Start with about an inch of water,and freeze this. Do not freeze too long as this causes cracking.Just until the water is solid.
After the inch of water is frozen, add the rest of the water. If you want to add decorative things like berries or holly leaves, do it at this stage. Place a container in the middle and weigh it down so it will not float( Mom used rocks and a pill bottle,heehee) The container should be a bit larger than the tealight or votive. Put warm water in the small container to help remove it from the ice.
This is the finished candle holder. The markings on the ice are from food coloring. Add any coloring desired as the ice is almost frozen or experiment. Small ice blocks do not take long to freeze.
The finished product!
Here are some cracks that appear when you leave the ice in the freezer too long. I think it adds character, but makes a larger ice block more unstable. This is fine, I'm not doing major sculpture here, so the cracks are OK. The red is reflection of outdoor lights.
This picture was taken with a flash.
The flame of the tealight.