Rabbit Shares How to Make Your Own Garden Tea Lights

Finished Tea Light all ready to light up the night, and adorable during the day too.

 Because I love, love, love these adorable garden lights and because unless you live within driving distance you can’t buy one from Running Rabbit Gallery, I am sharing the DIY directions for you.  Why can’t they be mailed? I haven’t figured out how to mail a 3 foot long copper stake cost-effectively–yet, so read on and make some garden fun!

Ingredients: I adore using demitasse-sized cups for these. I have seen others with full sized coffee and tea cups, but the tinier cups are perfect for holding a tea light candle.

cute cups make cute lights
Souvenir spoons are the perfect size

A nice touch is a tiny demitasse spoon, I keep my eyes open at garage sales and Good Will and snag all the itsy bitsy spoons I can. I scored a month ago and found a collection of souvenir spoons which are the perfect size and really cute too. Okay, cute as long as you don’t put them in a rack on the wall, in which case they slide right over to mildly granny-tacky.

You will need 1/2 inch diameter coppper pipe for stakes. You can buy it pre-cut which costs more, or you can pick up an inexpensive pipe-cutter and cut your own. Lowe’s or Home Depot is a great source.

1/2″ copper pipe caps. I get mine at Home Depot because the ones at Lowe’s have a slight curve to the top and your cup will not mount flush and flat, which guarantees good adhesion. If you have to get caps with a slight curve, make very sure you hammer the top flat before you glue them down.

E6000 Glue, available at both Joanne’s and Michaels. Best glue on the planet in my humble opinion.

First step: Glue the cup and saucer together with E6000. Make sure you glue the part of the cup that touches the saucer and then press them together and flip the cup over, saucer up.

Glue on the rim of the cup that touches the saucer.

Squirt some glue on the bottom of the cap and stick it down firmly.

Second step: Glue your flatbottomed cap on the bottom of your saucer and stick it down. Put this assembly aside to dry overnight. You want it really, really dry and adhered before you mess with fitting your copper stake. Save time and make a few more and set them aside too. While your cups are drying cut your stakes. You can make your copper stakes any length you want, short or tall, keep reading for the low down on pipe cutting.

Secured and ready for cutting

These are pipe cutters. There is one on the left for tiny pipe and the one on the right is for cutting larger pipe. We are using the one for larger pipe.

Third Step: Its pretty easy to cut your copper pipe. I am lucky to have a husband with a full on shop, not everyone is going to have a big old bench top vise. You will have to figure out how to hold your pipe steady to cut it. Two chairs and duct tape works for me. We had a ten foot pipe which made four 30″ stakes. The next step is to measure and mark your pipe.

We measured and marked the pipe with a Sharpie marker before cutting.

Open the pipe cutter and place it around the pipe. Twist the knob on the pipe cutter until it feels snug, about a quarter turn.  Then, twist the pipe cutter around the pipe two or three times until it loosens up, tighten it again, about a quarter turn. Do the same thing and keep following these steps until the piple is neatly severed.

Pipe cutter fastened on and turning the knob about a quarter turn to tighten it.

Turn it two or three times and tighten again, its cutting a groove that will eventually cut through the pipe.

Fourth step: Now you have your stakes cut and your cups are thoroughly dry. Time to put the garden lights together. Put a squirt of glue into the cap that is dried on the back of the cup, carefully fit the stake into the cup. Don’t twist side to side, push straight down to avoid stressing the glue bond. Once the stake is fitted, turn it right side up and find somewhere to stick it while it sets.

Glue on the pipe or in the cap to set your stake.

Mount the stake in the cap and then turn it all rightside up to finish drying.

Fifth step: At this point you can adhere your cute spoon too. Dab E6000 on the bowl of the spoon where it touches the saucer, add a tiny dab where the handle rests on the rim for added strength. Let the entire assembly dry.

Souvenir spoons are fairly easy to find and look adorable. I'm keeping the one that has President Eisenhower on it. How cute is that?

After your Tea Lights–pun definitely intended, are completely dry plant them in your garden. How about along a path to illuminate it at night? Pop a tea light candle in and light it and you have a gorgeous light–and if you are using a porcelain cup the whole cup lights up from inside and looks absolutely fabulous. 

Tea light at night, beautiful no?

 If they get filled up with water during rain, no worries, pull them up pour out the water and pop them back in the ground. The glue should last for a good long time. I have one in my yard that has held up for three years. A nice thing is that if a cup should get knocked loose, you can fix it fast with your E6000 and be good to go again.

Finished and planted

If you decide you would like tea lights ready to put into your gardens or for gifts, you can order them from Running Rabbit for just  $15 each. These make a unique one of a kind presentation when you pop one in a plant for a gift. Don’t forget, you have to be close enough to Olympia, WA to get them in person, I still can’t figure out how to mail them….but I’m working on it.

 Enjoy! I’d love to hear how you made your own and how they turned out.

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