Backyard Coastal Tiki Torches

by Terry
6 Materials
2 Hours

I've seen several posts on HomeTalk and the internet for making Tiki Torches from old wine bottles and they all were very nice. However, I hate seeing the wick through the bottle (because it is ugly) so I challenged myself to make something that would use the old bottles, have some coastal flair, work well and be inexpensive. Here is my concept for making a pretty Tiki Torch from whatever kind of bottle you love....

Here are some of the supplies I used to create my wine bottle tiki torches: wicks, several types of plumbing nuts to fit the wick and the bottle neck, marbles or gems to camouflage the wick. Not shown are shells, sea glass and the jute twine.

These are the types of nuts I used to create the wick assembly. I found that the 3/8" size works the best in most of the bottles. There are other brass plumbing fixtures that will work as well. The nut just needs to seat inside the bottle neck and also be large enough to hold the wick securely.

I made several tiki torches but didn't take pictures of each step because it is so easy to do. First I make the wick assembly out of the nut and the tiki wick. Then I put in the gems or marbles or shells to about half way up the bottle. I put the bottle on it's side so I can slide the wick assembly in over the filler. Once the wick is in, I can jiggle it around until it covers part of the wick all the way around. I also used a long metal skewer to move the filler around so you don't see the wick. (By the way, this picture shows the fuel in the bottle--DON'T put the fuel in before you are done decorating, it will make a mess as you maneuver the bottle around.)

This was a cool bottle that I tried glueing glass chips on the inside. It is hard to get them to stick and takes a long time to dry. I'm testing this one to see if the glass stays glued once the tiki torch fuel is put in. It will get wrapped in twine too to reduce the amount of wick that can be seen. UPDATE: 5-10-2021. This bottle was a fail! The chips were too hard to get where you wanted them, the glue never dried and I now know that the glue would have re-liquified and been a big mess after filling with fuel. DON'T DO THIS ONE! ;-)

Another trick to making a bottle that doesn't show the wick is to find a bottle that you can't easily see through (this dark cobalt blue is perfect). I wrapped the upper part of the bottle with jute twine by first painting on a layer of Weldbond glue and then holding the end of the twine and spinning the bottle around so it adhers to the glue. I make sure to keep the rows of twine close together and also tamp it all down at the end. The Weldbond will make whatever you are gluing feel very secure and is my go to glue for crafts.

After wrapping the neck of the bottle (or as much of the bottle as you want to cover) comes the fun and time-consuming part. I glue on shells and sea glass for a coastal look. I'm particular about how the shells fit together and that's the only reason I say it's time-consuming. You can put as much or as little as you like for your decoration.

Here's a bottle that I filled with small shell pieces that I found in the craft department at Walmart.

After the bottle is decorated, you can use a small funnel to pour in the tiki torch fuel while leaving the wick assembly in place (just move it up slightly and stick in the small funnel--this is the trickiest part!) Here's a picture of my favorite torch.

And three of them on my patio! I hope you enjoyed hearing about my version of the home-made wine bottle tiki torch.

Suggested materials:
  • Jute Twine   (ACE or HomeDepot)
  • Short Rod Nut 1/2" flare   (HomeDepot)
  • Marbles   (Dollar Tree)
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 6 questions
  • Christy Roppel Christy Roppel on Aug 03, 2016
    I've often wanted to make these but wondered if the heat would crack the glass. What has been your experience?
  • Your bottles are beautiful! To hide seeing the wick, how about etching the glass which would give it the opaque look. But my question is what type of glue was used inside the bottle to attach the glass chips. Also, have you used wine bottles? And if so, how would you remove the labels. Thanks, candace

  • Harriet Harriet on Jan 16, 2020

    You said something about using sand inside the bottle...wouldn’t that interfere with the tiki fuel?

Join the conversation
3 of 34 comments
  • Shelly Moore Shelly Moore on Apr 13, 2021

    I would worry about the jute on the necks catching fire. Even if you can't see it small drips of oil can drip down making a trail that the fire can follow. I'm just extra cautious with fire. Our area has been having terrible wildfires and we try to be careful when we burn Anything! They are Lovely!!! I might just use rocks, beads or other, non-flammable things to decorate them. The wind can be bad here too so they Have to be set where they Can't tip over!!! Just a worry warts thoughts. 😊

  • Terry Terry on Apr 13, 2021

    I hear ya. You don't have to wrap the jute all the way to the top. And keeping the wick low so you don't have a large flame is also helpful. I've found many flame protectors too for when the wind is too strong. They are made of glass and fit over the neck of the bottle and protect the flame from wind blowing. The only problem with them is that you can't decorate the bottle top much because the neck of the flame protector is just wide enough to go over the bottle neck.

    • Julie Julie on Jun 30, 2021

      Can you show us what you are talking about ... "flame protectors" Ours blow out also.