A couple of years ago I almost started a fire using those small tea lights that we all love. These candles in particular came in a set from a well-known trendy home furnishing store. However, they were defective. After burning for about an hour while we had company, a guest noticed that one of them had caught fire creating a large flame in the glass tea light holder. There was nothing flammable around it so we were lucky but it frightened me enough that I swore off using real candles.
I came across a solution in a magazine recently. The glass tea light holders were painted from the inside with mirrored glass paint (made my Krylon and available in some craft stores) thus obscuring the fake flame. The effect of the painted glass holders was dazzling and I had my answer.
My local paint store didn't carry mirror paint and a trip to 'Michael's' craft store yielded only silver spray paint which I bought anyway to give it a try. I sprayed the holder from the inside and noticed that the shiny silver color looked dull on the outside. Oh well!
When it was dry I etched some designs in the glass (using the pointed edge of a wooden skewer) so that the light would shine through. I liked it but decided to experiment some more. I added another color (lime green) to the inside and painted it over the silver. Then I etched a scribble design all over and was very pleased with the result.
I own about 50 glass tea light holders so I will be busy for a while but when next we have company, the house will be warm and inviting!