The tiki torch is a popular outdoor party decoration. Commonly used for backyard luaus, the torches are both practical and festive. Tiki torches can be purchased ready made, or can be created at home by handy individuals who are looking to save a few bucks. If you're making your own tiki torches, one of the key elements is the wick. By following the instructions here, you will be able to create your own cotton wick, which will draw the oil up into the flame to be burnt. Depending on what combination of salt and water you soak your wicking material in, you can create a flame that will burn any colour from standard bright orange to green or blue or purple.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Cotton yarn or heavy cotton string, such as kite string
- 1 tbsp salt (see tips for options)
- 2 tbsp boric acid
- 1 cup water
- Small piece of flexible wire
- Small twig or large nail
Cut the string into three strips of equal length. Make them longer than you need, as you can trim them back later.
Combine salt, boric acid and water in a large bowl. Soak the string in the salt solution for 12 hours.
Remove the strings and use the clothespins to hang them to dry. Allow the strings to dry for at least 5 days.
Braid the strings together when they are completely dry to form a simple wick. You can store unused wicks by rolling them in old newspaper and placing them in a cool, dry area.
Take the wire and wrap it around a small twig or a nail to form a coil. Make the last loop of the wire wider than the rest so the coil will stand on its own. Insert the braided wick into the coil so that it extends about ¼ inch above the wick holder.
Tips and warnings
- To change the colour of your flame, try soaking your string in one of the following: For an orange flame use table salt (sodium chloride); for a white flame use Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate); for a pale green flame use Borax; for a bright green flame use alum; for a red flame, use only boric acid; for a purple flame use water softener salt (potassium chloride); for a blue flame use calcium chloride or copper chloride.
- Use care when handling chemicals as they may cause skin irritation or be harmful if accidentally ingested.
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