Consumer Technology

Published on November 23rd, 2013 | by Important Media Cross-Post


DIY Tea Lighter (VIDEO)

November 23rd, 2013 by  

Originally published on Crafting A Green World.
By Becky Striepe


When you think energy conservation, crafting might not spring immediately to mind, but this tea light heater can heat a whole room for pennies!

This DIY heater made from tea lights and terra cotta flower pots is actually not that new, but now that cold weather is here it’s making the rounds again. The project comes from Dylan Winter of Keep Turning Left, and he uses the heater in the video to warm his small home studio.

To make your own tea light heater that will last for about four hours, you will need:

  • four tea lights – you can actually get six hours of heat instead of four and make this an even greener project by choosing eco-friendly, slower-burning soy candles!
  • a metal loaf pan
  • two terra cotta pots – one smaller than the other, so you can nest them together
  • the empty metal tin from an old tea light
  • a hot plate or old magazine, to put the apparatus on

Need your heater to run longer? Replace the tea lights as they wear out. Check out the video for a demo on how to set this puppy up:

There are actually lots of DIY energy conservation projects out there! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use my crafty skills to conserve energy all winter long:

I would love to hear from you guys! What DIY energy conservation projects have you done around your home?

Image Credit: Terra Cotta Pots photo via Shutterstock

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , ,

About the Author

-- CleanTechnica is one of 18 blogs in the Important Media blog network. With a bit of overlap in coverage, we sometimes repost some of the great content published by our sister sites.


    Found a way to have a much more STABLE base for the unit. I used an old 9 inch cast iron frying pan instead of the bread pan or meatloaf pan. Then fitted an upside down 8 inch round metal basket inside the cast iron frying pan that raised the flower pots level slightly higher (approx ⅞ of an inch) than the cast iron frying pan’s edge’s level to let oxygen to get to the flames. Cast iron frying pan’s handle also makes it easier to move the space heater, {if necessary}, besides giving it a low circular heavy base that is NOT going to be tipped over!

    To modify (compact) the source of heat, the next thing to do is to put the vegetable shortening in the empty 12 oz. tuna fish can and then put an old saucer in a frying pan that was half full of water. Once the water came to a boil, place the can of vegetable shortening on the saucer. As the vegetable shortening melts, vanilla extract or lemon extract is added to the solution; this gives the vegetable shortening candle a very nice aroma while it burns. Keep adding vegetable shortening and the flavor extract until the can is full to the brim.

    Cooling the liquid back into a solid is best performed by either placing the can in the refrigerator and/or the freezer. After the solution becomes solid, push four (4) of the small birthday cake candles equidistant from each other into the matrix. The birthday cake candles supplies wicks that are better than any DIY homemade wicks.

    By melting the vegetable shortening first, this REMOVES all of the air that the manufacturer places in the product during its production. This will help insure 5+ hours of burn time per oz. for each wick in the matrix.

    Now there is one (1) fire unit, instead of four (4) separate fire units, that should give the user 10+ hours of continuous burn time for their flower pot space heater!

    The ‘secret’ to good design of any device is to REDUCE the number of
    functioning parts down to the bare minimum!

    If the user wants to stick more with the original design, the user could also make a {lamp oil and/or cooking oil} candle out of an old 2.5 oz. baby food jar X 4 and use those instead of tea lights since the user can get about 5 hours of burn time for each ounce of fluid! This way the user can refill the fluid candle bottles as
    needed and there is a much less chance of the heater being knocked over.

  • mds

    Your burning up your oxygen in that room and replacing it with CO2. Not a good plan. Space heater is better. More renewable energy on the grid. Insulate homes better.

    • mds

      Sorry: You’re not Your

  • James Van Damme

    Hmmm, 400 watt computer, couple lights…how about a radiant heater aimed at your chair? At least take the pots off so you can get some light and ambiance. And maybe a CO monitor just for fun.

  • Ronald Brakels

    How much paffarin is in a tealight? 10 grams? If so then at 14 pence per kilowatt-hour it would be cheaper and considerably safer to use a space heater to warm a room. And using a heat pump would be much cheaper. Burning paraffin instead of using a space heater may save on CO2 emissions in places that have mostly coal generated electricity, but except in the most CO2 intensive grids a using a heat pump will produce less CO2 than paraffin.

  • cmeyer

    I’m not sure how this qualifies as energy conservation. Each of the tea lights has x amount of chemical energy that gets converted to heat as they burn up – regardless of what you put over them. As for tea lights as a fuel source, I suspect heating a similar room with your natural gas furnace ends up being far more efficient and releases far less CO2 in the end. How about compared to using electric space heaters? Even if 100% of your electricity comes from a coal fired power plant, I suspect the energy inputs required to make the little tea lights (paraffin wax production, manufacture of the little ‘tin’ cup, shipping handling etc.) gives the little tea lights a larger carbon footprint and even larger cost, than an equivalent kwH of electric energy. In the end, this is an interesting ‘crafty’ project, but hardly qualifies as energy conservation.

Back to Top ↑