By: Mike Rhodes—
I don’t know why I started making these things.
I guess I thought I needed to plan to do something with my hands after I retire in 2189. So, I started making tiki-torches out of empty wine bottles in September of 2016. Good plan!
I also thought this new hobby would be a money-making bonanza to put a few more shackles in my pocket. Got myself some sweet-looking business cards and everything. Even ordered wine bottle boxes from Uline to put them in. Very slick.
Turns out, I’ve made about 30+ of these and have given each and every one away for FREE. Sometimes as gifts. Sometimes for charity silent auctions. I enjoy giving them away more than I do selling them.
Recently I have gotten lazy. I have progressed to making candles out of bourbon bottles! Those are my favorite, since John Carlson gives me very cool bottles and they only take 5 minutes to make. Maybe even less than that. Still, they are gorgeous.
So, here’s how to make a wine bottle tiki-torch. You can spend five minutes making one or 10 days, depending how creative you want to design the outside. Up to you. The most I’ve been willing to do is add some rope, seashells and starfish on the outside of the bottle.
At a minimum, you’ll need the following items:
—The bottle of your choosing
—Brass Plumbing Coupler from Hi-Way 3 Hardware or Lowes.♥ IMPORTANT TIP: If making a candle out of some other kind of bottle, Hi-Way 3 hardware is the best place to go for the brass couplers. They have a variety of sizes without all the packaging. Take your wick and your special bottle to their store and you’ll be sure to purchase the correct coupler that will fit your own, unique application.
—3/4″ Wicks (Buy in bulk here.)
—A glue gun (Only needed if you wrap the bottle with rope.)
—Rope if you want it wrapped at the bottom
—Tiny pebbles or sand (a funnel helps for this part.)
—Lamp Oil for inside burning OR Citronella torch fuel for outside burning
♥ The fuel or oil you use is really important! If you are burning the candle inside your home, use the clear Lamp Oil so the candle doesn’t smoke or leave soot in your home. (Get it cheap at Walmart.) Lamp oil is colorless, odorless, and smokeless. If you are using Lamp Oil, trim the wick when finished to exactly match the level of the top of the brass coupler, otherwise the flame will be too high.
Follow the steps in the slideshow below. Advance each instructional photo— step-by-step, by clicking on the “right side” of each picture or the little circles underneath the pictures. Sample bottle provided by: Liz Valpatic
♥ Wait 20 minutes before lighting the wick. The wicks are thick and need some time to absorb the fuel.
You might see some of Mike’s bottle handiwork at Vera Mae’s Bistro, Merks Family Dining or Grains & Grill in Fairmount for starters. Or not. 😉 We understand you might see at least ONE at Olive & Slate soon.