DIY Thread LED Tealight Cover


I was messing around with different materials trying to dress up a little LED tealight, and this is one of the versions I ended up liking (plus it’s dirt cheap since it’s just thread!). I love me some textures. This may be useful for those with wedding venues that don’t allow real flames.

Finding these* at the dollar store is what started this mess…

1) Get your hands on some thin cardboard that you’ll be recycling anyway. I used the back of a pasta box.
2) Find some wrapping plastic (try to use something you’ll toss anyway!)

3. Cut cardboard to desired height. The width should be AT LEAST a little more than the circumference of the tealight (it can be bigger if you want).

4. Roll the cardboard and tape the edge.

5. Make sure your cardboard roll can at least fit the tealight inside.

6. Cut and wrap the plastic over the cardboard roll, then tape it down.

7. Wrap thread (thicker thread recommended) around the roll loosely. It should be tight enough to stay in place, but loose enough to slide off with a little help. Make sure the edges are relatively close to perpendicular to your roll (otherwise they’ll be tilted). You can use more thread for a thicker cover or to make it taller if you’d like. I did here what I think is close to the minimum to let the most light shine through.

8. Saturate with a fabric stiffener (available at craft stores or fabric stores) and follow instructions on the bottle for drying.

9. Mine said I could microwave it for super speed drying, so I did for 30 seconds. Freaked me out a little to see the liquid bubbling on the thread, but it turned out fine.

10. Check and make sure it’s close to dry.
11. Carefully crumble and pull out the cardboard without damaging the shape of the thread.
12. Carefully remove the plastic without damaging the shape of the thread.

13. Now stick the LED tealight in it and there ya go!

You can make different sizes and shapes. It probably works with yarn and ribbons just as well. And of course, you can use whatever color thread you like…

… and configure it however you want!

* Batteries were included, and they lasted for many hours. They even flickered to imitate a real flame… can’t beat that for fiddy-cent a pop. Though, I gotta say that they’re a tad dim. If you want to do a bunch of these, you should buy one and make sure it’s bright enough for you first.

Happy crafting!


Mrs. Green Tea

Wedding Date:
August 2008
Married in Montana: Wedding Party Portraits
Some Surprises Along the Way!
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  1. hotcocoa Member
    hotcocoa 2098 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:40 am

    You are a mad genius.

  2. greentea Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 2:01 am

    @Mochacoca: WOW, cool beans! thanx for letting me know!

    @xxk4r3nxx: ooo! balloons! i can totally work with that, thanx for the tip!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    thekeybunch, Guest @ 5:23 am

    Wow, this is a cool idea..loved it!

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Beth, Guest @ 12:37 am

    How cool this is. Looks like something I could create without blowing up my garage.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Jessica, Guest @ 9:53 am

    Found your link on Curbly. GREAT post! This is such a fabulous looking crafty idea. Keep up the good work!

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Liz W, Guest @ 11:11 am

    This such a great idea, found it through stumble. I am planning my own budget wedding (see website) and will think about using these.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Emma, Guest @ 7:48 pm

    Could I use Heavy Starch for this, and still dry it in the microwave?

  8. greentea Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 3:27 am

    @Emma: i imagine fabric stiffener is like starch, but i am not expert to tell you for certain. i would recommend drying per the instructions that came with the chemicals you decide to use.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Megan J, Guest @ 10:45 am

    You could also use sugar-water starch for this. My grandma used to make Easter egg decorations like this using crochet thread wrapped around a balloon & dipped in the sugar water. Once it dries, you just pop the balloon!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    TIPSONBUYINGPC, Guest @ 2:27 pm

    great product.!

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    LANDLORDBUILDING, Guest @ 2:28 pm

    how much do you think will be the budget for this.?

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Newcake, Guest @ 12:59 pm


    To the first person who commented: I’d be really careful using this around actually LIT candles with flame. I imagine the string and stiffening spray make the string pretty flammable. Be careful!

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Bikini-Hotline, Guest @ 1:25 pm

    Great inexpensive idea to dress up an LED light. Absolutely love the creativity here. Great job.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    arsenalrnd, Guest @ 5:12 am

    what type of string did u use? where did u buy it? thanks..
    love your work.

  15. greentea Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 4:15 pm

    @arsenalrnd: two of the pics above show the exact spool of thread i used by coats & clark which is available at most store where thread is sold (your local fabric store, joann’s, walmart fabric dept), but i’m pretty sure any thread will work.

  16. Member
    kimmzy 1 posts, Wannabee @ 4:45 pm

    I love this! I am drawn in by the fact that they are so easy to do and look so chic.

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    arsenalrnd, Guest @ 12:49 am

    does the thread supposed to melt?
    i mean, is the material plastic like or cotton like?
    because i tried twice and it didnt work.
    i tried using regular thread (crochet) and plastic like thread and both didnt work..

    let me know?

    thanks =)

  18. greentea Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 12:46 pm

    @arsenalrnd: there is no melting. the stiffener simply sticks.

    i checked and the thread i used is 100% nylon, though i’m pretty sure that regular thread or yarn would work the same. pls check to make sure you’re following the directions on your stiffener correctly, and that you used enough stiffener and string material to provide proper support.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    Katie, Guest @ 10:38 pm

    Thanks for the awesome craft idea! I’ve never seen anything like this. If you are looking to advertise/sell them you should check into Wonderful opportunity. I know so many friends who would adore this!

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Foodaholic, Guest @ 4:05 pm

    Those look fantastic. How creative!

  21. poodle Member
    poodle 3386 posts, Sugar bee @ 3:26 am

    wow this are awesome!!!

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Heather - Dollar Store Crafts, Guest @ 2:38 am

    How cool! I’m going to link to this from – found via One Pretty Thing. Thanks!

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    Jan, Guest @ 7:07 pm

    How fabulous! I, too, will keep my eyes open for some tea lights! Great site!

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    LessieGrey, Guest @ 4:36 pm

    Isnt that dangerous microwaving so many artificial goods? What kind of chemicals would that release?

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    Alison@howdoesshe, Guest @ 4:03 pm

    This is GREAT!!!! How in the world did you think of it??? LoVe It!
    I stumbled the post!

  26. greentea Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 12:33 pm

    @LessieGrey: microwaves excites water and metals and I put in cardboard, plastic wrap, and thread, so I don’t believe this releases any toxic chemicals. As for the stiffener, I microwaved only per the instructions.

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Peter Moss, Guest @ 10:20 pm

    Call me old fashioned but I would use candles instead.

  28. Member
    aieshatreadwell 13 posts, Newbee @ 3:34 pm

    Im really loving this idea… are wonderful, and creative…. thanks….. my wedding on a budget is going to look like a million bucks

  29. Member
    Butterbee 874 posts, Busy bee @ 4:44 am

    Is it just me, or does this remind anyone else of shredded wheat? but in a good way

  30. Guest Icon Guest
    Amanda, Guest @ 9:09 am

    I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this post today from the new Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. :) My hope is to share many of the fabulous projects I see everyday with the vast CG audience. I hope you will not only stop by and subscribe to CG, but will tell your friends about the new category! Hope you see some traffic from it!

    Your feature will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here

    If you would like a “featured by” button, you can grab one here!

  31. Guest Icon Guest
    Ceci, Guest @ 1:45 am

    Love it!

  32. Guest Icon Guest
    Christine, Guest @ 7:25 pm

    I love this…I am stumbling this post!

  33. Guest Icon Guest
    Patty B, Guest @ 9:38 am

    What a great idea for the pack of (probably) 50 battery lights I got at Costco last year. Thanks for posting!

  34. Member
    veracuicui 6 posts, Newbee @ 1:13 am

    really a great DIY invention~congratulations~

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