DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch

DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch
DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch
DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch

I think the bugs in my yard have some sort of alarm system that let’s them know when I’m outside. Within a few minutes they swarm me and leave me with tons of little red bites all over my legs and arms. It really isn’t fun to be munched on by insects. Seriously, sometimes when I go to the mailbox and then go right back inside, I’m covered with bites. Citronella torches definitely help the bug situation but I’m not a fan of the Gilligan’s Island looking tiki torches. So taking inspiration from The Professor, I set out to make a DIY wine bottle tiki torch.

You’ve probably seen bottle torches pinned all over your friend’s boards on Pinterest but how many people do you know who have actually made one of these wine bottle tiki torches?  I’ve made a bunch from Patron XO Cafe bottles and they work great. Put one on a picnic table or the bar and the bugs stop annoying you. But I have two black metal tiki torch stands that have been sitting empty around my pool for years. Every time I see them it’s a constant reminder of an unfinished project. So it was time that I filled those stands with something. And luckily enough, an empty wine bottle fit in there perfectly.

The first thing I did was paint two wine bottles red to match my patio umbrellas. Definitely not required but I took a guess that I’d like the way they looked. And I guessed right. The red is a nice pop of color and as I said before, they match the umbrellas.

Next I needed some wicks. They sell these as refills for other torches at most big box home improvement stores. You get two in a pack for like five bucks. The wicks are around 8” long and are 1/4” thick. Perfect for a DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch.

Now it was time to visit the plumbing department. I needed copper plumbing pieces and started  searching through all the boxes for the right sized couplings. One end needs to fit inside the wine bottle and the other end should snuggly hold a torch wick. Depending on your bottle you might need a regular coupling but I needed a reduction coupling. The end that fits inside the wine bottle should not fit tightly. It needs to be smaller so that you can wrap it with silicon tape. This rubbery tape creates a seal so that you aren’t leaking citronella torch juice all over the patio. We’re not making molotov cocktails, we’re just trying to repel some bugs.

Wrap the silicon tape around the copper fitting until it’s thick enough to fit snuggly in the bottle.

Most people will tell you that you should use teflon tape but I prefer silicon tape. It’s black and I think it would hold up better near the flame. They make pot holders, bbq gloves and stove to oven pot handles out of silicone now. And I have never ever seen a teflon pot holder. So there you go.

To keep the wick from going into the bottle and to save on torch fuel, use some pea gravel in the bottom of the bottle.

If you plan on leaving your wine bottle torches outside even when it rains then you’ll need some caps. Rain will soak through the wick and dilute the fuel until it eventually won’t light anymore. I drilled some small holes in plumbing end caps and ran a wire though it. The wire is so that I can connect the cap to the bottle and not worry about losing it. Wrap the wire around the bottle and leave enough slack so that you can easily take it on and off.

And that’s how I made some a DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch. They repel bugs like regular tiki torches but in my opinion they look much cooler.

Halloween Poison Bottle

Halloween Poison Bottle

Halloween Poison BottleThe other day I said there were more posts about Halloween decor coming up and I’m actually going to follow through on that statement. In that last post about Candy Corn Bottles, I mentioned that I have a little bit of a bottle fetish. One of my favorite bottles is this jug bottle that a beer called Mississippi Mud comes in. The beer is a Black and Tan variety and it’s really good. So it’s a win win situation for me because I get to drink a decent beer and then I get a great looking empty that I can turn into a Halloween poison bottle.

Mississippi Mud BottleAnd that jug sort of looks like something a pirate would drink out of so I got the idea to make a Poison Bottle for Halloween. This was such a quick and easy decoration to make that I decided that I’d start a new YouTube channel and put this up as my first video.

To make the Halloween Poison Bottle, first you need to spray paint the bottle black. It’s already a dark brown looking bottle but having it completely black is the way to go.
Chalk Marker

One the paint is dry, the next step is to use a white chalk marker and draw a skull on the bottle. If you haven’t used a chalk marker yet, you have to give them a try. They’re like paint markers but they are much neater. And the best part is that if you mess up, you can wash it off and start over.

And even though I used chalk marker to draw the poison skull and cross bones, you do not need to use chalk board paint on the bottle. Just regular spray paint works fine. But keep in mind that flat black will probably come out better looking than glossy black.

So there you have it, one Halloween Poison Bottle. And like I said, here’s my first YouTube video that I made while working on this project. Many more videos to come.

Candy Corn Bottles

candy corn bottles

Candy Corn BottlesAs far a decorating your house goes, Halloween is getting to be as popular as Christmas. It seems like everyone is going full-Griswold and really getting into it lately. And I can see why. Buying decor is alright but DIY holiday decorations are really fun to make. Here’s how I recycled some bottles and made Candy Corn bottles.

Bottles are awesome. Not only do they come filled with all kinds of great booze and other drinks but the bottle itself is like a work of art. Its tough to throw them in the recycling bin without thinking about what you can make with the empty bottle. I really am starting to believe that I have a little bit of a bottle fetish. It’s gotten so bad that when I’m in the liquor store shopping for my favorite brands, a lot of the time I wind up buying the best looking bottle instead.

painting-candy-corn-bottlesIn the past you may have seen my Patron tequila bottle citronella torches. Think about the craftsmanship that goes into a bottle of Patron. Each bottle is hand blown and slightly unique. But even the bottles that are made in factories by machines are awesome looking too. It’s really a shame to throw away art like that. I haven’t gotten my hands on one of those skull bottles with that vodka in it yet but that’s on my wish list.

So all you need to make Candy Corn bottle decorations is an empty bottle and some spray paint. Standard candy corn colors going from top to bottom are white, orange and yellow.

paint candy corn bottlesAt first I thought that the lines that separate the colors should be crisp. So I taped up the bottles and started added the orange to my freshly painted white bottles. I used some newspaper and painters tape to cover the top. But when it was dry and I checked them out. They didn’t quite look like Candy corns.

If you take a look at a real piece of candy corn, the colors really blend together. So that what did next. I held the bottle in my hand and painted the next color by eye. The colors blend together now and it looks much more like a real piece of candy.

Paint one color at a time and let the paint dry for a while between colors. If you don’t like how it comes out you can always paint the bottle over again after it’s all dry.

candy corn bottlesI gave these bottles to my wife and asked her to incorporate them into the other Halloween decor that we put our every year and she was actually impressed. She’s isn’t afraid to tell me when my projects look like crap so these Candy Corn bottles must look alright.

I have another bottle craft coming up for Halloween soon so stay tuned. I’ll actually try to get it posted before Halloween. Imagine that!

Mason Jar Chalkboard Lids

mason jar chalkboard paint lid craft storage
mason jar chalkboard paint lid craft storage
Nice and organized

Mason Jar Chalkboard Lids

My daughter is a crafting machine. Seriously, she’s always working on something. Whether it’s crochet, those rainbow loom bracelets, her mini pottery wheel, friendship bracelets, painting, cutting, glueing, drawing, you name it and she’s crafting it. Even when she watches TV she’s got something in her lap that involves twisting, braiding or beading of some kind. I’m really glad that she’s so creative but unfortunately she’s also a huge mess maker. These crafts are always all over the house. Since my wife and I don’t want to be the cleanup crew 24/7, we decided we needed a way to keep everything more organized. If these things have a place, then it’s easy for the kids to put them back in their place when they’re done. So it was time to create a cool crafty workspace for the family. Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on the craft table/room project.

Since we have so many craft supplies the first thing I wanted to do was come up with an organized way to store everything. I also didn’t want to just put these supplies away in a closet because you know what happens then? Out of sight, out of mind. When supplies are hidden away, you forget that you have them. All of the cool craft rooms or craft workspaces that I saw on Pinterest had shelves of supplies that you could easily see and get to.

The easiest way to accomplish this was to store the crafts in mason jars. You can buy mason jars for about a $1 each and they look good on a shelf filled with craft supplies.

We decided that we’d also get some chalkboard paint for the lids so that we could write descriptions of what’s stored inside. This becomes necessary when have a shelf full of mason jars stacked 3 or 4 deep. We figured that with a quick glance at the top of the jar, you could see what you need and get to it.

Chalkboard paint is really easy to use. It’s just like regular paint. I bought a small can of chalkboard paint at Lowes but it also comes in spray paint form too. The nice smooth lids of the mason jars took up the paint with no problems.

Writing the names of the supplies on the lids in chalk was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have a new found respect for my old school teachers now. But I found out the secret to those amazing chalkboards that coffee houses and cafes use to display their specials. Some of those chalkboard artists use something called chalkboard paint markers. Writing a drawing with a magic marker is much easier than piece of chalk. I definitely have to buy some of these for future chalkboard projects.

So that’s one of the first steps of the craft table/room project. Actually, painting the walls (with regular paint, not chalkboard paint) was the first step but that wouldn’t make for an interesting blog post. Next up is to put up some shelves and do lots of organizing. More soon.