How to Make Citronella Tiki TorchesAuthor: Dawie Bester
Having a Tiki Party and need Tiki torches that can repel those irritating mosquito's and unwanted flies?
Why not make your own citronella Tiki torches? Besides being great fun, you can spend the money you save by making your own torches on other Tiki decorations or ingredients for your Tiki drinks.
These candles are made slightly differently to ordinary candles in that they have a protruding stick through the centre of the candle to enable them to be planted in the ground and strips of brown paper are used in addition to the wick to produce bigger flames that should withstand almost any breeze.
The following instructions are for candles of approximately 20" but the basics would apply whether you are making 8" table top torches or 2' giant torches.
For this project you'll need:
- General purpose basic paraffin wax - approximately 5 lbs
- Brown paper cut into strips of approximately 1" wide
- Any wick that is suitable for 2" pillar candles - recommended : #1 square braid
- Wooden dowel approximately 3/8" in diameter and 20" in length.
- 1 ½ oz Citronella per pound of wax
- Dipping can
- Wax dye for colouring
Preparing the Sticks
Starting at one end of the stick, tape a strip of the 1" brown paper to the top end of the stick at a 45 degree angle with a piece of masking tape. Now wrap the strip of paper tightly around the stick going down the length of the stick until about half of the stick is covered. If the strip is too short add another piece so that you cover half of the stick with the brown paper.
Dipping the Sticks
Melt the wax and heat to about 180 degrees then add citronella and stir well for at least 2 minutes.
Set up the dipping can (any waterproof can or pitcher can substitute as a mold if you do not have a tall pillar mold) Fill to approximately 1" from the top and dip the prepared sticks, one by one, into the wax. The sticks should be dipped long enough to be fully coated but must not be left to stand in the wax. Once the sticks have been removed lean them upright against a piece of waxed paper. Top up the dipping can with more of the melted wax when necessary.
Once the wax has hardened on the sticks the process must be repeated. Wax that is too hot, leaving the sticks in the dipping can for too long or not allowing the wax to harden before the next dipping will prevent the candles forming and you will notice that they are not getting any bigger. Wax that is too cold will result in a lumpy or streaky finish to the candle. Reheat the wax by placing the dipping can in a double boiler and heating.
Repeat the dipping process until the candle has reached about three quarters of the desired thickness. The wick must now be wrapped around the candle. The wick should be double the length of the dipped section of the candle. Leave at least 1" wick protruding at the top of the candle and using masking tape affix the wick onto the top end of the candle. Coil the wick around the entire length of the dipped section of the candle and then tape the wick to the bottom of the candle.
Once the wick is in place the dipping process must be repeated until the sides of the candle are smooth and the ridge formed by the wick is no longer visible.
Add wax dye to the reminder of the dipping wax and repeat the dipping process using the colored wax. To get a good solid color this process will need to be repeated several times.
Allow the candles to cool in an upright position leaning onto a piece of waxed paper.
The candles must now be left for at least 24 hours, but preferably 48 hours to allow the wax and citronella to bind.
When you need to use the Tiki torches plant them directly into the ground or in large flower pots unless you have made smaller table top Tiki torches in which case they can be placed in smaller table top flower pots.
These Tiki torches add to the island atmosphere at your next Tiki party but can be also used whenever you plan an outdoor meal as they are effective as mosquito and fly- repellents and are decorative and add a personal touch.
The author likes to give people advice on how to build a tiki bar. To learn how you can build a tiki bar yourself, visit tikibaradvice.com