What Is Tea Lighting?

What is Tea Lighting?

Tea lights are small candles in containers, measuring about 1.5 inches wide by 0.75 inches high. They are typically made of paraffin wax and come in colors like white, ivory, or dyed shades. Tea lights get their name from their original use in warming teapots in British tea culture, but they are now used in a variety of applications.

The origins of tea lighting candles are not entirely known, but they became popular in Britain in the Victorian era. Wealthy Victorian families used tea lights to keep food and drink warm during parties and dinners. The candles were placed under dishes and teapots to maintain heat. Tealights were also used to provide lighting and ambiance in Victorian homes [1].

Later, in the 20th century, tea lights made their way over to America and grew in popularity for their inexpensive cost and versatility. Modern tea lights are now mass-produced and used for decor, lighting, warming, aromatherapy, and more [2].

Types of Tea Lights

Tea lights come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and styles to suit different needs.

Some common types of tea lights include:

  • Votive tea lights – These are the standard cylindrical shape and are designed to fit into candle holders.
  • Container tea lights – These come in a metal tin or glass container and don’t require a separate holder.
  • Floating tea lights – Designed to float on water, these have a wider base and hollow bottom.
  • Colored tea lights – Rather than just plain white, these come in assorted colors like red, blue, green, etc.
  • Scented tea lights – Tea lights infused with fragrances like lavender, vanilla, apple cinnamon, etc.

Tea lights allow for flexibility and customization for any use or decor. With different shapes, materials, smells, and colors available, there are tea lights suitable for candle holders, centerpieces, outdoor decor, aromatherapy, spa ambiance, and more.

Popular styles include the classic wax votive tea light as well as versatile floating tea lights. Fragranced and colored tea lights also provide sensory elements beyond just the candlelight.

Overall, tea lights come in a wide selection so people can find the perfect options to light up their specific needs.

(Source: https://www.etsy.com/market/tea_lights)

Tea Light Materials

Tea lights are commonly made from paraffin wax, soy wax, or gel wax.

Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct and the most common tea light material. It’s inexpensive, long-lasting, and releases a bright flame. However, paraffin wax produces more smoke and soot than other waxes.

common tea light materials include paraffin wax, soy wax, and gel wax

Soy wax is made from soybean oil and often blended with other natural waxes. It’s biodegradable and burns cleaner than paraffin wax. Soy wax tea lights don’t release petroleum emissions, but the flame may not be as bright.

Gel wax tea lights contain mineral oil so they feel wet. They’re smokeless, dripless, and odorless, producing a calm, rounded flame. Gel wax tea lights don’t release wax as they burn. However, they are more expensive and don’t burn as long as other tea light waxes.

There are also beeswax and palm wax tea lights, which are eco-friendly options. However, these specialty waxes can be more expensive and harder to find than the standard wax varieties.

Tea Light Sizes

Tea lights come in a variety of sizes, with the most common being:

  • Standard size – These are the typical tea lights, measuring 21mm tall by 38mm wide. Standard tea lights fit most regular tea light holders.
  • Mini size – Mini tea lights are smaller than standard ones, usually around 15mm tall by 25mm wide. They are designed to fit into more compact tea light holders.
  • Large size – Large tea lights range from 25-30mm tall and around 50mm wide. They allow the candle to burn longer and provide more fragrance. According to WannaSkore Candles, large tea lights can burn for up to 6 hours.
  • Novelty shapes – Tea lights also come in fun novelty shapes like hearts, stars, and flowers. These are decorative but generally burn for less time than standard rounds.

The size and shape of the tea light affects the burn time, fragrance, and aesthetics. It’s important to choose a tea light size appropriate for the intended holder and purpose.

Tea Light Holders

Tea lights need a container or holder to burn safely and properly. Tea light holders come in a variety of materials like glass, ceramic, metal, and more. Some popular styles of tea light holders include:

  • Glass holders – Glass tea light holders allow the candlelight to shine through and create a warm ambient glow. Glass also disperses heat safely. Some decorative etched glass holders are available on Amazon.
  • Ceramic holders – Ceramic and porcelain tea light holders provide sturdiness and interesting visual textures. Glazed ceramic holders are decorative but also functional for containing melted wax.
  • Metal holders – Metal tea light holders like tin, aluminum, or copper are also durable options. Metal conducts heat well so some holders may get hot.
  • Floating holders – Floating tea light holders rest in a bowl or tray of water, allowing the candle to gently drift while burning. Glass votives or small terra cotta pots work well for this.

The holder shape, design, and material should suit the intended use. Enclosed holders contain wax drips while open holders allow aroma to disperse. Hanging and wall mounted holders provide ambient lighting. Novelty holders make decorative gifts. Ultimately the holder provides a safe foundation for maximum tea light enjoyment.

Uses for Tea Lights

Tea lights are versatile and have many uses beyond just lighting tea pots. Some popular uses for tea lights include:

Decor – Tea lights can create a warm, cozy ambiance and be used to decorate a room. They are commonly placed in glass jars, lanterns, or other decorative holders. Tea lights are popular for centerpieces and to decorate for special events or holidays.

Aromatherapy – Scented tea lights can be used to fill a room with a lovely fragrance. Lavender, vanilla, and citrus scents are common for relaxation or setting a mood.

Lighting – Tea lights provide a soft, ambient light, making them useful for illuminating dark corners or creating mood lighting. Their small size allows tea lights to be placed nearly anywhere.

Warming – Tea lights release heat as they burn, so they can be used to gently warm small items or food. Placing a tea light under a scented wax tart or essential oil diffuser can help the scent disperse.

According to The Lamplife, “If you are looking for something that will help you accent the lighting of the room then Tea Light candles are the best for you!” (source). Their versatile size and brightness make tea lights useful for decoration and lighting in any room.

Tea Light Safety

Using tea lights safely involves following some common sense precautions. The most important rule is to never leave burning tea lights unattended. According to the XXL HERCTM Oven safety tips, “This means that the candle’s burning process is in balance. The wick is efficiently pulling up the right amount of wax, which leaves no excess liquid wax pooling around the candle’s base” (titanreadyusa.com). Allowing excess wax to pool can increase the risk of fire.

Supervise children around tea lights at all times. The small size can make them tempting for kids to play with, but the metal containers can get very hot and the naked flame poses an obvious danger. Do not place tea lights within reach of pets for the same reasons.

Avoid placing tea lights near flammable materials like curtains, dried flowers or piles of papers. Only use holders made from non-flammable materials like metal, glass or ceramic. Extinguish tea lights before going to sleep or leaving the room. With proper precautions, tea lights can be used safely to create charming ambiance and decorative lighting effects.

Tea Light Burn Times

Tea lights typically burn for 1-6 hours, depending on the type of wax and casing used.

Standard paraffin wax tea lights in metal casings burn for around 3-4 hours 1. Higher quality wax such as soy or beeswax can extend burn times up to 6 hours. Plastic casings tend to increase burn time up to 5-6 hours as they insulate the candle better.

Extra large or maxi tea lights can burn for up to 9 hours thanks to more wax content 2. Battery operated LED tea lights also last 6-12 hours before the batteries need changing.

In summary, standard tea lights burn for 1-4 hours, while higher quality or larger tea lights can burn for up to 6-9 hours. Checking the packaging or online product details will give you a good estimate of a tea light’s expected burn time.

Buying Tea Lights

Tea lights can be purchased from a variety of retailers, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Some places where you can buy tea lights include:

Craft Stores – Major craft stores like Michaels, Joann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby have a large selection of tea lights in their candle aisles. You can buy them individually or in multi-packs. According to Bestevent.com, a 4 pack of battery operated tea lights costs around $4.

Grocery Stores – Many grocery stores like Safeway and Kroger sell tea lights near their regular candles or in the home goods section. These are often very inexpensive, usually less than $1 for a pack of 10-20.

Online Retailers – You can find a huge variety of tea lights being sold online at Amazon, eBay, Walmart.com, and specialty sites like CandleScience.com. These sites allow you to buy tea lights in bulk quantities at wholesale prices. For example, Amazon sells a pack of 120 tea lights for around $16.

If buying tea lights in bulk for an event or wedding, check with local party rental companies. They may be able to offer discounted pricing on large orders of 50 packs or more, according to a commenter on the Facebook group What’s Going on St.Thomas?.

Tea Light Crafts and Design

Tea lights offer an inexpensive and versatile material for crafting and design. Their small size and warm glow make them perfect for creating beautiful centerpieces, decorative displays, and DIY projects.

For centerpieces, an easy idea is to float multiple tea lights in a glass vase or bowl filled with water. Add flowers, leaves, or other embellishments for a elegant table decoration. Tea lights can also be nestled into a bed of sand, stones, or beads in a platter or tray for a natural look. Arrange pillar candles of varying heights with tea lights scattered around the base for drama and visual interest.

Tea lights make charming accents when used creatively around the home. Glue tea lights to the inside of glass jars to make twinkling lanterns. Arrange rows of tea lights along stair railings or across mantles and bookshelves. Suspend tea lights in paper bags or glass jars from tree branches in the yard to create a magical glow. Use tea light holders and reflective surfaces like mirrors or glass beads to amplify their sparkle.

For DIY projects, tea lights can be used to make personalized luminaries. Cut patterns into paper lunch bags secured over tea lights. Decorate the outside of the bags with ribbon, lace, or decoupage for a one-of-a-kind look. Tea lights can also be set into drilled holes in wood slices or blocks to add charm to centerpieces, wreaths, and more. The simple addition of tea lights brings warmth, ambiance, and creativity to any space or project.

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