The Lazy Lady’s Guide to DIY: Cheap Easy Tiki Torches

I love to repurpose. Social and eco-consciousness aside, I’m cheap. I positively detest paying big bucks for something I can throw together myself, especially if aesthetics don’t matter. And when it comes to the battle of woman vs mosquito, I don’t care about looks.

Looking at the prices of retail tiki torches made my squishy parts clench, so I started looking for DIY ideas on the Internet. Some of them were cute and some were elaborate, but most needed special parts I’d have to shop for. Since I’m lazy as well as cheap, I looked around my house for stuff I could use on the spot.

This is what I came up with:  The cheapest, easiest, definitely-not-sophisticated-looking-but-very-effective DIY tiki torch.

What you’ll need:

Standard size tiki torch replacement wicks (I got mine for $2 at Wally World)

Citronella torch oil

Aluminum soda/beer/whatever can.


Funnel (optional)

Photo of scissors, small funnel, replacement tiki torch wick, empty soda can and citronella torch oil.








Assemble your stuff.


Scissors cutting wick in half.








Cut the wick in half.

Fill the can half way to 3/4 full with oil*. This is where the funnel might come in handy. If you feel the need to use one, go for it. I like to live life on the edge so I just pour the oil in and try not to make too big of a mess.

*I do not recommend filling it to the top because you want the oil level a safe distance from the heat of the flame.

Empty soda can with wick inserted into mouth.








Insert one of the wick halves into the can, but keep hold of the top of the wick.

Empty soda can with wick in mouth. Tab is twisted over mouth to secure wick against the side of the mouth.








Twist the tab of the can around so it is over the mouth of the can.  The wick should be smooshed between the edge of the mouth of the can and the tab. Et voila, you just made your own tiki torch! Wait a bit for the oil to saturate the wick all the way to the top and light ‘er up!


Use common sense and don’t be an idiot with fire and flammable oil!

Make sure to put your fabulous new tiki torch on a stable surface outside.

Keep your torch away from from kids, pets, and people with a low sense of self-preservation.

Keep the wick trimmed to about 1/4 of an inch.  This will keep the flame at a safe and manageable height, reduce smokiness and make your oil last longer.

Clean up spills ASAP.


One last tip – try to bring your torch in out of the rain. If the wick gets saturated with water it will not light again until all the water has dried out of it (which could take days if you tend to leave them outside uncovered like I do, then leave it to the sun to dry them out).





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