Instructables
Make a Tiki Torch Tree out of copper pipe. Once it weathers, you'll have a green, natural looking pièce d'art.

We built this in one evening. Allow two hours for the tree. Plus another two hours to make and prep the torches. Making and soldering the leaves took another evening plus a few hours for the soldering.

In each step we will first detail exactly what we did, then follow with any afterthoughts.
 
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Step 1: Materials

What we used:
- 15 meters copper pipe. Ours was 9.5mm, about as wide as your pinky.
- Hacksaw (or some other way to cut the pipe).
- Dremel or heavy sandpaper to smooth the rough edges.
- Plastic zip ties (about 8 inches long).
- A base to mount your tree. We used an old grinder we found for free. I saw a lot of stuff in the plumbing store that would work though. Be creative and recycle if you can.
- Planter, and rocks or dirt to fill it with.
- Oil lamps. The instructable by Sappho and the comments attached thereto are very helpful: http://www.instructables.com/id/Glass-Bottle-Oil-Lamp/. We loosely braided & salted three strands from a mop head for each wick, used metal coffee drink bottles as torches, and filled them with soybean oil (cheap yet stinky). Check out Sappho's instructable for more/better ideas.

Miscellaneous items you may want handy:
- Something to help you bend the pipe. (We used a length of heavy duty garden hose. Didn't work too great. Suggestions on how to bend pipe are very welcome.)
- Pliers to help you bend the pipe to secure it to your base, if need be.
- A rubber mallet.
- A level for making sure the tree stands straight.
- Tweezers to help thread the wicks.
- A phillips-head screwdriver for making holes for the wick.
- Safety goggles.
- Gloves for handling metal.
great idea, looks amazing! could use some thinner copper wire and wrap it around the tree like a vine so that you don't need the zip ties
the copper wire sounds like it would work well. and if you started where the upper zip tie was it prolly wouldn't look that bad.
Bosun Rick3 years ago
You might be able to shape the copper pipe branches by filling them with fine sand, and gently applying pressure while rolling the pipe on the edge of a table or workbench. The garden hose or screen door spring idea will help prevent kinking in addition to the sand (regular cooking flour inside the tubing MIGHT also work).
Small copper tubing is usually reasonably soft, and can be 'worked'; you just need to take your time. Rigid copper pipe can be worked in the same manner, but I would use a propane torch to help soften it during bending (this will give a neat color change effect when it is heated too).
Once you get the shape you want, dump the sand or flour out, and continue the project
sibu4 years ago
This is beautiful and a great use for the coffee cans. How about using the aluminium bases that tea lights come with as snuffers? If they would fit, you could put a little ring around the bottle necks and chain to the 'cap'. It would also keep your wick dry and your oil from evaporating I think. There are also attachments for copper pipe that might replace your zip ties, or you could look for copper coloured tape to cover the ties. I like the idea of adding leaves and vines with more copper.
meg00k (author)  sibu4 years ago
Thanks. That's a good idea for the cap. Weather protection is important as it is hard to light after a rain. We replaced the zip ties with copper wire, we painted the coffee cans with copper paint, and are working on the leafing this weekend. Will post an update on Monday.
sibu meg00k4 years ago
Oh, the leaves look wonderful! How about more caps from the coffee cans for snuffers/caps? You could try to flare the edges with pliers or heat them and hammer them over yet another cap slightly. Maybe pinch the very top edge of the caps that are in place for the wicks too, or try to dome them up a bit to reduce the size. Or you could cut the bottoms off of a few more coffee cans, making them deep enough to fit to where it starts to taper in. That may not work as a snuffer though, but sure would as a cap.