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.