Repurpose Used Bottles into DIY Tiki Torches for Your Backyard

Using booze bottles as candles is nothing new, but most folks don’t realize a bottle can be fit with a groovy wick and filled with lamp oil. This makes a funky “tiki torch” without all those messy wax drippings. From bourbon bottles to that special bottle of bubbly you can’t throw out, turning bottles into torches is one of the fastest DIY projects you’ll ever undertake. Better yet, you’ll enjoy your results for years to come.

This is both an indoor/outdoor project, but be aware that lamp oil smoke sometimes leaves sooty residue on interior walls. Wash surrounding walls from time to time and you’ll be fine.

Backyard Chillin' #DIYtikitorches #justoneglassipromise #thewebthathasnoweaver #rainydays

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Per Sugar and Charm, you’ll need:

  • Booze bottles

  • Wicks and bottle tops

  • Paraffin oil, lamp oil, or “tiki torch oil”

When you’re buying your oil, just be aware that “tiki torch oil” is a trendy name and they charge you more because it says “tiki” in the name. People have used paraffin oil and standard lamp oil to light up their lives for a few centuries now and it’ll do the job for you, too.

For outdoors, consider using some citronella lamp oil. Some are odorless and smokeless, as this one claims, but also keep mosquitoes away. That’s not the end of scented lamp oil, though. Scour the interwebs and you’ll find oil scents from “bacon” to “cupcakes” and everything in between.

This ceramic bottle wick holder set is recommended because it’s designed with safety in mind. The clear finish sits nicely in the bottles, and isn’t obstructing, but for a cool patio and groovy look, as well as weather-proofing, these copper wick holders with chained snuff caps on Etsy are big winners.

For the full method, visit Sugar and Charm.

After doing the DIY project ourselves, here are a few things we learned.

Carefully rinse your chosen booze bottles with water, protecting the cool labels from moisture and possible tearing.

Sure, the entire bottle could be filled with lamp oil, if you like, but that’s pricier and unnecessary. Instead, fill half-way with water first, then top off with oil. Pour the oil slowly and watch with amazement as science magically separates them!

Measure and cut your wick so it won’t reach the water line. Feed it through your wick holder. It only up to 1/3″ for a flame. Too high and the flame gets too big. Maybe you’re into fire, though. Go for it! (Smokey the Bear would like to remind you about safety first, in that case. Only you!)

Some suggest drenching the already-fed wick in fuel before immersing in the bottle, but there’s no reason to do this. It’s potentially messy. The wick eventually absorbs the oil just by sitting in it.

In the olden days, oil lamps had feeders, so once a portion of wick had been burnt, you’d turn the dial and feed in more. Here, you’re the wick-feeder. You need to advance the wick for use once it’s burnt to a cinder. Blow out the flame, be careful of the hot top, and use tweezers to tug your next section of wick through as required.

For outdoor candles, the snuff-top on those sexy copper Etsy wick-holders is a great idea, since it’ll prevent the wick from absorbing rainwater and dew if you forget to put them under cover.

And that’s it! Presto. Stylish torches to wow guests with and boost your hipster cred. I had one with a special bottle of champagne for over a decade, which is now cherished by the friend I consumed it with. They’re great for party décor, wonderful as gifts, and remain as timeless as it gets.