Welcome to that time of year again when the temperature heats up and the bugs come out to play. For as long as I can remember, mosquitoes have flocked my way, leaving no outdoor summer activity (especially in the evenings) bug bite free. Being a picker by nature, I’m often unable to leave those itchy little bumps alone. I like to partake in any measure to prevent those pesky little buggers ::insert English accent:: from nipping me in the first place. Along with bug spray (I prefer the light feel of OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent I (Smooth & Dry)) and decorative, nicely scented citronella candles (such as this urban, yet cute TIKI brand bucket candle or this tasteful OFF! bucket candle), I have always loved the ambiance of a calming flame. These visually appealing mosquito repellents supplement as both a light feature and a bug preventative (when paired with this citronella oil). The glow of a fire adds the feel of soothing relaxation to both side and coffee tables in seating areas and around your property.
After years of replacing the tiki torch cans due to rusting and the fact that they simply aren’t built to last, my mom and I found the idea of recycling old bottles into such. Not only is this a “green” alternative, I believe glass bottles are much more attractive than the latter. My preferences on how to make DIY – Bottle Tiki Torches are as follows.
1. Pick a glass bottle with a narrow neck.
- Soak in water. Once label becomes saturated, scrape off. Run through dishwasher (when necessary). If any residue remains, use Goo Gone Original Cleaner with a paper towel.
- I like to use wine, beer, or liquor bottles. You can even get creative with different colors, sizes, and shapes. B and I chose the blue bottles from Bud Light Platinum to give a pop of color to our otherwise neutral backyard.
2. Gather supplies.
- Clean bottles.
- Ceramic wick holders – My favorite are these, which come in a pack of 10 and include a wick. I ordered these last April (2015) and they are still going strong!
- Fiberglass wicks – The above ceramic wick holders come with enough wick for approximately one year, according to how often you plan to use them and how adamant you are about taking care of them (i.e. not leaving them out through the winter, making sure they have appropriate cover for rain, etc.).
- I ordered 15 feet of replacement wick this spring to replace the old, worn wicks from last year. The ceramic wick holders simply needed a nice scrub and were ready to go for round two.
- Tiki Citronella Torch Fuel – I like the light blue color of this brand (for when using clear bottles), as well as the pleasant scent.
- Cap “snuffer” – There are several options, but the most economical version I thought up was a clear shot glass.
3. Pour the tiki fuel into each bottle.
- Make sure to fill with enough fuel to cover and saturate a decent amount of the wick inside of the bottle.
- Using a plastic funnel helps to prevent spills.
4. Add a ceramic wick holder…obviously, with a wick in it.
5. Light that sucker up and enjoy a bug-free, fabulously-illuminated evening!
If a bottle has a special meaning (say your favorite wine or a unique souvenir from traveling), create a one of a kind tiki by preserving the label. Paint over the entire bottle with several layers of Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer (making sure to let it dry completely between coats). The Mod Podge will look milky at first (it reminds me of the consistency of the Elmer’s glue I used in elementary school), but will dry clear. I did this with the above bottle B picked up on a trip to North Carolina from Doc Porter’s Distillery.
A few last words of wisdom: make sure to always cover your torches with some form of topper after use. (A) No one wants to start a fire and (B) it keeps the rain out so your torches will be nice and dry, ready for the next use.