Introduction: Tea Light Lamps (an Easy Last-Second Gift)

About: So many things to learn and make, so little time! I like things that are cool, useful, efficient, well crafted.

Make a last-second gift, with long drink glasses (possibly used ones), tracing paper (or inkjet transparencies) and tee lights. It's really easy!

You can change of design whenever wanted, or revert the glasses to their initial function.

How are the candles placed and lit? read on...

If you like this instructable, please vote for it! TiA.

UPDATE Jan 13, 2010: Runner-up position in the Homemade Holidays Contest!  A big thank you to all who voted for this entry!

Step 1: Needed Stuff

  • Tracing paper, or inkjet transparency sheets
  • Narrow and tall glasses (thick enough to contain a tea light), as straight as possible
  • Tea lights
  • Steel wire (1.2mm thick), or brass or copper wire (2.5mm thick)
  • Clear adhesive tape

  • Cutting mat
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil, cissors, ruler
  • Pliers
  • Laser printer (for tracing paper) or inkjet printer (for inkjet transparencies), and computer

Step 2: Make Candle Holder

Bend the wire as shown to hold the candle safely.

Optionally, add a bead at the top end, and stick it carefully with epoxy, reliability counts here!

Step 3: Measure Glass, Design and Print Tracing Paper Sheets

With a paper band, mark and measure the upper and lower diameters, and the height of the glass. Add 5mm to each length.

In your favorite drawing software (e.g. OpenOffice Draw), create a trapeze of measured sizes to mark the borders, and import a picture of your choice. Size it to fit into the trapeze.

Personally, since I only had tracing paper on hand, and after some trials, I choose some black/white Japaneses patterns:
  • tracing paper prints best with a laser printer (with inkjet, it will form a roll when still wet).
  • The contrast is maximum, with lots of black areas (which will give a more intimate atmosphere);
  • tracing paper is a great diffuser on white areas.
With inkjet overhead transparencies, you can use any colors you like. Instead of white areas, use light colors to serve as diffuser.

Step 4: Cut and Place Sheet

  1. Cut the bottom side, and one vertical side
  2. Stick tape on the inner side as shown (see image notes)
  3. Wrap the glass and stick the paper to the tape. The paper is sticked to itself, not to the glass. Align the paper to the bottom end of the glass
  4. Cut off excess paper on the top end of the glass
  5. Remove the glass, cut off excess paper, put back the glass into the paper
  6. (UPDATE 2009-12-27) When becoming warm, the tape might come off by itself. Apply one or two small drops of glue to fix it.
That's it!

Step 5: Done!

Use the holder to raise the candle and light it. Enjoy your lamps.

Candles are no toys, handle with caution
Never leave unattended

Thanks for reading. If you like this instructable, make some and post your best ones!


Homemade Holidays Contest

Runner Up in the
Homemade Holidays Contest