Man and woman alike have always been drawn to fire. This is why investing a little time and money to make long lasting tiki torches that have some character can be a great addition to anyone's back yard. It can be functional for mood lighting, a mosquito repellant, and a great conversation piece.
For me living in Florida, tiki torches are almost a necessity with the amount of mosquitos that we tend to get from time to time. Every year I would get the bamboo torches that would no doubt fall apart and rust in time to force me to replace them the following year. I decided to use my love for beer and a little improvisation to create a torch that I know will last me for years.
Step 1: Select Your Metal Tiki Torch
For this I found the perfect product at Lowes. It's at the low end of the price scale for metal tiki torches with a very good rating on the durability and design of the torch itself. The one common complaint is that the tank would rust completely through within a couple of years with no way of being able to buy a replacement tank.
This didn't matter to me because I was throwing out the tank and replacing it with a beer bottle anyway. The particular design of this tiki torch was important to me because I could display the art of the beer bottles.
Step 2: Modify Tiki Torch to Hold Beer Bottle
To do this, you will need a cutting and grinding tool. I used my handy Dremel. Cut away the top ring and grind it smooth. This will enable you to bend the arches on the tiki torch holder inward to creat a snug fit around the beer bottle. Use pliers to crimp the arches together tightly again.
Step 3: Optional Depending on Mounting Needs
You can skip this step entirely it you can mount to your fence as is. I have a chain link fence around my back yard. I could not use the mounting system that came with the torch.
To address this, I cut away the welds and hammered off the mounting clamp. Then I grinded it smooth. I then purchased Rust-oleum spray paint and repainted the tiki torch holder to a copper color. The torch is factory painted black. It this works for you, then simply touch up the areas with black where the welds were. I then used copper wire to secure the tiki torch holder to the fence.
Step 4: Beer Bottle Assembly.
You will need bomber beer bottles for this. Make sure you go with brands that have the art printed on the bottle. In other words, no labels. Rogue, Stone and Mother Earth make tasty beer and their bottles are perfect for this.
Additionally, you will need these items:
Stretch and Seal or Teflon Tape
1/16 inch metal drill bit with drill
1/16 inch cotter pin
1/2 inch copper pressure reducing coupling
1/2 inch copper cap
1/2 inch tiki brand wick
Blade or scissors
Step 5: Prep Coupling
Use Stretch and Seal or teflon tape and wrap it around coupling reducer wide end. Do enough of a wrap to create a snug fit over mouth of beer bottle. I prefer using Stretch and Seal because it took far less wraps and it's available in clear.
Drill 1/16 inch hole across coupling just below reduction point. This will function as a vent hole and a hole to insert a cotter pin to hold the wick in place.
Step 6: Insert Coupling and Wick
Ensure snug fit on bottle. Fill bottle with Tiki Torch fluid. Insert Tiki Brand 1/2 inch wick. Use 1/16 inch cotter pin to secure wick so that it does not fall into bottle.
The wick will only be long enough to go half way down the bottle. Allow about 1/4 inch of the wick to be exposed from the top of the coupling. Predrilled through the wick so that the cotter pin passes through easier.
Step 7: Enjoy Your New Tiki Torch
Use the end cap to keep wick dry from rain. Light and enjoy.
Step 8: Optional But Recomended
To keep from losing end cap, I drilled a 1/16 inch hole near the base. I used a piece of copper wire to attach a antique copper colored chain link to end cap. I then tied other end with more copper wire through the eye of the cotter pin. You can purchase this chain link at any craft store in the jewelry making section.