diy project: erik’s recycled wine bottle torch

this clever outdoor diy idea comes from erik anderson of gerardot & co.- a creative branding and design agency in indianapolis. erik was kind enough to share a fantastic project that turns an everyday bottle into a modern backyard tiki torch. i love the way these torches look and am dying to find a backyard to use these in- too bad the closest thing we have is a 2×2 foot fire escape. but for those of you with yards, i hope you’ll enjoy this project from erik. click here for more info on the project and click here to check out erik’s work at gerardot & co. thanks, erik!

CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!


[****Safety Note: This is for outdoor use only. Tiki brand recommends that the wick never be set higher than 1-inch, and I recommend that you exercise the same discretion and common sense that you would with any small open flame.*****]

Recycled Wind Bottle Torch

In any of my design work, whether for clients or for myself, I’m most proud when I can find a solution that’s highly creative and effective while keeping resources to a minimum. This is totally inexpensive (around $5-bucks). Plus it’s a great way to recycle a wine bottle.

It’s been a record year for mosquitoes here in Indianapolis, Indiana and I’d been wanting to add some Tiki-esque torches to the patio to combat the little buggers, as well as provide some ambiance in the evenings. After searching the world over to find a torch that was affordable and atypical, I came to the conclusion that unless I wanted wicker or bamboo, I would need to become a bit more resourceful. A glance into my recycling bin and an aimless stroll through the local hardware store provided me with this clear solution.


1. Empty Wine Bottle (You can use any bottle you like as long as it’s glass and the neck is 1” in diameter. Be clever!)
2. Teflon Tape 1/2”
3. Copper Top Plate Connector (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
4. 1” Split Ring Hanger (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
5. 1/2” x 3/8” Copper Coupling
6. 1/2” Copper Cap
7. Two Hex Nuts (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
8. Two #10 x 1” Zinc Plated Wood Screws (if your mounting it to wood)
9. 3/8”-16 Zinc Plated Threaded Rod (I bought a 3’ rod and cut it down to 8, 4-1/2” rods with a hacksaw.)
10. Tiki Replacement Wick
11. Torch Fuel (For safety reasons, only use fuel made specifically for outdoor torches. i.e. Tiki brand)

Helpful Tools: Channellocks, adjustable wrench, hacksaw, power screwdriver, and a funnel

****Safety Note: This is for outdoor use only. Tiki brand recommends that the wick never be set higher than 1-inch, and I recommend that you exercise the same discretion and common sense that you would with any small open flame.*****

Building Instructions


The Hanger

1. Decide where you want to mount your Recycled Bottle Torch. Position the Top Plate Connector on your mounting surface and mark the holes for where the screws will go. It’s easier to keep it level if you pre-drill your screws first.
2. Once you have your Top Plate Connector mounted you can screw in the 3/8”-16 Rod until it stops. Channellocks are helpful for this part.
3. Thread the two Hex Nuts on to the Rod and tighten one all the way down at the point where the Rod meets the Top Connector Plate. Leave the other Hex Nut at the front end so it can be used to secure the Split Ring Hanger.
4. Thread on the Split Ring Hanger just enough so that the Rod is flush with the inside of the ring. Turn the 2nd Hex Nut counter-clockwise to snug it up against the Split Ring Hanger.

If you’d prefer your hardware to keep its shiny, unweathered look you can always give it several coats of clear polyurethane before you mount it. Personally, I think a weathered patina will add a nice element of character.


The Bottle

1. Carefully and tightly wrap the 1/2” end of the Coupling with your Teflon Tape. You’ll want to keep each wrap nice and clean so that it creates a smooth, even surface. Continue building up the tape until it fits very snugly into the opening of your bottle. You obviously don’t want it to fall in.
2. Insert the Wick into the Coupling until it sticks out about 1/4”. The Tiki brand replacement wicks are about 3/8” in diameter so they fit really well. Once they absorb the torch oil they’re even tighter.
3. Unscrew the Split Ring Hanger on one side and position the bottle neck into the ring.
4. Flip the front half of the ring back into place and tighten down the Hanger evenly on both sides. You may need to loosen the other side to make sure both sides are an even tightness. (Don’t over tighten the Hanger. You don’t want to break the glass.)
5. Use a funnel to fill the bottle with your favorite torch oil. (I use Tiki’s BiteFighter because it’s clear and seems to do a good job of keeping the mosquitoes away.)
6. Insert the Coupling & Wick into the top of the bottle and twist it snugly into place. Give the Wick a few minutes to absorb the oil before you try to light it.
7. I typically just blow my torches out. Use the Copper Cap to keep the Wick dry when you’re not using your torch.


Good Luck!



OK, awesome. Tiki torches are practically mandatory in Texas because of the mosquitoes. Love the idea of recycling AND getting away from the luau look in my backyard.


thanks rochelle- we’re lucky to have some talented diy editors- and readers like erik!- on board :)


Dee Wilcox

I absolutely love this idea! Just another reason hubby and I need to finish off the bottles we have in the wine cellar. :)


Wonderful idea! I have had some wine bottles saved that I couldn’t part with, but didn’t know quite what to do with them…now I know! Thanks to Erik and d*s, I can get my husband off my back (WHY are you saving these?) and give him a creative project to do all in one shot!


We don’t have much of a deck, but I think I’m going to use this idea for flowers indoors.


Wow, can’t wait to have a backyard so I can put these babies up! Love the idea and endless bottle possibilities!



I am going to try this. Please wish me luck in not burning my house down.

Lori Danelle

These are really pretty and would give a great mood to an out door space! I used to make these for indoors, but love the outdoor use!

Loris Glassworks

I love this idea! Had my sweetie take a look too so we can work on this project together over the weekend. I love to recycle so I will put my wine tasting bottles to good use. Thanks for the great idea and materials list. CHEERS!


this is effing genius. two of our tiki tourches from last year (metal) cracked, so we were looking for new ones. but this is even better, we’ve got lots of empties!


This is so weird…I was looking for a DIY like this on Monday after seeing something similar on a TV show. YAY! I’m using citronella tiki oil…darn mosquitos…


PS- If I don’t have a place to put these can’t I just put the bottle on a table? Kind of like a fire centerpiece? :)


What a great idea! I don’t have the luxury of a back yard, but my parents would love these. They may just be getting a set soon!

Miss Jess

This is why I need to get a wooden privacy fence installed ASAP. Bye bye chainlink, hello tiki paradise!


I forgot to mention: For the folks that don’t have wooden fences to mount to, you can always just use two of the Split Ring Hangers (one on each end) and attach it to a 1″ pole, umbrella, fire escape, etc.


This is got to be one of the best ideas DIY ideas I have seen in a long time.
The more unique the bottle to more impressive of a display.


Love it! I’m curious – assuming one already has an empty wine bottle on hand, how much would the materials cost, roughly?


Gorgeous! And I just bought a case of Badger Mountain-I’m rolling in the pretty blue bottles! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking to this.

Green Key

These are very cool looking, but look pretty dangerous. Open flame – keep your hair out of the way! And glass bottles filled with fuel – don’t whack the bottle by accident – liquid fuel, possibly on fire, all over, maybe on someone. Sorry to rain on the enthusiasm parade . . .


green key

yes, you definitely need to be careful with anything torch-related, but the point of this project is to have these on walls, away from guests and anyone who would knock them over ;)



i cannot wait to try this! looks like my boyfriend will be getting some great torches in his backyard since i don’t have a fence. lucky guy!


Oooo. very nice idea. Not only do I love idea, but also had a quick nosey at their website. I love their style!

Laura H

And here I’ve just been making drinking glasses and vases out of wine bottles. This is going to be sooo much fun!


This is so fantastic! My boyfriend and I are totally going to do this after seeing your tutorial…thanks so much for sharing!


Were you able to get most of these items from Home depot or lowes or ace?


I’ve found the materials at all the big guys: Lowes, Home Depot, Mennards. Just head over to the plumbing section. Wicks were the hardest to find. Only Lowes had them when I was looking.

Kathy Peterson Inspired

Wow–I’ve written a whole book on DIY outdoor decor and never thought of this project—Dang it!! I like it so much I’m going to post in on my blog! Thanks!

David McCaughan

Fantastic idea, excellent instructions make attempting very tempting. How about a small aluminum pie plate as a heat/light reflector? A couple nuts on the threaded rod could grab the edge.


True, this is a cool idea, but you could do a lot better than the “hardware store chic”. Exposed threads look unfinished…



i don’t think they could do better. it’s a torch made from found materials- you either embrace the idea or bought something fancier and store bought. the hardware store look is part of the charm i think…



My boyfriend is a wine rep so we are always dealing with lots of empty wine bottles. Now we have something to do with all of them AND provides an industrial design flare for the yard! Love the idea. Thanks for sharing.


On top of this being a nice project I think the project photos are really excellent – clear, well-lighted, pretty colors – well done :).


Alright. We bought all the stuff at Lowes. Drilled into the backyard post. Drank the wine. Filled the bottle with genuine Tiki Torch Fuel. Lit the exposed quarter inch of Tiki Brand wick. Not exactly a clean flame. Result: Big Black Smokey Mess.

Bee S

I thought these looked cute. Showed them to my guy friends to see if we could make them, and they laughed and said they look like Molotov cocktails. *Sigh* no creative lighting for me….and the closet is still full of wine bottles.

Joe Bob

Do you need to cut threads in the 3/8″-4.5 in rod pieces? They do screw into the hanger and the top plate connector correct?

Joe Bob

I guess I should read the directions and materials list 1st! (Threaded Rod) It’s pretty clear how to do this. Thanks!


this is an awesome idea! :)… found all the parts except the copper top plate connector…. apparently nobody in the lowes or home depot here know what that is and i cant seem to find it…. any suggestions??


Beautiful! I don’t drink wine so I’ll have to find some way of salvaging some bottles. I love the blue!

Can you get the hardware at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace, etc.?


Oops, sorry. Didn’t see Erik’s reply about all the hardware!

Just curious-what kind of wine was once in that blue bottle?

Dee Wilcox

We made these this weekend (without the hangers) and used the Tiki Bite Fighter fuel. They turned out **beautifully!** – clean flame, as well. However, we haven’t been able to find the top plate connector & hanger anywhere so far – not Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Ace. Will check at a local electrical supply store today as well.


We made these this weekend too and Lowes had the top plate connector in glavanized steel. Love them! We will be making more to go around the yard. Also liked the idea to use them as vases


So, for those of us that couldn’t find Tiki brand wicks- can I safely wrap the teflon tape around the wick to keep it snug??


FANTASTIC! I just put a deck on the back of the house and these are going to be the perfect finishing touch. THANKS! I was just now putting the bottles together and I had a bit of a brainwave that I thought I’d share – I was a bit frustrated that the wicks don’t reach very far down … SO TO MAKE BETTER USE OF THE OIL, I ADDED WATER UP TO AN INCH BELOW THE WICK AND THEN ADDED MY OIL AND OF COURSE THE OIL FLOATS … and it looks cool in a clear bottle.


Have been saving wine bottles all summer in order to make a border for a short section of flower bed. Now I have a cool way to light up the deck as well. Thanks!


Can you share some ideas for making the flower bed border I mentioned? Pretty please?

Sean Woolsey

I made this today and love it!
I had some trouble though finding the 1” Split Ring Hanger. Where did you buy this at? I used something else that worked well but cost me a bit more than I should have paid…


WOW!!! That’s a brilliant IDEA!!..Wz lookin for some themes for the upcomming wedding of my Sister…This made my day!!!! AWESOME IDEA!!!

Marion Z

These look utterly amazing but I, too, cannot help but wonder about the safety issue. Anyone use these for a while and what was your experience?


Love the Recycled Wine Torch!!! Doing this as Christmas gifts. I just need help finding the cotton wicks? and the size?


Awesome idea. I went out to Lowe’s immediately after seeing this and made one for myself. It works very well and looks great, too. However I ran into one problem… I noticed a large quantity of the oil going un-used at the bottom due to the replacement wicks I bought only being about six inches long. I put about three inches of coarse sand in the bottom of the bottle and voila!


Got steel fittings but no copper at Lowe’s and they look great. Thanks for the idea!!!


Thanks so much for this great project! I’ve got lots of trees that will be perfect for these torches this summer.


That looks beautiful.

Unfortunately, galvanic corrosion will probably eat through any zinc plating and start attacking the steel before too long. That would both inhibit the formation of patina, and produce rust, perhaps enough to be a structural concern.

I think it’s worth the effort to find all galvanized hardware (like Trev did), or all copper.


I love these! My husband and I made a few this weekend, but we’re having problems with the wick falling into the bottle unless you leave a good half inch sticking out. Anyone else have this problem and how did you solve it?


Having same problem as Alice stated on 6/8. How should this be resolved? Also, we find the Tiki bugbite fuel is not burning cleanly. What can we do to fix this?


I am having the same problem with tabletop tikis for my wedding. I heard from other online sources that it must be a fiberglass wick (not cotton) and use smokeless oil with a very short wick. I am looking into getting glass insert wicks so that the wick will be smaller and more snug. Not sure it will work for my project or this one but here’s hoping………….


HELP? Built these using brown root beer bottle so they fit in our existing tiki poles. For some reason, the flames are tiny. Using Tiki brand torch wicks and bugfighter oil. Tried wicks length from 1/8 up to 1″. About same light output as a normal candle. Only diff is our wick coupling is 1/2″ smooth inside bottle, and has threading inside top end. Wick fits just right without falling in. Any idea why the flames are so tiny?


How about the new aluminium beer bottles. I love the wine bottle idea, but for those worried about the glass breaking. Also I believe you can remove the labels, so you have aluminium “bottles” that cant be broken. Thoughts anyone?


Figured out the small flame problem. For some reason the wicks have to be at least 75% submerged in oil to provide enough fuel. My other torches burn fine all the way down to about 20% oil, but for some reason these bottles need a lot deeper oil.


Does anyone know what kind of nails/screws to use if I wanted to put some up on my back yard wall? The wall is a concrete brick/cinder block so I’m not sure if I can hang the wine torches from it. Thanks!


Few Creative Options: great idea Eric! U could also use decorative bottles from a craft store or kitchen store as long as it has the right size opening. Try decorating the bottle with copper or silver wire & beads–can be as girly or simple as u like as long as its fireproof. I plan to use clear decorative bottles I have already with clear glass floral beads in the bottom to add visual interest & raise the oil level plus adds weight for sturdiness if using on a tabletop–should look elegant when lit. Bottles & floral glass beads come in all colors. I’d think you could use natural decorative pebbles as well on the bottom.


I took Eriks idea & ran with it :). I used “Barefoot” wine bottles (they’re clear & cheap) for TABLETOP torches with clear torch oil + clear floral glass balls (adds weight, requires less oil & keeps wicks high) + beads & aluminum wire (Michaels) for decoration. I used the 1/2 to 3/8 reducing brass coupler with teflon tape for the wick but found it too loose even w/ lots of tape- tried wrapping a single loop of 18gague aluminum wire vertically on the brass coupler (same wire as used as decoration) before wrapping w/ tape-then it felt snug. Maybe I need a bigger coupling?
For a STAKED & MOUNTED Torch (all galvanized parts @ Lowes): Same decorated & filled torch idea.
For Stake: used a 10′ length of 3/4″ galvanized electrical conduit as stake cut in half (cut by lowes/under $4 total for two). A 1/2″ split ring hanger + nuts to fit tight around the stake. Use 3/4″ split ring hanger (I found the 1″ didn’t fit any bottle I had) around the wine bottle + nuts for stability. Connect the two hangers with a 3/8″ threaded as erick suggests or I used a 3/8-16 x 5/8 set screw + a Washer (for a snug fit either cut your own threaded or I just put a small piece of looped aluminum wire-same as used for decor-into one side to ensure a snug & level fit between hangers. Make sure its Very snug & screw is @ least halfway in each hanger .
Drive conduit into ground same as any tiki stake. Use a tiki in-ground stake screw support for added support if desired. Add a 3/4 Metal Hole Plug (lowes hardware furniture parts -next to screws) to top of conduit to finish. Screw on prepared torch with hangers. I’ll be happy to post picts once I figure out how! Lol. Thx for my inspiration Erik!! :o). These look great & cost me almost nothing using stuff I already had. Should last much longer than my usual purchased tiki torches & definitely more fun!



i wouldn’t coat anything on the bottle with a liquid that might be flammable. i’d leave them clean just to be safe ;)



Creativity in Style, am loving this. . . One can try any different bottle design to create some distinction


And you’re just one bump away from a molotov cocktail. Good thinking.



yes, if you knock this over and break it, it will catch on fire (bumping it won’t make it explode). but we’re assuming that most responsible adults will be able to build and use these without running into them and breaking them. i have faith that most of our readers will use common sense here.



I made about 4 of these for my yard and as much as they look great Im having a problem with a very small flame and eventually the flame blows out. I used fiberglass wick and its cut to just about the full length of the bottle. Any ideas on how to keep these things lit?


I am in the process of putting these up in my back yard and I think it will really add some classiness(sp) to the place!



What a neat idea!! I can’t wait to try this out!
For those who are interested in learning more about how to safely use a garden torch, I would recommend reading this article about different fuels and their flash points.

For example, molotov cocktails use fuel sources that have a low flash point (like gasoline) thus make them very explosive and dangerous. Olive oil for instance has a very high flash point thus making it much safer for use in this type of setting. As always, use of any fuel for burning carries some risk and appropriate measures should be taken.


I plan on making these over the next week but I was trying to figure out a way to raise the oil level but can’t come up with anything that won’t add a lot weight to the hanging bottle. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


Jus made these and am also having a problem keeping them lit. Extended the wick by braiding/sewing two together…still no luck. They usually burn out in 5 min or so. Suggestions?


Wonderful idea. I’m going to try it, but i’m going to have to drink at least 6 bottles of wine though!! I’ll just have to make the sacrafice.

Amber Elizabeth

These are fantastic!!

Can’t wait to get to get started on that wine, I mean, uh, project!


Eric, I used the Tiki replacement wicks (I think they’re fiberglass) and they seem to work great! I saturated both ends with the citronella oil, then just stuck it in the wine bottle and it seems to draw the oil readily. We’ve refilled the bottles a couple times when the oil level got to about an inch above the bottom of the wick. I hope this helps.

Debbie Hanson

I can see some Christmas gifts for my fellow wine drinking friends!!!!


Hi! I made this yesterday and it seemed to do fine and worked beautifully on the first burn. However, on the second burn later last evening, the rim of the bottle started burning, but I think that may be it had some oil on it or the tape caught fire. Any suggestions? Also, I was wondering if this design is copywrited/trademarked/patented/registered?


Hi Eric, I also saw that someone used a Blue Bombay Gin bottle but it would have looked better had he used clear tiki torch fuel instead of yellow. Firefly Fuel has clear tiki torch fuel, an orange-colored citronella and a brilliant green eucalyptus. Rock on!


I want to fill the bottle with half water to save on oil. My wife is afraid it will explode. Has anyone tried this?

Grace Bonney


i would follow the instructions exactly. the lighting instructions are based on what’s described here so i can’t guarantee anything will work as described if you alter the directions.


Firefly Fuel

Hi Pete,

Oil and water do not mix (old saying). The tiki torch will not explode because it will not light! You will end up contaminating your fuel and you will ruin your wick. So, in the end, you will end up spending more money. Sorry.

Erik Anderson

I’m actually using the combo of oil & water in mine. As Pete mentions, the oil & water won’t mix and the oil will actually sit on top of the water. Hooray for physics! So, as long as your wick doesn’t extend below the layer of oil into the water, you should be good to go. You will see a visual line where the two liquids meet inside the bottle. If that’s bothersome to you I’ve seen folks use glass beads to offset the quantity of fuel needed to fill up the bottle. Good Luck!


Pour some colored gravel that they use in fish tanks up to the bottom of the wick so you dont have to use as much oil..


I can’t seem to find #3 and #4 supplies ANYWHERE. does anyone have any suggestions? I’ve already purchased everything else listed…


you can put water in them to raise the oil level, just don’t put the wick in the oil, or use fish tank gravel or beads so that you don’t have to use much oil. I have seen these where they pinch the top copper tubing, much like an oil lamp would be. should keep the wick from falling, but also will make it more difficult to raise the wick when needed. pair of needle nose pliers should work, can’t wait to make them and put them on my fence!


Hobby Lobby has beautiful glass bottles in lots of shades, and every couple of weeks they are half price. I don’t drink mush wine, but plan on the HB option to get som really beautiful bottles, in both shape and color.
I personally use all thread for lots of other things, including a jewlery display in my showroom. It does not look hardware chic- it look AMAZING!

E. J.

I AM NOT ABLE TO FIND PART # 4 split ring hanger.I have gone to Home depot, Lowes, ACE Hardware And Grangers, None have it. could we be looking in the wrong department.
I have looked in the Electric, Plumbing and Hardware ,
CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH THIS? I will appreciate your help.

Kate Pruitt


If you’re striking out in stores I think you should try to purchase them online. I did a search for 3/8″ split ring hangers and got these results:

Hopefully there will be some option that has good pricing & shipping options for you. Good luck!


Have some of these. Have to make sure that the oil stays topped off. Gets to far down and starts burning wick instead of the oil.


Hey Eric,
Just wanted to tell you we made 21 for Christmas gifts. All of our friends and family are big wine drinkers, they are going to love them. For the people that are having trouble finding the parts, we found all the parts a Lowes, but had to ask for the pipe hangers, but they did have everything. Also we added one thing, we drilled a small hole in the top of each cap and screwed a small chain to the caps and other end to the screw in the pipe hangers. We did this so you would not loose the cap.


Where do u buy all these home depot does not have the plate or the bottle holder. Also the coupling I only saw 1/2,


I live in Santa Monica and i searched and searched for the materials required and I couldn’t find the split ring hanger. I am looking for an alternative. any ideas?

Jon Ray

Nice idea….and when your neighbors start attacking you, you are all ready to defend yourself with homemade Molotov Cocktails!


I’m having trouble finding the 1/2″X3/8″ coupling & the copper top plate connector…. Help?


Lowes has everything that was listed here, but the top plate is called a ceiling flange at Lowes…hope this helps!


just found this. QUITE concerned about the teflon tape melting and the copper coupling falling through/into the bottle causing an extreme fire hazard. could you address that, please?


LEANNA(dec 15 2011): you have both LOWES and HOME DEPOT and other local hardwares. bring a printed picture of what you need and show them. they’ll be able to help you. lingo from state to state/store to store differs greatly as to parts.

Grace Bonney


there’s not much to address- this has been tested and used by many, many people at this point and no one has had that problem. erik thoroughly tested this before we ran it and did not have any of these problems after months of use. it’s been a few years now and still, no problems like the one you mentioned at all.



Made one but the wick is not long enough when the oil is half gone I had to refill any suggestions on a different kind of wick found cotton rope in fabric section of hobby lobby not sure if that’s okay

Jan McGovern

I bet you could fill it up with a fragrance too and make everything smell better. Am going to look into making such oils, after I learn to make the bottles. Would work on smaller bottles too? I hope so. Ah such fun to make your own and so much prettier.


i had the hardest time finding the copper components at my big box stores, but i found them for AMAZING prices at even with $13 shipping factored in, it was about 50% cheaper than i could ever find at lowes (and pex had the quantity i needed no problems). i got my bottles from since i love the blue but couldnt find any cheap wine in that shade. we are building a pergola this weekend and i cant wait to attached these to the posts and around our back fencing!! thank you so much

jennifer briggs

Love this idea…I love to recycle from the bin as well as from the side of the road finds…..wicker chairs are my favs. for spring summer decor w/plants and flowers in them….especially if they are 100 years old…found a few this past fall and cant wait to decorate in a few days….snow tonight :((( BUT SPRING is in the air and i love ur’ idea….. hope to go buy the items i need this weekend and i may be using tequeilla bottles that we had to finish off at the tavern to get a hold of so we bought a round for the room…LOL just to get the bottle>>>can’t wait til it is lit up in the backyard this summer>>>> Party Hearty People <3


I have all the supplies for this except the split ring hanger. Where did you all purchase that piece? I got a piece from amazon but it’s way too small.
Any suggestions

Christie Geraty

Amazing idea! I have this on my honeydo list! So excited. Thank you!

Mitch Smythe

A small hole in the cap and a bit of wire or chain will keep the cap close to the bottle :-)

I have been making tiki “beer” torches for years. Everytime my pop & I go camping. We kill off a 6 pack, and the bottles get recycled into torches for around the camp site. I use Citronella oil, and it keeps all the bugs away. Although I dont use the “copper”, I have some steel washers that prevent the flame from climbing down the wick, and I use either Cork or rubber stoppers. The lamp oil will get poured back into the jug after camping, and a new round of beer bottles will be re-used at the next camp site.


I made these for my mom for mothers day, only instead of mounting them to a post or the fence, I was going to place them on our patio table. The table is glass, do you think the torch will be too hot to safely put on the table? I have to say- these are the coolest things ever and I’m glad it was this simple and it looks great.



I used to make torches out of copper pipe. The low flame some are experiencing, and the eventual extinguishment of your torch is likely caused by a vacuum developing in the bottle as the oil is used up. This is easily solved by drilling a tiny 1/16″ hole in your copper reducer fitting (wick holder) right at the junction where it necks down.
I guarantee this will solve your flame problems.
I am building some of these this weekend. Awesome low-cost project that will go great with our copper bottle tree (21 blue bottles) that is already mounted on our deck.


One more comment: You can buy fiberglass wick in bulk and cut to length. Then you don’t have to worry about the pre-fab wick being too short and you’ll have miles of replacement wick for the rest of your life. (Yes, regardless of what is stated by marketers, fiberglass wick does melt away bit by bit and eventually needs replacement)
For example, 50 yards (150 feet) of 3/8″ fiberglass wick is about $30.00 vs paying $3 and up for a 6 inch replacement tiki-style wick.
I bought mine from the wick store (Pepperell Braiding Co.) years ago in several sizes and have enough wick to last the rest of my life.


Does anyone have any DIY ideas about how to make a post for using these to stand alone in the yard? I have them mounted on the fence and porch but would like a couple to spread around in the yard for better anti-mosquito coverage.


Have been all over town and no one seems to sell the split-ring hanger!!! Ugh! Where can I get that?


We’re trying these for my daughter’s backyard wedding and are attaching them to Bamboo poles staked into the ground. Using one split-ring around the pole, threading it with a small rod to the split ring around the wine bottle neck. I’m just concerned about keeping the flame going. Seems like people are having this problem.


I’m having a hard time keeping the wick up. I did it the way the instructions say but wick keeps falling in. Any suggestions?


I found everything at Lowes just for your information:

Plumbing Dept :
3. Copper Top Plate Connector (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod) ( Glavenized only)
4. 1” Split Ring Hanger (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
5. 1/2” x 3/8” Copper Coupling
6. 1/2” Copper Cap

Hardware Dept
7. Two Hex Nuts (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
8. Two #10 x 1” Zinc Plated Wood Screws (if your mounting it to wood)
9. 3/8”-16 Zinc Plated Threaded Rod (I bought a 3’ rod and cut it down to 8, 4-1/2” rods with a hacksaw.)

Also you can Add Food coloring to your oil if you are using clear bottles


I forgot to mention that the 1/2″-3/8″ is called a reducer coupling


Wicked disappointed in these, did everything by the book and they only stay lit for like 5 minutes!


For those who have trouble with a Tiki 6 inch wicks not going to the bottom of the bottle. There are wine bottles that are short in height and wide at the bottom. Mateus Rose (Portugal) comes in such a bottle (green). It is a nice shape and reminiscent of an antique hand blown bottle. Do an internet search to see the bottle style.


Made some on Memorial Day afternoon…but the storm hit before we could light ‘em up. Will try again tonight. What a great project! Thanks.


LOVE THESE!!!! In place of wine bottles we used half gallon Jack Daniels bottles and sprayed clear spray paint over the labels so they wouldn’t get ruined by rain. Just filled the bottles half way with aquarium rock to prevent the wicks from falling. Also upped to a 1 1/2″ ring to fit the larger bottles. Everything else was done per the directions. As far as the teflon tape being a hazard…..NOT a problem at all. The teflon tape actually hardens and shapes to the bottle necks creating a seal. We have used these every night for close to a month now and have no issues with lighting or shattering. I did let the wicks soak up the oil for a full 24 hours before first use hoping to prevent issues other commenters made. All in all….I couldn’t be happier. So glad I stumbled across these.


Does lowes still have the Copper Plate Connector? Cant find it anywhere!


Our wine torches turned out GREAT thanks to all the comments and helpful hints above. Ours didn’t stay lit until we drilled a 1/16″ hole in the copper and the wick fell to the bottom until we added glass stones. Thanks everyone for your experience and input on here! We love our wine bottle torches!


Great idea, but how do you refill the bottle with fluid if the teflon tape sealed it?


Love love love this. My husband and I made these for our son and his wife for a big pool party they were having. They said the wine bottle torches were the topic of the evening and ALL their guests loved them!! Thanks Eric!!


I can’t find the copper top plate connectors, any help? I’m located in Louisiana.


Having trouble finding all the supplies, Where did you get them?

George Applegate

No one seems to have had a bottle crack from the heat, so that is good. With a short wick the copper gets very hot. I inserted 4 inches of 1/2 copper pipe into the reducer (so that it sheathes the top of the wick. That should dissipate the heat a bit.
I found that an ABS 3″ toilet flange (don’t tell anyone what it is!) works as a cheap but stable base so that you can use these on a table without fear it will get knocked over:

Kelly Lindsay

I had trouble finding the copper top plate connector but a lowes I accidentally found a 3/8 in. Ceiling flange galvanized steel that worked perfectly. I also used a Courvoisier cognac bottle that worked great and the wick fits better because the bottle is not as long. Love it and thanks for the DIY.


I have done these and it couldn’t be more simple. Thank you so much for the directions. I would love to see more of your work. I want to say I’m not really crafty, but your lists and directions made it very easy. I went to the store with your list and came home and got started. It took about 20 minutes to do. Now people think I can create cool stuff. Thanx again, Dawn


Just have to figure out a way to attach the cap to the assembly by some sort of lanyard, otherwise I’ll wind up losing it.




If my bottles are longer could i put some glass marbles in them to tak up space at the bottom so the wick can reach without wasting oil?


@ALEXMAC- I was scrolling to the bottom to advise everyone that if they wanted to save money on oil or torch fluid that they could fill the bottle up to the bottom of the wick with the decorative glass beads, or marbles or even the smooth small river rocks. you could probably even get them higher than the bottom of the wick and then work the wick down into the beads. This would also prevent the wick from falling out of the holder and down into the bottle which is always annoying.


@GARY- get a10″ to 12″ length of small “S” chain available at Lowes and elsewhere. Drill a small hole near the lip of the snuffer. Then use two small copper brads about 1″ to 1.5″ long and nip the head and the point off using some needle nose pliers. Then use the pliers to bend the nails into rings. Before closing the circle together hook one through the hole you drilled and one end of the chain then squeeze link closed. Then take the other nail and put it through the other end of the chain and metal bar supporting the bottle. Then close that link. Now the snuffer will hang from the bar which you can slide back against the wall when in use. Then just slide it forward and drop it on the wick when the party is over.


It was quite a process of going to every hardware place in town. Lowe’s & Home Depot were complete strike outs. I explained to the mystified old men that this was on Pinterest and other people will be looking for this hardware! I had to use a substitute for the connector plate and had to special order the split rings. I’m not sure of my total cost but certainly not as inexpensive as I expected. About to mount but I gotta finish some wine first.


I love this idea!! I have been collecting wine bottles for a month now and have made 8 torches so far. Rather than mount them onto the fence, or set them on a table, I want to hang them….does anyone have some ideas on how I could do this?? :)


Anyone know if you can modify this to fit a bottle with a larger neck (i.e. Patron bottle)?

Jeff Moulton

SMCDONALD – I don’t think you could hang them singly, your flame would interfere with whatever you used to hang them. However, I think you could use a similar bracket to connect two or more, and then hang from the midpoint.

I think this would look nicer with the classic “melted candle bottle”, the bottles of cheap red wine with a wicker base. This would also give you the advantage, if you use the 6″ wicks, of being able to just about reach the bottom as those bottles tend to be shorter. Not 6″ short, but not as much wasted space as with a normal bottle.


I made these and they are on my garden, all the way around the exterior perimeter and we had a beautiful garden party on a Labor Day Weekend. Thanks so much for the great idea. The only thing I did differently was to add a piece of copper tubing over the bolt.


What a cool fun idea. Wish I could share it on Google + So i can find it again when I have the time and cool bottles to use.


we are installing these today in our front yard seating area….just finished the privacy fence and these are going to be perfect…thank you so much for sharing your great idea!!!!!

Paul Bearden

I borrowed your idea and added to it. I uses a recycled guitar (G) string to make a keeper for the snuffer cap. I was afraid a child or a plumber (or a plumber behaving like a child) might make off with the cap. I’d upload a photo of the finished product but I don’t know how to upload here.

Robin Robin Robin

Brilliant idea… simple, graphic, unexpected and FUN. LOVE LOVE LOVE to see you do one of those hanging wine bottle chandeliers next (the cords with 15 to 23 bottle chandeliers)… mainly because I want to make one myself. LOL
Otherwise, great article and wonderful concept.

Bobbi Brown

When I was a kid, my dad made these, called a flambeau, by filling a bottle with kerosene, and using a rag for a wick. I’m 85 now, and plan to show grandkids what we used for outside lighting.


I like the idea of a piece of copper pipe over the bolt.

But, couldn’t you just buy all galvanized components and spray paint them with the Krylon Hammered Copper Spray paint? $5 for a can that would spray enough components for at least 25 torches!



Katrina (in Texas)

Here is an another idea to enhance the light coming from the flame. Glue a small square mirror to the fence. It should also serve as a shield to the wooden fence in case the flame blows toward the fence.

Richard K.

Love the idea… But… I would love to burn it indoors… Could I swap out TIKI OIL for Hurricane Lamp Oil??? Would it work the same??? Would I need to make any adjustments to the wick??? Please let me know

Grace Bonney


this is designed for indoors, so i can’t safely guarantee it’s small/safe enough to burn inside. sorry :(


Jen Morris

Love the idea! But hey I have a suggestion, how about a link to pinterest so we can “pin it”….Thanks!

Grace Bonney


If you have the Pinterest dashboard you can easily pin things, but we’ve had a major issue with our images being on Pinterest with no credit or link back, so I’m still wary of encouraging Pinning all the time.



I love this idea–I couldn’t find the copper plate either at Home Depot or at a local independent tool store but they told me to use threaded inserts like these: and just screw in the rod to that. I will try it and will see if this works. Thanks for the detailed instructions! Some of the folks at the hardware stores also want to try this after I showed them the details on my iphone.

Jose Rivera

You just have to love the INTERNET, my wife brought this to my attention and I am in love with it and I am going to Home Depot to pick up the materials and put these in the yard. Thank you, Erik


Wife loved the idea! Everything was easy to find except the split ring hangers. The 1″ at HD was too big but the 3/4 inch actually measured 1″ and worked. However, I can’t get them to stay lit. I bought replacement tiki wicks and tiki torch fuel. I have them about half full with about half the wick in the oil and let them sit for almost 24 hours before lighting. However, they only stay lit for a few minutes like it’s only burning the wick and not the oil. Any advice? Thanks.

Nancy Weiss

Help! I’ve been working hard to make 3 of these … I’ve tried 3 different wine bottles … the necks of all 3 slip right through the 1 inch split ring hanger. The next size smaller (3/4 inch) is too small ….. Unless the answer is that the threaded rod is supposed to go further through the ring and press against the bottle, holding it in place in the too- big ring — but that doesn’t seem safe. Can anyone help …. Do I just need to search harder for a bottle of wine with a wider neck. I was so excited, now I’m frustrated. I will appreciate any suggestions!


I am making these to replace my rusted out tiki oil containers. The wine bottles fit perfectly in the torch holder, or stake. Thanks!


I tried this but the wick burns really quickly, like 10 mins. Will be trying a different type of wick

Tina White

I love this idea. They are so modern, and certainly serve a purpose. I love to recycle!


Love this! I’m making it for my mom for Mother’s Day but I cannot find copper top plate connectors anywhere. Do you know where I could find some?


LOVE the idea and we have lots of wine bottles around the house, but the openings seem to be too small. We thought a champagne bottle might be bigger so we busted out the bubbly, still doesn’t fit. Any suggestions???


I bought the Tiki brand wicks but I’m having trouble with them slipping back down into the bottle. Any suggestions?


I just made three of these yesterday for the little deck on my apartment. They turned out so cool, and they give a lot of character to my tiny outdoor space. Thanks for posting this! PS. I found all the required hardware at Home Depot in the plumbing aisle. I asked an associate to help me and together we tracked down all the little pieces.


I’ve read all of the comments and no one mentions the best method for refueling once the oil burns down. Any suggestions?


I have made these and am having a hard time keeping them burning brightly for more than 15 min. Any suggestions?


Help!!!i’m having trouble keeping these burning for more than 15min. The flame then gets very dim. Suggestions please.

John Colby

Great project. However, my local Home Depot and Lowe’s fell short of having what I needed. Thanks to Keight I looked up Look no further, they have everything, and cheap. Just waiting for my goods to arrive. Thanks Erik for a great project and Keight for the great find.


I love these things, theo only thing I changed was by putting 1/2″ copper pipe cut to length covering the threaded rod


I made these today. The harder part is finding the items at stores to make them. The easy part is putting them together. I did 5 in 35 minutes complete! Great idea and pretty even unlit!

Andrea A.

Love the idea! Made some as a gift and added “jewelry” around the neck of bottle by using copper colored trinkets and chain purchased at Michael’s. This gave it nice bling. Also spray painted rod and nuts with hammered copper outdoor spray paint to look more uniform. Added the same chain to the cap by drilling a 1/16 hole and securing with copper jump ring. Added jump ring to other end and placed on screw prior to tightening split ring hangar. Thanks for sharing this great idea!


Shattered bottle….. Not sure what happened. Made four of these tonight and after being lit for about 20 minutes, the bottle shattered on one. Wick was about 1/2 inch. Will be highly disappointed if it happens to the others ones. Any suggestions one why that might have happened?


My wine bottle necks were too small as well. I took some copper wire and wrapped it below the lip of the bottle. I then tightened the clamp. You don’t even want to know what I tried the first time. I actually caught one of the bottles as it was falling to the concrete to save it. I’m just glad it was not lit. The copper wire has worked so far.


My wicks are also slipping into the bottles :/ what am I doing wrong?!


Please be careful…DO NOT blow them out…use a snufter…I had a tiki explode and I received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my neck, ear and cheek….All I did was blow it out and it exploded. Personally I will never use tiki fluid again.




Looks like a molotov cocktail variant. Wouldn’t consider doing this around anything I didn’t want to bet set on fire, in any household with children of any age or around people who imbibed a bit too much of the liquid the bottles initially came with. Just saying.

Katherine Kendrick

I made six of these! They looked AMAZING, sadly the wicks won’t burn. We let them soak for over a week…and even turned them around…but they burn about ten mins and then slowly go out…I was thinking of buying the oil burning wine wicks…thoughts?


The key to getting the wick to burn is to only expose about 1/4″ of it. If your wick is too long it won’t burn. Pull a very small amount of wick above the coupling and light. It will burn for hours.


so my son and I did these, more my son, but the cord fell inside the bottle and the wick did not burn very well on most of them
that am i doing wrong


I just made these and here are the parts with applicable item number/parts number
at Lowes:
*3/8″-16 threaded rod
*3/8″-16 hex nuts
#10x1in wood screws
*3/8″ galvanized steel ceiling flange item#301689
*1/2″x3/8″ reducer coupling
*1/2″ copper cap item#186096
*1″ copper plated split ring hanger item#301353
*replacement tiki torch wick
I simply spray painted the galvanized parts with hammered copper spray paint and the looked AWESOME! Total cost was about $8 each

….and ladies, if you’re wearing lots of hairspray or other flammable hair products DO NOT put you face up to the flame to blow it out!!!
Geez people use common sense!!!


Hey, need a little advice. I made this tiki torch today it worked great. Used an old patron bottle so no left over alcohol residue. I lit it for a brief moment then put it out and about an hour later it exploded. It was it due to pressure build up because it had some space to breathe and not have buildup. Any idea why it exploded?


I finally have a use for my alcoholism… lol

Great ideas this is just what I wanted for my garden!! Thanks! Keep the ideas coming lol


The fence we want to mount these to gets a lot of sun – is there a risk of darker colored bottles heating the oil too much during the day? The empty darkroom green bottles were pretty hot to the touch today, so I haven’t bee brave enough to fill them yet.


Can I use solder on the copper coupler instead of plumbers tape or will the heat from the flame of the torch melt the solder?


Awesome idea! My wife and I recently had our wedding reception in our backyard and lined our fence with these. The lighting and complements we’re were endless.


Won’t this look great in my xeriscaped yard that uses wine bottles for edging and a spiral design!


Awesome Idea. Just cant wait to try to make these. One question though how do you pull more of the wick out when it has burned to the end? Thanks :)


I made two of these tonight for my mom to place on her patio table. She loves to sit outside under the carport but the mosquitoes chase her in way before she is ready. I used a couple of beer bottles instead and then glued them to a painted clay saucer for added stability. I was worried about the small nieces and nephews bumping the table and knocking over a flaming bottle…. just lit them up for a test run and they are fabulous!!! Going to make one more :)

Justin Mitchell

To solve the problem with the wick falling into the bottle, I drilled a 1/16″ hole through the Copper Coupling (#5) and put a cotter pin through it and the wick. It seems to hold it up just fine.

Anand Subramanian

Excellent!!!! Took me a trip to Lowes, got exactly the hardware as listed, an hour to put together four of them and show it off to wifey….Too good. Made one with a fancy indian rum bottle, to make it a conversation piece. Am going to start giving these as gifts when we go to friend’s homes.

Christine Boucher

A couple of comments I learned along the way with the bottles I have done. To help prevent the wick from falling through I put round glass marbles in the bottom. This also helped to use less fluid. I also had an issue with the flame not staying lit so I pierced a hole in copper just above the plumber’s tape. This allowed for air to circulate and keep the flame going.


Awesome Idea. Just cant wait to try to make these. One question though how do you pull more of the wick out when it has burned to the end? Thanks too


I found all the parts at Lowes!!

The big issue here is that the wick only goes 1/2 down the bottle. I’m thinking about filling the bottom 1/2 of the bottle with sand so I don’t waste tiki fuel. Anyone else??

nars ita brush

Awesome Idea too. Just cant wait to try to make these. One question though how do you pull more of the wick out when it has burned to the end? Thanks too


Some updates on finding parts for this project:

Home Depot and Lowes don’t seem to carry items 3 & 4 anymore (at least, not here in Tucson, AZ). Nor was I able to find them at any plumbing/gas hardware shop, or the ACE store with the largest selection of hardware I’ve seen. I did find them on-line here:

Wicking can be obtained in on-demand lengths here:

I just ordered the above items. While I’m waiting, I’ll be drilling the vent holes in the couplings (item 5) and sourcing some washers to use under them instead of the Teflon tape.


We found the split ring holders and copper plates at plumbing and heating supply companies.


My wife found this post this morning. I finished hanging 12 of these in my backyard. What a great idea. Found all of the parts at lowe’s.