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Tealight lanterns are known to encompass five distinct styles:
The stone tealight lanterns (called Ishidoro) were originally used to light the grounds of temples and shrines and adopted by tea masters for their ceremonies.
The hanging metal tealight lanterns (called Tsuridoro) were hung from the corner eaves at palace residences, temples and shrines
The standing oil tealight lanterns with iron or wood frames (called Andon) burned oil in shallow saucers suspended within a paper-covered frame and became a popular feature in private homes.
Hexagonal portable tealight lanterns (called Bonbori), with wood or metal frames covered with paper (glass in later years), attached to poles at the top of the frame.
Paper tealight lanterns (called Chochin) were popularly used outside a house and suspended from the eaves of buildings or carried in processions.
Now that you know the five major styles, let's review a few of the more popular tealight lantern brands!
Biedermann & Sons Metal Garden Tealight Lantern with Glass Insert
Add a bright spot of light and color to your indoor or outdoor decor with these Garden Lanterns in assorted spring colors of lemon, lime and orange. Set of 6, each one 5” tall x 3” in diameter.
Lanterns can sit on a table or hang from the attached 3-inch handle. Metal lanterns have garden inspired design and glass insert. Bottom easily removes to insert or light a candle, or can be reached from the top as well. Prices start around $40.
Starlight Hanging Iron Tealight Lantern
Candlelight casts an intriguing pattern of shapes and shadows, glowing from inside this beautiful cutout celestial lantern. Weighing in at just .7 lbs and measuring 7-5/8” by 2-1/2” by 7-1/4” high this lantern will make a wonderful accompaniment to any deck or patio. The tealight is not included, and the price for this piece starts at around $5.
Authentic Tealight Lanterns
A authentic tealight lantern is usually carved from granite or syenite-a coarse gray stone-and are simple in design but make a dramatic statement. The material withstands seasonal elements and the simplicity of the design defies societal changes and reminds people of earlier, simpler times.
Today, modern gardeners use lanterns crafted from resins, reconstituted stone or concrete, which weigh less and are easier to ship. Some mass-produced resin or concrete lanterns are red or green with ornate styling, but authentic lanterns are the color of natural stone and more simply designed to blend into the garden.
Homemade Tealight Lanterns
If buying a pre-made tea light lantern isn’t your thing, you can always make your own paper lanterns with a few simple supplies. Paper lanterns are a great way to decorate for the holidays or any day that you are having a party.
They can be as simple or as complicated as you like depending on the event and the skill level of the people making them. Even better, the materials to make the lanterns are inexpensive. All you will need are lunch-sized paper bags (brown or white), some paint or markers, scissors, sand, and tea lights (battery operated LED’s preferred, although candles work too), and your imagination.
Tealight lanterns were traditionally used as Votive candles, but since then they have gained wide use as accent lighting and for heating scented oil.
For a dramatic decorative effect tea lights are sometimes hung over water, and in some cases actually floated on it for an even more spectacular effect. With such a wide range of materials and sizes, the only limitation to their use is your imagination.