I drink a lot of wine. I’d like to drink my wine outside in the summer months, but you’d be surprised to learn that DC has a lot, I mean a lot, of mosquitoes from late June to early September. Our compost bin didn’t help the situation much either. Eager for an effective, yet attractive solution, I stumbled upon a cure that combines both my love for wine and DIY projects: wine bottle citronella torches.
If you’re interested in trying this project out for yourself, you can find the instructions here. If you like the idea, but prefer to skip the DIY part, Etsy has a ton of sellers. Check them out here.
I took a stroll to Home Depot to buy the fixins. Home Depot is seriously a black hole. Trying to find a 1/2″ copper cap in a 200,000 sq ft building is like trying to find a straight man at a Britney concert — it ain’t happening. Of course, every component of this project is tiny and it took me about an hour and a half to find everything I needed. Even after all that, I was still missing a couple pieces. Enter: Amazon.
To complete this project, and because I felt that it was time, I bought my very first power drill. Let me briefly describe my first, and somewhat embarrassing, experience with a power drill. The drill and I stared at each other for a good 10 minutes while I tried to figure out how the hell to use it. At first, I just tried to drill a hole with the Phillips head screw driver attachment thing. That didn’t work, and I really didn’t expect it to. I then tried to screw the screw directly into the wood with the drill, that didn’t work either. Then I found the attachments used to drill holes (duh). It still wasn’t working. After some fiddling around I realized I had the drill set on counter clockwise — that’s how it removes a screw. Twenty minutes and several screws later I successfully mounted the base onto the wooden fence. SUCCESS!!! I take pride in these small accomplishments. My power drill and I have been best friends ever since, and I’m a huge power drill advocate. Every woman should own and know how to properly use a power drill. I’ll get off of my soap box now …
The rest was a breeze! You have to remove the labels from the wine bottles and there are a few ways to do this. The oven method, oil method, razor blade method, just all the methods. Check out a few and see which fits better with your lifestyle. It’s much easier if you’re not interested in keeping the label. After removing the labels I filled them with some citronella. I used Tiki Bitefighter because I was determined to be mosquito-free!
So, after all that hard work, did it actually work? Sort of. I scattered eight of the torches around the little back patio. Around September when the mosquitoes began to back down, it worked like a charm. During peak mosquito months it worked fabulously most of the day, but around dusk when mosquitoes are particularly active and out for blood the torches were pretty useless. I wasn’t surprised, but I’m glad they did provide some relief. Even the rest of the year when they’re not needed they’re still a great addition to the patio — adding an interesting decorative element to the landscape. There’s a lot of potential to get creative and decorative with these gems!