Tea Candle and Ceramic Flower Pot "heater"





Introduction: Tea Candle and Ceramic Flower Pot "heater"

There's been a slight debate on whether this actually works or not. Whether it's convection or radiation, etc. I believe it's radiating the heat which isn't as effective as if it was convecting it. The original designs I found online has a hole at the very top which I guess allowed more convecting. I like mine because it's simply a little cleaner and easy on the eye. It gives off a little heat and is good for your desk. I keep mine directly next to my keyboard and it feels nice while I'm on Instructables!

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Step 1: What You Will Need

  • 1 - Medium ceramic flower pot. Mine is 6"
  • 1 - Small ceramic flower pot. Mine is 4"
  • 1 - Ceramic plate (usually comes with pot, mine is 6")
  • Tea candles (100 for $9.10 here: Amazon.com)
  • 2 - 1/4" x 5" hex bolts (there's a mistake in the picture, both bolts should be fully threaded.
  • 1 - 1/4" coupler bolt
  • 2 - 1/2" nuts
  • 3 - 1/4" nuts
  • 3 - 5/16" x 1-1/2" hex bolts (not shown)
  • 5 - small washers
  • 5 - big washers
  • Drill press/drill
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Lighter

Note: If you have big washers with a small 1/4" hole in them, you can use 5 washers total instead of 10. Also, the two large 1/2" nuts are simply spacers. If you want you can use a small 1-1/2" section of a small pipe, or anything that comes to mind. You will see what I'm talking about in step 4.

Step 2: Drilling Base Holes

  • You'll need your drill, ceramic plate, and sharpie for this step.
  • Drill bit size: 5/16"
  1. There should be a little circle in the middle of the base which is the center. Mark this with your sharpie. Mark your three leg holes. You can measure these out or simply eyeball it like I did. It does not need to be perfect!
  2. Add a little water to where you'll be drilling. Add more if needed throughout the entire drilling process.
  3. Using your new or freshly sharpened drill bit, slowly drill out all four holes. Remember don't push too hard because the opposite side of the ceramic plate will chip off and break underneath. Drill slow, with minimal pressure. This takes some time so be patient.
  4. When done your plate should look like this.

Step 3: Assembling Base Bolt

  • You'll need one 1/4" x 5" bolt, two 1/4" nuts, two small washers, and two big washers. Note: If you have big washers with 1/4" holes use those. I couldn't find any in my workshop and just used two washers to achieve my goal.
  1. From the bottom of the ceramic plate put the bolt through the center hole with your washer(s). If you're using two washers like me make sure the big washer is up against the ceramic and then the small one is on top of the big washer.
  2. Here's what it should look like. It's vital to keep the washers and bolt aligned straight.
  3. Now the same on the top side of the ceramic plate. Big washer, small washer, 1/4" nut.
  4. It should look like this when done. Remember to keep everything lined up nice and straight when you're tightening it up.

Step 4: Assembling the Legs

  • You'll need your 3 x 5/16" bolts and nuts
  1. Drop the three bolts through all three holes.
  2. Flip it upside down and screw the nuts onto all three bolts. Tighten by hand.

Step 5: Assembling Pot Bolt and Spacers

  • You'll need the second 5" x 1/4" bolt, 3 small washers, 3 big washers, 2 BIG nuts. Recommended: If you have big washers with 1/4" holes use those. I didn't have any laying around the workshop.
  1. Place a large washer, small washer, and the bolt through the top of the bigger flower pot like shown in part 1 of the diagram.
  2. On the inside of the pot your going to put a large washer, then a small washer, then a nut. Tighten with screw driver and needle nose pliers. Do not over tighten. Be careful not to break the pot!
  3. Put your spacers down the bolt. Remember: You can use anything here. Whether it's a small metal pipe, an over sized coupling, or even a ton of washers, anything works. I used two BIG nuts as my spacers. Note: You only want your spacer to be about 1". Too big of a spacer will make your inside flower pot stick out below your big pot.
  4. Now some washers. Small than big. Or 1 washer if you have a big one with a 1/4" hole.

Step 6: Inserting Second Ceramic Pot

  1. Place second pot inside the bigger pot.
  2. Like always, big washer, small washer, nut. Tighten with needle nose pliers. Do not over tighten.
  3. Now you should have something that looks like this.
  4. Now screw on your coupler halfway.

Step 7: Connecting Base to Top

  • Screw the base bolt into the coupler. You want to try and turn the whole top part together and make sure the coupler tightens down on the base bolt. If you're not careful the top bolt will start screwing further down the coupler, instead of the coupler tightening onto the base bolt, which we don't want.

Thanks for reading my Instructable I hope you liked it! Please visit my new website AnthCraft.com



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You know, for safety sake, this can also be made to fit over a light bulb instead of using open flame. You can vary the wattage of the bulb for different heat levels and/or use a 3 position socket & bulb and have a variable setting heater...

would this work with some type of metal instead of ceramic pots? I'm wondering about a metal bowl so that it would be less fragile to carry in a vehicle

Yes Dave, it can be done but is not nearly as efficient as using the clay pots... With the metal you do not get the thermal mass afforded by the pots. The metal will give off the heat rather quickly while the clay pot will hold the heat more effectively. Think of the pots as being being a cast iron stove compared to one made of sheet metal...

****CAUTION I have done these for months with the IKEA, plain, metal cup candles. I decided to use some plastic cup, fragranced tea lights and it proved to be SO dangerous. I noticed an odd smell, then realized the terra cotta pots were blackened, flames were up to 12" high. I tried to blow it out, but it just increased and wouldn't lesson. I threw flour on it and it just simmered. I finally pushed a dish towel on the flames and killed the fire. I had NO idea the fragranced tea lights would cause this. If someone has an explanation, feel free to tell me what happened.

NEVER throw flour on a fire, you can make it explode...the dust is highly combustible. You can make a much bigger fire. Baking soda can be put on a fire. The best thing is to smother it by covering it with a solid metal bowl or similar object or use a fire extinguisher. If you only have a dish towel, soak it in water first or it may also catch fire.


First off in order to understand how it happened you might want to know how candles burn both scented and unscented. The wax actually burns and evaporates. It is capable of becoming to hot and burn like oil. So if any of the wax spilled over and onto to play form this can cause a fire it can ignite without a wick at high enough temperatures. Best bet is to always make sure you have plenty of air as to keep the candle wax cool enough not to ignite and always clean up a spill as soon as possible. Or use a small glass tea light candle holders from the dollar store, something thing that catch the spill.

Never throw flour on a fire. Use baking soda. Flour can ignite.

Was it too hot for the plastic?

I made and modified this a bit. for the base plate I just drilled one hole in the center and flipped it upside down for the footing. at first I copied this indestructible exactly and it gave off good heat and worked as the best hand warmer ever!! then I converted it to convection to see if there was a real difference by drilling a few holed in a tuna can and mounting that over the small pot. instead on the larger pot getting really hot, hot air flows from the top. I think this heats air nicely. both have a noticeable difference in air temperature. one is an awesome hand warmer.