Upcycle Glass Bottles into DIY Tiki Torches

Hot time in the GD studio this week! It was 95 degrees and the air conditioning vents in the studio aren’t flowing – ahhhhh. We managed to keep our cool and have a great show anyway. ALWAYS fun to have Jeff Yeager, the Ultimate Cheapskate on the line to talk how saving green is GREEN. He had some great tips for cool summer green living. We also got to talk about his new video series – The Cheap Life with Jeff Yeager.

Jeff had some great ideas for saving green, while having a healthy green summer. Please listen to the Green Divas Radio Show podcast featuring our favorite Ultimate Cheapskate to hear all the great tips (and to have a good laugh!).

We also had a wonderful GD Correspondent report from our fellow Green Sister (from the GreenSisterhood.com), Jenny Bradford (ConscientiousConfusion.com), who did a great report on her local March against Monsanto in Dallas, Texas. Please visit our post for this show to read more and see a video of Jenny at the march.

But, if I had to choose my favorite segment from this week, I’d say it was GD Mizar’s DIY Tiki Torch segment! Aside from gardening and other fun stuff, this is on my agenda this weekend.

Green Diva Mizar’s DIY: up cycling those old glass bottles into tiki torches

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bottles – all shapes, all sizes BUT smaller bottles work better simply because you won’t need so much torch fuel.  More about that later.
  • Cotton String – it MUST be cotton otherwise it will not burn – it’ll melt  … OR this year I experimented with the tightly wound paper handles you find on fancy shopping bags.  Boy do they work like a charm!
  • Salt
  • Boric acid (Borax)
  • Metal nuts & washers – all sizes and with varied sized openings
  • Torch fuel

Step One: Making the wicks

I do not know why or how this works, but it does. I’ve been doing it for several years and while it’s a little time consuming, it’s well worth the wait simply because torch wicks can be costly.

1. Combine 1 Tbsp. of  salt with 2 Tbsp. of boric acid.

2. Add 1 cup of water and mix very well until the salt and the Borax are dissolved.

3. Pour the mixture into a jar.

4. Add the string making sure it’s completely submersed. If you wish, you can cut the string to your desired length – at least long enough to hang down the entire length of the bottle you are using.

5. The string needs to soak at least 12-hours.

6. Remove the string and hang it out to dry.  Now it must dry completely – some website “tutorials” will say 5-days. If your string it thicker then yes.  If not, leave them out as long as necessary.  The thinner string takes about 2 -3 days.

7. Braid three pieces of string together.

Step Two: Making the Torches

1. Gather your washer and your bottles. The idea here is to first choose a washer large enough to cover the bottle opening. More than likely the opening in the washer is going to be too large to hold the wick in place. That said, keep adding washers or nuts with smaller and smaller openings until the last opening is small enough to ensure the wick fits snugly and will not fall out.

2. Take the braided wick, bring it through the openings in the washers/nuts until you have just enough poking through on the top to create a flame.

3. Fill the bottle half-way with torch fuel making sure to saturate the the entire wick. This is pretty easy as whatever the boric acid and salt mixture does, the fuel easily travels the entire length of the wick. Get your matches and light away.

For images to go along with these instructions, more details and a great recipe for DIY torch fuel, please visit GD Mizar’s original post!

You can also listen to the 5-min podcast of GD Mizar’s DIY segment, where she describes this all in good detail!


Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D.3 years ago

Think I'll make a couple for my sons. Thank you

Mary Callin Myers

Do the metal washers ever get hot enough to break the glass? Is there a type of metal to avoid or use?

ER C.3 years ago



ER C.3 years ago


Beverly M.
Past Member 3 years ago

Too cool and great ideas!

Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog3 years ago

Thanks for sharing, I love upcycling!!

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey3 years ago

Proof that one can turn anything into something useful!

Victoria Meetze
Victoria Meetze3 years ago

very cool

Lynn Demsky
Lynn D.3 years ago

Good idea, thanks!

Ryan Yehling
Ryan Yehling3 years ago

I upcycled this bottle once and then found out it was grandpa's urn. Woopsy daisy.