on wire…
Cast pretty shadow patterns with a jar lantern, made as before, by wrapping lacy fabric around it. Either tie with ribbon or glue in place. Paper wraps diffuse the light beautifully; try sheet music or pages from old books. You can also cut shapes out of the paper before attaching it; hearts are perennially popular.
Paint the outside of jars with matt paint, then scratch off round and round, for a shabby chic effect with a combination of random striping and the texture of your brushstrokes.
Draw on a design with glass paint. It can be as intricate or as minimalist as you like: everything from simple spots to squiggly lines, solid blocks to writing…express yourself! Buy a pack of six Berol Glass Pens for £6.99 from Homecrafts.
Bring on the bling: paint the top rim of a glass votive with clear glue, then sprinkle with glitter.
Light your way
Decorate your garden trees, bushes and pathways with al fresco lighting features.
Upcycle a jar. to make a hanging lantern. Wash thoroughly, and wind some wire around the rim to make a hanging handle. Pour in a little sand, gravel or even soil, then top with a tealight or candle stub. (Take care; the handle can get hot in use.)
Luminarias, or paper-bag lights, are common in Mexico and the southern US. You’ll need flat-bottomed thick paper bags (like the sort you get from a sandwich shop). Pour in some sand, gravel or soil, then place a tealight on top. You can cut or punch shapes from the bag, but even when left plain a row of these illuminating a path gives guests a warm welcome. (Strictly for outdoor use only.)
Go for industrial chic and get a little extra use out of your tin cans on the way to the recycling. When you open the lid with a can-opener, leave a small piece attached. Wash the can out, then pop in a tealight, and see the glow reflected off the underside of the lid.
When the temperature drops below freezing, you can make stunning outdoor ice lanterns. Fill a plastic bag with water, tie the top, then lower into a flowerpot or similar container, and leave to freeze overnight. In the morning lift the frozen bag of water out, and remove the plastic from the ice. Usually the centre will not be frozen solid but the sides will, leaving a hollow in the middle for a tealight. If the weather’s not co-operating, you can make these in your freezer.
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