Upcycled Backyard Bottle Torches

One thing that can get you down when you’re relaxing in your backyard is mosquitos. But the same thing that can keep them away can also liven up your space. Tiki torches. We’re not jamming bamboo poles in the ground. We’re making unique and decorative torches out of upcycled glass bottles and repurposed electrical conduit components.

Step 1 – Gather Your Materials

Most projects don’t include this step because it’s a no brainer. But in this case the entire project is problem solving your parts, so make sure you have the right stuff. Starting with the bottles, they should have a neck with about a 1-inch diameter and a mouth that’s about ½-inch across, and no less than that. You can use any bottles you want, but if they don’t match these dimensions, you’re going to have to do your own hunting at the hardware store to find components that fit. From the electrical department, find some ½-inch conduit connectors (1 for each bottle) and ½-inch to 1-inch ground clamps (2 for each bottle). You can also find torch wicks and torch fuel at the home center.

Step 2 – Add the Connectors

Insert a conduit connector in the mouth of the bottle. It may take a little elbow action to get it past the lip of the bottle, but it will fit.

Step 3 – Cut the Threaded Rod

You need 6 inches of ¼-inch threaded rod for each bottle. If you can buy it in 6-inch lengths, you don’t have to cut anything, but usually the shortest you can get is twelve. Depending on how many torches you’re making, it’s always cheaper buy longer, so using a hacksaw cut as many 6-inch lengths as you need.

Step 4 – Attach the Ground Clamps

Each ground clamp has a grounding screw that you need to remove. That’s where you’ll put the threaded rod. Loosen the set screws on one clamp so the jaws open up and put it around the neck of the bottle. Tighten the screws firmly, but without crushing the bottleneck.

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Remove all the screws from the other clamp so it completely comes apart. The only part you need is the end where the grounding screw was. The other two holes are where you’ll screw it to a wall or post. This piece is your mounting bracket now. Screw the threaded rod between the clamp on the bottle and the mounting bracket.


Step 5 – Add the Fuel and Wick

Using the funnel, fill the bottle up to the shoulders with torch fuel. The wick has a ½-inch diameter, so it fits nicely in the connector.

Step 6 – Mount Your Torch

If you’re mounting to a wall or wooden post, simply screw the bracket (former grounding clamp) in place. You can also clamp the torch to a narrow post, if you have a gazebo with 1-inch metal uprights for instance, by reassembling the bracket clamp and using it as originally intended (sort of) around the post.

It takes a few minutes for a dry wick to soak up enough fuel to burn, so wait a bit and then light them up. You’ve lit your outdoor space, and you’re keeping the bugs away.