Monday, July 16, 2012

Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

You might not guess this from looking at me, but I'm a bit of a wine-o. A perfect night is hanging out on the patio with my girlfriends and a glass of wine. But, drinking wine means empty bottles and hanging out on the patio means mosquitoes, you know the Minnesota National Bird. When I saw a tutorial on Design Sponge for a wine bottle tiki torch I knew I had to try it.  I mean really, it solves both problems! Repurposing used wine bottles and keeps away mosquitoes. However, I did end up having to modify some things just slightly, so I made a tutorial too. Check it out!
Wine Bottle (empty and cleaned)
3/8" Threaded Rod (This was sold in 3 foot lengths. I cut it into 4-5 inch lengths with a hacksaw)
2, Hex Nuts threaded for 3/8" rod
2, #10 x 1" Zinc Plated Wood Screws 
3/4" Split Ring Hanger, threaded for a 3/8" rod
Top Plate Connector, threaded for 3/8" rod
1/2" x 3/8" Coupling
1/2" Cap (this is optional, but I recommend it)
1/2" Teflon Tape
Replacement Tiki Wick
Citronella Tiki Torch Fuel (not pictured)

Now you're thinking, what? Where the heck do I find all of this stuff?! I found it all in the plumbling section at Menards.  All of it except the threaded rod, screws, hex nuts and tiki wicks.  The threaded rod, screws and hex nuts were located in the hardware section. My Menards store didnt have tiki wicks, but I found them at Target in their seasonal outdoor section. Oh and the citronella fuel was located in the outdoors section at either Menards or Target.
It took me awhile to find the stuff at Menards.  I'm not going to lie, having no prior plumbing experience or really any sort of construction experience, I looked like a lost puppy.  But with a little patience and a lot of reading of signs on bins, I found what I needed....and felt like a rockstar! I've since made 4 more torches and now know exactly where to look for everything. It was pretty fun having my boyfriend along for a supply trip and he didnt know where to look for any of this so I got to show him.  Ooooh yeah, victory is mine!

OK, now that you have your supplies together and your threaded rod cut into pieces, lets get your base set up.
Start by screwing your connector plate to your fence post (or other wood surface, where you intend to hang your torch---please be mindful that it is an open flame! Do not place your torch anywhere that could ignite surrounding things such as bushes, trees, etc)
1. Take your 2 wood screws and secure connector plate to post
2. Screw hex nuts to both ends of threaded rod.  Move the screws closer to the center of rod so that we can attach the connector plate and ring to the ends.
3. Connect the rod to the already secured connector plate.  Move the hex nut on that end all the way up to the connector plate.
4. Attached split ring hanger to the opposite end of the rod. Screw this in until the end of the rod is flush with the inside of the ring. Then, secure with the other hex nut.

Now lets prepare your bottle:
 Begin by taking the coupler and teflon tape. The coupler is a bit small to fit inside your wine bottle, so you will need to wrap the base with teflon tape.  You will wrap the thicker part of the base with the tape until it fits snuggly inside your bottle.  This is what will hold the tiki wick in place. Just keep wrapping with tape, keeping the tape as flat as possible. After a few wraps, you can test it in the bottle.  Keep wrapping until it fits snug and secure.
Once your coupler is properly wrapped you can pull it back out, thread the wick through and then put it back in.  You can also fill it with citronella fuel before reinserting the wick.  However, I waited until my bottle was securely hung before doing that. 

Next, you will open the screws on the split ring, place your bottle in between the ring and then tighten the screws.  BE CAREFUL not to tighten them too tight, you don't want to break the glass!! Just tighten each side until it holds the bottle securely.
**Note: the 3/4" split ring fits most wine bottles.  It fit all of mine. However, you can always go up to a 1" split ring if you have a larger bottle, or a 1/2" split ring if you are using a smaller bottle.
At this point, I pulled out the wick again and used a funnel to pour in my citronella fuel. Then reinsert the wick.
When not using the torches, you will place the cap on the wick.  DO NOT make the mistake I made...I pushed the cap down onto the wick, which them pushed the wick out of the coupler into the bottom of the bottle.  I had to fish it out with a skewer, it was just a hot mess. 
When you put the cap on make sure to just gently set it on top of the wick.  The cap is optional, but I recommend using it to help keep your wick dry from dew and rain when you arent burning it.
One last tip, I do also recommend letting your wick sit in the oil, in the bottle, before you start to burn it.  In other words, I know you are excited that you just hung up your torch, but wait about 10 minutes and then marvel in your awesomeness.

That's all there is to it! Enjoy!

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