Learn how to make decorative tike torch bottles from recycled and upcycled materials only. Fun and easy DIY oil lamp tutorial.
If you are a candle lover and love decorating with candles then you’re in the right place. If you love recycling and upcycling thrift store items, even better. In this post, I am sharing with you a fun DIY bottle project that you can do at home using your own creative ideas and imagination.
I made two tiki torches from old bottles using thrift store materials. The total cost of this DIY project was less than $5.
So let’s get started: how to make a fun DIY oil lamp.
From Thrift Store Find to DIY Bottle Craft
The other day I came home with the most mundane thrift store find in years. A set of oil and vinegar bottles. I am not sure why they caught my eye, maybe it was the sleek white bottles or the great state they were in.
But as I was thinking about how to use them, it wasn’t the bottles themselves that got my creative juices flowing. When examining the bottle tops inspiration hit. The spouts on these bottles seemed to have potential.
So I went with that.
Supplies for Making Tiki Bottles
My DIY tiki torches are a simple and quick project. I gathered all my materials from my stash and from the thrift store. You can buy a complete oil lamp kit online. But it isn’t really necessary as I will show you.
You will need:
Glass bottles fit for an upcycle project. You can use empty wine bottles, old beer bottles, liquor bottles, or pretty vintage bottles you found at the thrift store. I would opt for glass bottles though because it is prettier. That’s why I didn’t use the original oil and vinegar bottles.
A metal sprout that fits your bottle. As you can see these are easy to find in any thrift store. But you can also buy them online. The metal sprouts will serve as your wick holder. Test to see if the sprout sits snug in the bottle opening.
A wick. I stole my wicks from old Chinese lanterns that I never lit and only used in decorating. You can buy (replacement) wicks in craft stores or you can try to make your own wick. I found this post about homemade wicks from twine very useful.
Lamp oil. There are many different types of fuel you can use in a tiki torch. I’ll go into more detail about that later in this post. I had two bottles of lamp oil in the garage, so I used that.
That’s basically it. An oil lamp or a tiki torch is a very simple construction. You don’t need much more. I added a bit of decoration to my DIY oil lamp to make it fit in with my home decor, and because that is how I roll. But that part is totally optional.
How to Make a Tiki Torch instructions
There are only a few very basic and simple steps to making your own homemade tiki torch. Let me show you how I made my upcycled glass bottles DIY oil lamp.
First step: Clean your bottles.
You will regret not doing this first. So give your bottles a good wash inside and outside with hot water and a little soap.
Step two: Prepare your wick holder.
With a small metal saw, I cut off the extra bits from the metal sprouts. You can find a little hand saw like this in any hardware store. They are really cheap and you can easily swap the metal saw blade for a wood saw blade any time.
Cutting off that long bit was super easy. I also made the top part of the sprout a bit shorter but that is optional. In hindsight, I could have just left them as they were. The project would have been finished even quicker.
My sprouts already had washers that I could reuse. If your sprout doesn’t then some simple washers from Home Depot or the likes will do.
Step three: Put your bottle tiki torch together.
Ok, the real DIY part is already finished. You just need to put it all together now. Insert the wick into the wick holder. Ideally, your wick is long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle.
Fill the bottle with fuel using a funnel.
Please your wick into the bottle. To make sure your DIY bottle torch will lit up, make sure that the top part of your wick is soaked with oil.
Light it up and enjoy the ambiance and charm that a warm flame brings.
Or, add a step 2b first, before you put it all together and beautify your plain old glass bottles first.
How to Make Your Bottle Tiki Torch Pretty
Ages ago I found a letter-writing kit at the thrift store. Since I never write handwritten letters anymore I kind of forgot about it.
But today I remembered that in that kit was also some letter wax and a seal. And I thought it might be fun to use that to add a little extra to my plain bottles.
It was my first time working with letter wax, so the end result is not perfect by far. But my DIYs seldom are.
This is how I created my wax seals for my bottles:
Cut off about half an inch of the sealing wax, melt it on a spoon above a candle.
Drop the very hot! melted wax on a piece of parchment paper, try to make a neat circle.
Let the sealing wax harden a little, but not too much. Press the seal into the wax.
Let the wax cool completely. Carefully remove it from the paper and glue it on the bottle. For adhesive, I used plain old, fast-drying craft glue.
Some extra tips I learned the hard way working with sealing wax:
The wax is very hot. So prepare your working space beforehand. It is also the reason I didn’t take picture of this step. You have to work carefully and rather quickly, so I did not have free hands to snap a photo safely.
The wax also becomes very liquid, which makes it hard to form a small circle. Mine spread out too much, which made the seal too big for my bottles and I had to snip off little pieces around the edge to make it smaller. If I would do this again, I would melt the wax in the spoon and let it sit every so shortly to let it set a bit before pouring it onto the parchment paper.
Use old spoons that you don’t mind throwing out. I didn’t and I spent as much time rescuing my spoons as I did in making my oil lamps. I got the wax off the spoons by putting them in a cup with boiling water and a dishwasher cube overnight. That did the trick.
Tips for Using a Tiki Torch Oil Lamp
TIPS FOR KEEPING THE TORCH WICK LIT:
Especially if you are planning to use your homemade tiki torch outside, you will find that it can be hard to keep the tiki torch lit.
If your wick won’t stay lit try the following:
- Use the right kind of high-quality torch fuel such lamp oil
- Make sure your wick is fully saturated up to the tip with fuel prior to lighting
- Make sure there is plenty of fuel in your oil lamp
- Keep your wick dry from rain and sheltered from hard winds
Don’t forget there is a real flame in a tiki torch so always check there isn’t anything above your oil lamp that could burn. And place your DIY tiki torch somewhere safe where it won’t be knocked over.
What to use for Tiki Torch Fuel
There are several store-bought options for fuel in your DIY oil lamp.
I prefer using a regular oil lamp fuel in any Tiki torch that I make. Most are odorless and do not produce a lot of soot. In summer I like to use citronella torch fuel to repel bugs and mosquitoes.
For a more expensive but definitely more eco-friendly option, you can use Danish clean green oil. It is 100% vegetable oil, it works just like regular lamp oil but is safer for the environment.
Do not use kerosene or gasoline!
I also found a recipe for DIY tiki torch fuel. I have not tested this myself because it uses isopropyl alcohol and that is very hard to find here in the Netherlands (odd, I know).
Anyway if you want to give making your own oil lamp fuel a try here is the recipe I found:
Mix isopropyl alcohol with distilled water in a ratio of 2 cups of alcohol with 1 teaspoon of water. You can add essential oils like citrus, lavender, or pine for some scent.
More Glass Bottles Craft Ideas
If I have inspired you to dig out some old wine bottles from the recycling bin then be sure to check out some more empty bottle crafts my blog friends have made.
It is just amazing how creative one get can with an empty glass bottle, some time and a lively imagination.
- Painted Glass Bottles in Gold
- DIY Air Plant Holder
- Soda Bottles Easter Bunnies
- Steam Punk Wine Bottle
- Wine Bottle Bird Feeder
Have fun today! And Keep up the DIY Decorating fun!