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Tea lights are wonderful items to keep around the house. They, of course, provide a little light in a pinch, say a power outage, or when the need for flickering atmospheric lighting sneaks up on you. But, tea lights are much more useful than that.

In fact, tea lights were originally used to keep the tea warm. Teapots were put above bases where the tea light was burning, and the heat from the candle kept the tea warm. Hence, “tea” light. Teapot warmer stands are still on sale and work as well as ever.

Well, a world of creative minds has gone to work on the tea light ever since then, and all sorts of fun discoveries have been made. With a little know-how, tea lights can do wondrous things that are sometimes beautiful and even potentially money-saving.

1. Mason jar lantern

Rather than just using the tea candle as is to provide some soft lighting, we can repurpose old glass jars to make attractive lanterns. This can be as simple as putting a tea light on a jar and setting it on the table. With a little wire, they can be easily fashioned into hanging lights. Some people like to paint the jars and make designs for interesting shadows.

2. Air freshener

Paired with a bit of essential oil, tea lights also make wonderful air fresheners. The oil could be dripped directly onto the candle to do this. Or, an old jar lid with essential oils and water can be suspended over the tea candle to provide scented vapor that’ll fill the room. Another popular option is to put a tea candle in a jar or bowl of coffee beans.

3. Space heater

One popular do-it-yourselfer means of creating a space heater is using a tea light. It involves a clay plant pot, a few tea lights, something fire-proof for lights to sit on, and something to raise the pot off the ground above the tea lights. This provides a few degrees of warmth in a small space, but sometimes that’s enough to keep pipes from bursting.

4. Tea light cooker

Burning tea lights involves fire and, thus, produces heat. When that heat is focused, it can be used to cook. One candle isn’t going to bring food to a boil, but a few candles together might. There is a pretty cool method of opening a can of something, cutting the can to make a tea light cooker, and cooking the contents above the candle. They are great for enjoying fondue as well.

5. Tea candle holders

Another way tea candles are great is that we can turn lots of different things into holders for them. For example, a few holes drilled into a beautiful piece of driftwood can make it a beautiful tea light display. Quilled paper can make nice stands for tea lights. Lots of people will put them in wine glasses or martini glasses. It just adds some pizzazz.

6. Holiday decorations

It’s not unusual to see tea lights used in Halloween decorations, i.e. the Jack-o’-Lantern. They are also commonly part of Diwali celebrations. They can be more than that, however. Using mason jars and paint, we can create snowmen or glowing holiday scenes. We could paint the likeness of a US flag for the 4th of July. We can do all sorts of decorations, and this can be a fun project with the kids to get them in the spirit.

7. DIY tea lights

As fun as getting creative with store-bought tea lights is making a few DIY tea lights at home. This requires a bit of candlewick (any thick, cotton twine), some wax (could be saved wax from burnt candles), and some bottle caps or jar lids. Use a bit of melted wax to set the wick in the center and then fill the cap/lid with melted wax and let it set. Add some scents to make it an aromatherapy tealight or bug-repelling candle.

Tea lights are extremely inexpensive, they don’t go bad or run out of batteries, and they are definitely worth keeping around the house.

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