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Old 06-25-2011, 08:45 PM
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Lightbulb DIY: Oil Candle Lamps



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My wife and I love burning candles around the house. A while ago
I started looking into lighting solutions besides wax/parafin candles,
and ended up with these. I go guy a sheet of the thin cork you get
in the plumbing section in the hardware store, and a roll of the
aluminum HVAC foil tape, and a ball of cotton twine (1lb test).
It's utterly simple, just put some of the tape on the cork and poke
a small hole in the center and push a 2" piece of string through from
the top (foil side) and cot the bottom loop off. Take a glass with sides
the slant outward (to reduce heat on the glass) and out any kind
of vegetable oil in it, I use use canola or olive. I put a bit of oil in,
then fill with a little water to raise the level, they burn for a long time
if you fill the glass up with oil only.
Get the top part of the wick wet in the oil, the drop it in and light.
I cut them into 5/8" squares.. These put out really nice lighting, one
will light a room nicely with a good orange/yellow glow. This would
work in any vessel such as a soup can, but doing it in glass gives
so much more lighting..



Old 06-25-2011, 09:08 PM
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Very nice. Thanks!
Old 06-26-2011, 06:07 AM
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that looks great, any idea on the burn time?
Old 06-26-2011, 02:11 PM
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nice work, like it
Old 06-26-2011, 04:50 PM
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Thanks guys! I hope it's of good use for someone out there..
I've been using these for the last year or so and have done a bit
of experimenting with them.. One thing I didn't mention, you can make
the cotton twine perform and last better if you soak it in a mixture
of hot water with Borax and salt, I do a mixture of 24 oz water,
2 tablespoons of Borax and 2 tablespoons of salt.. I let the twine soak
in it for around 12 hours and then lay it out to dry in the sun..
This is also the method I use to make my own candle wicks, I just
soak the treated twine in a mix of 50% Beeswax 50% paraffin wax.
They work really well and burn bright..
For these oil candles I usually use a rocks cocktail sized glass, if I fill it up
all the way with oil these will burn for roughly 24 hours.. 2 of these
will light up our small apartment living room nicely with no other need
for light..
Note: You'll have to play around with the height of the wick, if it's
too tall it will smoke, but you'll quickly figure out the magic height that
will work all the time, I guess it's roughly about 3/16" - 1/4"..
We also use the outside in the backyard in tall jars/glasses for wind protection,
you can use a thicker string outside and leave it a little tall,
since the smoke isn't an issue so much outside, they work great as makeshift
little tiki torches..
So far I've burned, vegetable oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, canola
oil.. You could use animal fat or whatever oil you had handy if needed..
I want to find some rocks with natural bowls shaped in them to make
little outdoor lighting rocks..
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:15 PM
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Awesome thanks
Old 06-27-2011, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoprimitive View Post
Thanks guys! I hope it's of good use for someone out there..
I've been using these for the last year or so and have done a bit
of experimenting with them.. One thing I didn't mention, you can make
the cotton twine perform and last better if you soak it in a mixture
of hot water with Borax and salt, I do a mixture of 24 oz water,
2 tablespoons of Borax and 2 tablespoons of salt.. I let the twine soak
in it for around 12 hours and then lay it out to dry in the sun..
This is also the method I use to make my own candle wicks, I just
soak the treated twine in a mix of 50% Beeswax 50% paraffin wax.
They work really well and burn bright..
For these oil candles I usually use a rocks cocktail sized glass, if I fill it up
all the way with oil these will burn for roughly 24 hours.. 2 of these
will light up our small apartment living room nicely with no other need
for light..
Note: You'll have to play around with the height of the wick, if it's
too tall it will smoke, but you'll quickly figure out the magic height that
will work all the time, I guess it's roughly about 3/16" - 1/4"..
We also use the outside in the backyard in tall jars/glasses for wind protection,
you can use a thicker string outside and leave it a little tall,
since the smoke isn't an issue so much outside, they work great as makeshift
little tiki torches..
So far I've burned, vegetable oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, canola
oil.. You could use animal fat or whatever oil you had handy if needed..
I want to find some rocks with natural bowls shaped in them to make
little outdoor lighting rocks..
Great info, thanks! I assume I could use Citronella as a mosquito repellant as well?
Old 06-27-2011, 12:16 PM
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Looks good have you tried making it like this? Seems like it would last much longer at the expense of more oil of course.
Old 06-27-2011, 12:28 PM
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Oil+water= no mix but now that I would have to do to believe.
Old 06-27-2011, 05:19 PM
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wanderer714, I have seen that video before.. I've tried
something similar, but my results didn't work so well..
I even tried it with 100% cotton braided and flat lamp
wicks, as well as cotton string/rope.. This is my unscientific
conclusion: A standard kerosene lantern/lamp that uses the
adjustable wick, works because it can draw the kerosene/lamp
oil up the wick. With doing it in a bottle like in the video,
the olive/vegie oil didn't draw up the wick... I tried a few different
things and nothing worked unless the burning point on the wick
was within a 1/4" of the oil itself.. Kersosene/lamp oil is much
thinner in its viscosity.. It shows it lighting and working in the
video, which is how it looked for me when I did it, but once
the oil in the wick was burned up, it just died out and smoked
everytime i tried it.
Unless.... There's a trick to it... Which there might be, that I haven't
figured out yet...
And Old Spook, I can't see why you couldn't.. I think I'll have to try
that out in the backyard and see how it works...
EDIT*
I forgot, cleatis, I just use water to raise the level of the liquid,
without having to use too much oil.. The water and the oil
don't mix, the oil just sits up top for the wick to float on..
Old 06-27-2011, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoprimitive View Post
I want to find some rocks with natural bowls shaped in them to make
little outdoor lighting rocks..

I've had some success using a hammer stone to hollow out a depression, I got a little tired and it was more of a spoon
I could see trying a concrete bit or a chisel and hammer first to knock out some bulk before using the hammer stone to clean up the edges and make a better depression.
Old 06-27-2011, 09:17 PM
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I made one today using a regular candle wick with wire in it, mazola veggie oil, iin a glass 2'' by 1.5" deep! I also used styrofoam instead of cork. It works ok but I need to try a different wick without the wire so it soaks up the oil better. It has been burning for 7 hours and has used about a half inch of oil. Its not very bright but I think thats just the wick! I going to try regular llamp oil to see the difference. I'm also going to try to make an oil lamp using an old baby food jar and lid.

Last edited by rokitman; 06-28-2011 at 10:55 AM..
Old 06-28-2011, 07:47 AM
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I already have the materials in stock . Good idea
Old 06-28-2011, 11:02 PM
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Been playing with them all day! Using veggie oil the flame still is not very bright even using proper wicks so I tried lamp oil! Now that makes a bright flame but it melted the styrofoam I was using for the float! Maybe cork will hold up better! I made some oil candles using baby food jars. Poke a hole in the lid, stick in a wick, fill up the jar with lamp oil, and you have a very cheap oil candle! Works very well. Burned for three hours and still didn't need to adjust the wick and used hardly any oil! Tried doing the same with veggie oil but it woudn't stay lit!
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:27 PM
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Are you using 100% cotton string? From my experience,
anything other than cotton doesn't work very well.
Also I've tried using waxed candle wick and it doesn't
work very well at all for me...
With mine I get a very bright flame.

If I fill the glass with half oil, half water, we can light it early
in the evening around 5 or 6 and it will burn well into the early
morning when we stay up really later, and stays bright and
tall till the end..
Make sure you get the wick fully wet with oil before you light
it or it won't burn right.. Also, I've noticed if you light the wick
and let it burn for a few minutes and get a strong flame, then
blow it out and relight it, it burns stronger..
I've tried using baby food jars with a hole in the lid and string
through it, but they didn't burn very well, very little light and
a weak flame.. These are the best brightest burning I've
found yet.. sometimes we use a martini glass and float 2 or 3
wicks in it and it lights up the room well enough to read or do whatever you need..
Nom, I actually have some rock chisels and hammers,
I may have to give it a try and see what I can do..
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokitman View Post
Been playing with them all day! Using veggie oil the flame still is not very bright even using proper wicks so I tried lamp oil! Now that makes a bright flame but it melted the styrofoam I was using for the float! Maybe cork will hold up better! I made some oil candles using baby food jars. Poke a hole in the lid, stick in a wick, fill up the jar with lamp oil, and you have a very cheap oil candle! Works very well. Burned for three hours and still didn't need to adjust the wick and used hardly any oil! Tried doing the same with veggie oil but it woudn't stay lit!
Been playing with the same (jar lamp) idea for going on five years now...
I guess a full month of time spread out over five years would be more like it.


I have trouble with the wick gunking up when using heavy oils like vegetable oils, or fatty oils...

Kerosene will burn brightly from a small jar for... Many, many... nights.
But no luck using oils so far.

It could be because the oil isn't being heated (or thinned by the heat of the flame) when in a capped jar.
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:58 AM
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I'm not a scientist and I don't play one on TV, but isn't
using a small jar with a cotton wick through a hole in the
lid to say the least: dangerous? You wan't to keep the flame
up away from the kerosene, I definately wouldn't try that
with these little ones I make..
Veggie oils don't draw up the wick very far, like maybe a
1/4 inch or so.. That's why I float em on the oil with the
cork and foil tape. Kerosene draws up the wick in a kerosene
lamp because it's thin in viscosity, veggie oil is too thick
to travel far vertically upward.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:59 AM
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Here is another homemade oil lamp. I really like the wire wick holder on this one.
Old 07-04-2011, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoprimitive View Post
I'm not a scientist and I don't play one on TV, but isn't
using a small jar with a cotton wick through a hole in the
lid to say the least: dangerous? You wan't to keep the flame
up away from the kerosene, I definately wouldn't try that
with these little ones I make..
Veggie oils don't draw up the wick very far, like maybe a
1/4 inch or so.. That's why I float em on the oil with the
cork and foil tape. Kerosene draws up the wick in a kerosene
lamp because it's thin in viscosity, veggie oil is too thick
to travel far vertically upward.
Using lamp oil or kerosene in your floating types is dangerous because they burn too hot! I ended up lighting the reservoir on fire! It was still contained within the glass but it could have got out of hand! Using jars with lids keep the flame on top and it wont travel down the wick into the jar because of lack of oxygen! I had one burn for several hours and it barely got the lid hot!
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