Wine + Fire = Fun

This wine torch was one of my first pins on Pinterest. I was seduced by its promise of being 1) classier than a tiki torch and 2) cheap.

Really cool, right? We love being outside, but the mosquitoes here in Florida are big and vicious. I intended to attach four or so to our pergola, so we could eat dinner outside without being simultaneously devoured.

So I put it to the test.

The claim: “This is totally inexpensive (around $5-bucks).”
The truth: While this was not an expensive project, it was nowhere near $5. Let me break it down for you:

To be fair, the torch wicks come in a 2-pack, and that’s enough tiki torch fuel to fill 4 or 5 bottles.

The claim: “A glance into my recycling bin and an aimless stroll through the local hardware store provided me with this clear solution.”
The truth: I looked at Home Depot and Ace Hardware, and was unable to find either the “split ring hanger” or “copper top plate connector” referenced in the original project. The very helpful people at Ace said that’s not something they carry in stock but I could order it.

I’m not patient. So I changed the design a little.

This next part was pretty easy. I wrapped the coupling in Teflon tape (so it fit snugly in the bottle opening) and threaded the wick through. That’s when I noticed:

The wick only extended 2/3 of the way down the bottle. Jason pointed out that, as the flame heated the copper coupling, it may expand, dropping the wick into the oil. This would be, in layman’s terms, “bad.” It also seemed like a waste of oil.


I thought about trying to find or make a longer wick, but I wanted to stick with the “easy and inexpensive” theme of the original.

It occurred to me that marbles, pea gravel, or some other vase filler would displace the oil, effectively raising the bottom of the bottle to the level of the wick. So I took my 40% off coupon to Hobby Lobby and got some of these:

I filled up the bottom third of the bottle, so that the tip of the wick was resting on the rocks. Finally, I filled it with the citronella oil.

And then I made another one, just to perfect my technique.

Verdict: So long as you are not a slave to the original design, this is a fun, quick, and relatively inexpensive project. These would make a nice hostess gift to a summer barbeque, or even a (literal) housewarming gift. I actually like my mobile version better, because the torches can be moved to wherever the party is. The copper caps are a genius addition that provides protection from rain when the torch is not in use.

Happy Pinning, Y’all.


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12 responses to “Wine + Fire = Fun

  1. gordo86

    some wine bottles come with a screw on cap, you think I can use this instead,of buying one?

  2. where do you get the wickes? cant find the thick ones anywhere.

  3. debbie m

    Love it! Great job! I’m hoping I can find all these items so I can make them this weekend also got my 40% off coupon! Can’t wait make them! thanks

  4. Julie

    Walmart (garden Center) has 2 packs of wicks for a little less than $3 here in PA. I am curious if the copper heated up like you suggested it might? Want to make these for around our fire ring area. Living in the country has its advantages but also comes with a lot of bugs…especially living on a farm.

  5. robyn

    would it be safe to paint the bottles?

  6. Kim F

    I made these with a few modifications. We drilled a hole in the copper coupling and placed a stainless wire in the holes and went thru the wick to help hold it up out of the oil and didn’t put any teflon tape on it. No more sticky mess. I also put a jump ring on the clamp (it is a hanger for pipe that is dropped from threaded rod above a drop ceiling and the plate attaches the threaded rod to the bar joist at the roof level) I put a jump ring on between the ears of the clamping device and another in the edge of the copper cap so you don’t have to worry about losing the cap. It is a little more work, but worth it in the end. I think I paid about $10.00 for all of the hardware.

  7. Whitdawg

    yall are brilliant! I am going to copy the river rock idea……and love repurposing the wine bottles.

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