Introduction: Molotov Lantern

Picture of Molotov Lantern

Light your patio and keep the bugs away with these quick, easy, and attractive bottle lamps.


bottles (beer, wine, liquor, soda, whatever)

tiki torch wicks

2 - 1" wood screws

pipe mount hardware (I had to go to a construction supply store as opposed to the average hardware store for these, but the guy at the hardware store told me where to find them.)

2" threaded rod (that fits the pipe mount hardware) I bought a 12" rod and cut it into 6 pieces with a hacksaw.

large wood bead (This is optional but makes the hardware more attractive.)

tiki fuel

1/2" - 3/4" copper coupling

aluminum tape (maybe-depending on the size of your bottle)

plastic/rubber tubing

Step 1: Mounting Hardware

Picture of Mounting Hardware

1. Mount the plate

2. Screw the bead onto the middle of the rod. Some of my beads gave me trouble wanting to go onto the rod. If you screw the rod into the plate and then put the bead on while it's mounted, it will go on easier. This bead is decorative, but it also acts as a nut to keep the rod and bracket from swiveling if it is put on tightly.

3. Screw the bracket onto the rod.

Step 2: Adding the Wick and Filling With Fuel

Picture of Adding the Wick and Filling With Fuel

1. Slide the wick into the copper coupling by pushing it in from the larger end.

2. Fill with tiki fuel.

3. Fit copper coupling into the mouth of the bottle. If it's too small, use strips of aluminum tape to bulk it up.

4. Cut a piece of the tubing to fit the neck of the bottle. This will allow you to get the clamp tight without putting too much pressure on the bottle and possibly breaking it. (Thanks Reengineered for the idea) I had some lying around the house that was just a bit too small so I cut two pieces to make it all the way round, but if you bought tubing for this project you could buy a size that would fit better.

5. Sandwich the bottle with tubing into the bracket and tighten.

Step 3: Ceramic Plate

Picture of Ceramic Plate

For those worried about the surface you've mounted these lanterns to, you can add any kind of protective plate from a piece of sheet metal to a decorative plate as I've done.

1. Mark the center of the plate with a marker.

2. Begin drilling with your ceramic bit following the directions on the packaging. I did mine in the sink with a small board underneath so that I could cool the bit down from time to time.

3. When you've breached the other side, flip the plate over and drill from the other side for a quick finish.

Note: If your plates are porcelain, these bits will be chewed up quickly. Choose ceramic plates or get a bit made for porcelain.

4. Use a screw to mount the plate behind the wick. Be careful not to over-tighten. It will break the plate.

Step 4: Hang, Light and Enjoy!

Picture of Hang, Light and Enjoy!

1. Loosen the bracket.

2. This is where I needed a friend. One person needs to hold the bottle while the other tightens the bracket around the bottle.

3. Light and enjoy your patio's new bug free ambiance.


Reengineered (author)2014-06-20

Looks great, simple, elegant, functional. One improvement you may wish to make is the addition of a rubber pad (bike tire tube, weather stripping tape, etc.) between the clamp and the bottle. Having experience with mounting glass to metal, the two do not typically expand/contract at the same rate with temperature which could cause the glass to fracture with temperature change. Adding the flexible pad in between will allow for this difference. If nothing else (risking sounding like a safety whiner) you might add a note about not over tightening the clamp and/or leaving it loose with the rim of the bottle supporting the weight.

That's a really great recommendation. It would have to be pretty as well as functional. I'll look around at the hardware store and add that when I find something I like. Thanks!

Really I think you could do it so that it wouldn't even be visible. If you just apply it to the jaws of the clamp you wouldst know it was there. Personally I think I would cut a nice strip of inner tube and wrap it neatly where the clamp is. The tube is black and I think it would accent the hardware if it is left a little exposed. when you go shopping, just remember, the main idea is to provide a little cushion and distribute the clamping pressure. Any time you have metal against glass it creates a point load that is bad. If your chosen material is squishy like a sponge you would need something thicker, if it is more like tire rubber you can get away with something thinner.

I found some plastic tubing in my piles of random stuff from other projects that worked great!

ToGrin (author)2014-06-17

Thank you for this excellent idea. To satisfy the paranoid few, you could always add a shield behind the wick. Plumbing clean-out covers are stainless discs that would not only shield the flame, but would act as a reflector as well.


Brooklyntonia (author)ToGrin2014-06-17

I have bowed to the peer pressure and added some protection for the wood. See the new Step 3!

Kweek (author)Brooklyntonia2014-06-18

Yeah, thanks for that. The photo in the email was making me nervous. Even though it is impossible for a flame that size to ignite the post at that distance, weird stuff happens.

Brooklyntonia (author)2014-06-16

Due to various comments, I have edited step 2 to include a copper coupling to hold the wick. Safety first.

Anatidyne (author)2014-12-16

Just in case I can't remember this tiny factoid when I go to the store to get the parts to build one of these: the base that's screwed to the wood is called a rod hanger plate.

airrunner6000 (author)2014-06-22

A substitute for the aluminum tape could be copper tape. The kind that is used to wrap around trees as a snail barrier.

parkmana (author)2014-06-17

Have you checked with your local fire chief regarding glass containers and flammable liquids? Los Angeles County has fire safety laws that prohibit the use of glass or other fragile material for use as a container for flammable liquids.

Just an FYI as your project is called "Molotov Lantern" :)

Kweek (author)parkmana2014-06-18

Makes sense. If the glass is hot and cold water splashes on it it could 'splode! Even just heating and cooling over time could cause it to break, releasing its flammable contents.

Brooklyntonia (author)Kweek2014-06-18

That is true, but the bottle doesn't get hot at all. The mouth might get about as hot as a mug with hot coffee in it. All the heat is on and rising above the wick.

Kweek (author)Brooklyntonia2014-06-19

That's probably due to your ingenious coupling dissipating a lot of heat. That might be a good caveat to note, "This doohicky is important cuz blah blah"

BTW, this is very nicely executed project. Has a clean intentional look to it which I don't always achieve in my projects.

Brooklyntonia (author)parkmana2014-06-17

Well, I don't know how the fire chief would feel, but a bit of quick research has informed me that the flash point of the liquor that was originally in that bottle is lower than that of the tiki fuel. So, it would be easier to ignight the liquor than the fuel. I learned something today! I also learned that alcohol would burn the wick and the tiki fuel burns above the wick without consuming it. Thanks for inciting that bit of research.

Eh Lie Us! (author)2014-06-17

The idea is great (upcycling, etc) and people should modify to their tastes (comfort levels).
The changes to the design, with the back plate is a nice touch but I still feel :-\ that you even had to do that to appease a few people on here.

Just keep being your creative self and we'll worry about what we do with the fires that we start. :)

bastion72 (author)2014-06-17

I have these on my porch as well, without the plate for protection and it's been fine. The problem I run into is the wine bottle is too long and you have to keep a certain amount of oil in there just to keep the wick wet. If you have a smaller bottle you can use less oil in the bottle and still keep the wick wet.

allhopswindgen (author)2014-06-17

Nice Instructable could I suggest that instead if using just an inflamable liquid for the fuel that Citrinella oil would be great to provide the fuel for light and keep insects at bay ...

You certainly can! Thanks for the suggestion.

fixfireleo (author)2014-06-17

i'm glad you added the plate. the one on the instructible e-mail didnt have it and i was thinking "how smart is it to have an open flame mounted on a wooden beam"??

Brooklyntonia (author)fixfireleo2014-06-17

As Hawaiian69 has pointed out:

"PS--you cannot start a structure fire by burning the side face of a 2x4, 4x4, etc. The flame is too small, BTU is way too low & there is no meaningful "ignitable" material or wood fiber/strands available."

However, it doesn't hurt to be a bit paranoid sometimes. Thanks!

dogucan97 (author)2014-06-17

[In case of revolution detach lantern]

Brooklyntonia (author)dogucan972014-06-17

LOL. Perfect for those Preppers among us.

burnerjack01 (author)2014-06-17

Pretty cool idea. However, I for one would NEVER leave an open flame unattended. Just a reminder. Placing these on a structure as opposed to the traditional tiki on a pole has my inner voice asking "what could happen?.... Probably nothing. "Probably" is a big word....Just sayin'....

Hawaiian69 (author)2014-06-17

How do you adjust the length of the wick whether it's skinny or thick??

Answer: With the wick burning, use a needle nose plier, slide the wick up or down in very small increments & watch the flame. Raise it to create black smoke (soot). When it starts to generate soot, lower it. You may have to twist the wick/bottle to compress the wick to make it easier to raise & lower. PS--you cannot start a structure fire by burning the side face of a 2x4, 4x4, etc. The flame is too small, BTU is way too low & there is no meaningful "ignitable" material or wood fiber/strands available. However, anything else in proximity that can be easily ignited, e.g., polyester, plastic, fabrics, drapes, cloth, artificial plants, etc., are excellent sources of ignition. Also, in my opinion, do NOT use wall mounted candles in an enclosed room, use only where no more than two walls are present. Also, the overhead ceiling should be more than 24" away for an open-candle flame, MORE if a glass hurricane screen is used. The screen allows a larger flame which means more heat and that heat is concentrated into a very small exit hole which concentrates the upward heat plume. I really like the idea of these candles & have collected over 100 various wine bottles to make my similar version of candle holder. The shield is an excellent idea because it can be used to generate more reflective light. I recommend using small rectangular mirrors sized & two-sided taped to fit the mounting post. Will post my project after I finish my other projects...

Brooklyntonia (author)Hawaiian692014-06-17

Thank you for your helpful and supportive comment!

Cueball21 (author)2014-06-17

Great idea and very good Instructable. I am going to steal it, but I will definitely add metal heat shields cum light reflectors to the area behind the mount. I've been down that road and had a small fire from a very similar arrangement.

I think I'll put citronella oil in one or two to discourage the skeeters, too.

billbillt (author)2014-06-17

double plus good.....

Erelu (author)2014-06-16

I've seen this with copper hardware too. They might have made a wick holder from copper as well.
You could always rip off some $ store tikis for them. another idea would be the screw cap from the bottle. Punch a big hole in it, then pull the wick through.

nightmare_man (author)2014-06-16

I don't think there's too much of a problem between the flame and the structure, adding an inch or two won't hurt. But the serious issue is the amount of air space between the wick and the mouth of the bottle. You need a flame arrester of some sort, as mentioned a metal plate or ceramic disk would be good enough, plus it would support the wick at the same time. As is it's a problem waiting to happen

xasterbated (author)2014-06-16

Definitely would use a fire resistant plate behind the flame but this is a great idea!

NTT (author)xasterbated2014-06-16

My thoughts exactly!

Luki007 (author)NTT2014-06-16

i think that too!

Tntman603 (author)2014-06-16

What's with everyone and fire!?

Screaming-spike (author)2014-06-16

that looks amazing!!! will have to try this at some point!!

Fikjast Scott (author)2014-06-16

this is great - I really like the mounting hardware. Yes the bead takes it up a notch.

witkowski8 (author)2014-06-16


rajan007RJ (author)2014-06-16


Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-06-15

Fun idea!

M3G (author)2014-06-15


mauroc1 (author)2014-06-15

Smaller wick might be safer
Or mount a metal or ceramic plate behind the wick

Brooklyntonia (author)2014-06-15

So sorry to have forgotten the liquid. It's a citronella tiki fuel. Obviously, you shouldn't burn these unsupervised. We burned them for a few hours and there was just a bit of soot on the wood. If you're worried about your structure, make the rod longer than 2 inches. I didn't want them to stick out too far and have someone run into it.

Noqrjakh (author)2014-06-15

What liquid did you put in the bottles? It looks really nice. Overall this looks like a great ide

azharbass (author)Noqrjakh2014-06-15

It looks like methylated spirits, at least that's the colour of it in our hardware stores.

ruberns (author)2014-06-15

It looks like you're about to burn down your wooden structure!

About This Instructable




Bio: Art Teacher, Artist, and Maker - Follow me on Instagram to see what I'm working on before it hits Instructables.
More by Brooklyntonia:Teacher ToolbeltSave a Stained Garment With AppliqueWatercolor on Laser Cut Wood: Tips and Tricks
Add instructable to: