Introduction: Bacon Powered Lamp

Picture of Bacon Powered Lamp

Have you ever wondered what you would do for light in an emergency situation where you have no electricity or candles, but you do have a plentiful supply of bacon?

Of course you have! But wonder no more, I have the perfect solution.

In this instructable I will show you how to create your own Bacon Lamp , using materials that should cost nothing and are usually discarded.

Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

Picture of Assemble Your Materials

Here's what you'll need:
- Bacon fat; about 1/4 cup.
- A stick, about 3-4mm thick; I used a basil stem. I thought it would smell nice but actually it didn't make any difference. Any non-poisonous stick will do.
- A small tin can. I used an empty baked beans can.
- A strip of cotton fabric. About 1/2" (15mm) wide and 6" (150mm) long.
- Some sand. 
- A stove and a pan to melt the fat in.

Step 2: Create Your Fuel

Picture of Create Your Fuel

This lamp uses bacon fat for fuel. I guess you will need about a quarter of a cup of fat. 
To obtain bacon fat...
You can simply collect the fat left in the pan after frying your breakfast bacon until you have enough,
you can do what I did and trim the excess fat off some raw bacon and fry it on the stove until all the fat turns liquid. This is a very simple process, but be careful not to burn the fat or yourself. Everything gets very hot.

Step 3: Assemble Your New Lamp

Picture of Assemble Your New Lamp

Cut your stick to about the same length as your tin can is tall.

Wrap the cotton fabric around the stick like a bandage.

Fill your small tin can with sand until it is about 2/3 full. This supports the wick and reduces the amount of fat you need.

Stick the wrapped stick into the sand. This will be the wick of the lamp.

Pour the bacon fat over the wick and onto the sand. The fat will soak into the sand a bit.

At this point I realized my wick was too long so I trimmed it with some pliers.

Step 4: Light Your Lamp

Picture of Light Your Lamp

Now is the fun part.
Light the lamp as you would a candle. It may take a little while to start the first time, but you will soon see the flame grow.

At this point you might like to do some fine tuning.
- Shorten the wick to reduce the size of the flame. This will also make it burn less fuel too of course.
- Adjust the tightness of the wrap. The tighter the wrap the less fuel will soak into it and so the flame will be smaller. A loose wrap will produce a bigger flame.
- Use trial and error to get the best result. You don't want a big flame spreading soot all over the place. A small flame should burn quite cleanly and throw a nice light.

I hope you have enjoyed my second ever Instructable. If you did, please consider giving it your vote in the bacon contest.


willnate (author)2014-03-21

if you have no electricity than do you melt the bacon grease?

cammers (author)willnate2014-03-21

With your bacon powered stove of course.

willnate (author)cammers2014-03-22

but how do you make that one then

tyler roberts (author)willnate2016-01-04

don't argue with bacon.

instiger (author)2011-08-23

I' ve learned this by reading novels about northern territories where they used seal lard. Always nice to see old techniques revived by technogically enhanced stonetent inhabitants. If you wanna have a cleaner burn sieve and filter the grease and take steel/copper wire to fix the fabric, control flame height by simply pulling the wick out/in with pliers. Before that make sure to burn the zinc coating of your can completely away cause the fumes are to cause harm, especially for kids it could be lethal.
Keep up your good work, like them all,

winniekate (author)instiger2011-09-18

Re: "...and take steel/copper wire to fix the fabric, control flame height by simply pulling the wick out/in with pliers." Are you saying to use wire in lieu of the stick?

instiger (author)winniekate2012-04-17

Hi winniekate,

sry for replying sooo late. Not in lieu of the stick but making a twisted holder embracing the wick with a spiral pattern foot ending in a spike which can be stabbed into the sand. Provides the wick with stability until fat is completely burned. Hope this description helps understanding the principle. Keep on trying and let me know if it worked for you,


cammers (author)instiger2011-08-23

Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you have enjoyed my work, I have certainly enjoyed doing it.
And I'm looking forward to doing lots more - I'm just waiting for the Autodesk lawyers to open up contests to international entries again.

arikira (author)2011-12-04

This is absolutely disgusting, from a olfactory and moral perspective.

cammers (author)arikira2011-12-04

Thanks for your comment.
If you are disgusted by using animal fat you could perhaps try vegetable oil.
Personally I found the smell to be mild. And since the fat would normally be wasted I consider it morally Ok too.
Sadly there are not too many energy sources available to the majority of us that are morally perfect.

winniekate (author)2011-09-18

how long does it burn? Is it faster than a typical wax candle?
and, about adjusting wick length - is that in direct correlation with the amount above the grease? I'm assuming that everything above the liquid would be flaming, correct? If that's the case, would it work as well to adjust the levels of sand / grease, or push the wick deeper into the can? Just want to make sure i'm understanding this. Anyway, looks pretty cool, and i'll try this, since I always save bacon grease, and I save tin cans for shooting BB guns in the backyard. Thanks for the instructable!

bayyagg (author)2011-07-10

Do I have to buy bacon just to have a torch?

Why not use any cooking oil and water, oil is lighter than water thus the upper part will be oil and put any cotton cloth an put it on the rubber to float and light it up!

apender (author)bayyagg2011-07-10

I know vegetable oil works. thats what oil lamps use in midle east. i've used one too. and bacon just releases so much fat, i colleced it a long time ago and made a candle out of it. and it burns for a long time. what else to do with it?

chuckr44 (author)apender2011-09-09

Most vegetable oils from the US smell awful when burned, which is why I use olive oil. It has almost no smell. (I tried several oils in a lamp like this once.)

cammers (author)chuckr442011-09-11

I only chose bacon fat so I could enter the bacon themed contest. I was surprised how well it worked.

kbreen (author)2011-06-28

Would these be a good thing to take camping or would they draw in unwanted critters and bugs into my campsite???

cammers (author)kbreen2011-06-28

I think they would be ok to make on the spot out of any fat you can get.
They might be a fire risk in dry country.
I don't know about bears. Do they like bacon?

chuckr44 (author)cammers2011-09-09

A bacon lamp would certainly attract raccoons, bears, opossums, who are scavengers and omnivores. Try olive oil instead.

cammers (author)chuckr442011-09-11

My lamp hasn't yet attracted any of those creatures. But then I guess I'm on the wrong continent for them. I really would get a shock if a bear turned up uninvited.

jusy (author)2011-08-11

Слушай музыка тут

KittyF (author)2011-05-01

No, NO don't waste yummy food!! burn vasaline. teehee

DamionLee (author)KittyF2011-05-01

You don't need to waste anything. You only need to collect up the fat that drains off the bacon as it is cooked.

KittyF (author)DamionLee2011-05-01

LOL, I knew what you meant. don't you like to cook your eggs in bacon fat? I do, double yummy

codongolev (author)KittyF2011-05-02

my brother did that once. it gave me the poops.

KittyF (author)codongolev2011-05-02

you didn't have enough eggs in your bacon grease. the eggs can absorb a lot of grease if you let them, but they shouldn't have any on the outside to make them look greasy. mix the grease and eggs well and you won't have any trouble, just good taste.

codongolev (author)KittyF2011-05-03

yeah, he made an entire pack of bacon and there was a half inch of standing grease in the pan. then he made the eggs without removing any grease, and there were like, 12 eggs (it was a family dinner). I'm sure it would have been great if there was less grease, but it was real gross.

KittyF (author)codongolev2011-07-01

AH, sounds like fried eggs rather than scrambled eggs. I agree, fried eggs are not nice with a heavy coating of grease.

When I make scrambled eggs, I find two large eggs, stirred vigorously in the bacon grease can totally absorb the grease from three strips of bacon. but that's scrambled.

the action is that the lecithin in the egg yolks facilitates the blending of fat and liquid (water/egg white/ or other liquid) you can't see or feel the fat at all if it's all mixed well early in the cooking.

Those who are low carbing find this not only adds to the flavor but helps with their diet.

mrbrian1969 (author)KittyF2011-05-02

and potatoes too!

KittyF (author)mrbrian19692011-05-02

Oh yes Brian, take a baked potato. cut into one inch cubes. brown nicely all over in bacon fat and then serve with scrambled eggs. AND BACON. and a nice cuppa coffee. I love coffee with bacon. The nicest thing about being diabetic is a low carb diet. and bacon.

crobson (author)KittyF2011-05-01

and that folks.
is propper boss. crisp the bread in it too!

KittyF (author)crobson2011-05-01

it's been done, and it's yummy. my grandma (during the depression) used to send dad to school with sandwiches with bacon fat spread on them when they didn't have butter. we use all our bacon fat for food uses. LOL we'd hate to waste it as fuel unless heat was more important than food I guess.

insydney (author)DamionLee2011-05-03

thats great news i love bacon and would rather live in the dark lol

goaly (author)DamionLee2011-05-03

We pop our Popcorn in bacon drippings! Add real butter and a ton of salt for a heart attact treat.

origprod (author)2011-05-01

I'd love to vote for you, but I don't see your entry in the Bacon Challenge. Do you have a link?

cammers (author)origprod2011-05-09

I think you should be able to vote now. Thanks for support.

origprod (author)cammers2011-05-09

Done! Good luck!

cammers (author)origprod2011-05-01

Thanks Ogripod,
I don't think it has been accepted into the competition yet. That takes a couple of days I think.
I'll try to post a link when and if that happens.

cammers (author)cammers2011-05-01

New Just In... This Instructable has been accepted for the competition. Users can vote from May 9 - May 12.
Thanks so much for your support.

yokozuna (author)origprod2011-05-01

The contest is moderated, and it is likely it just hasn't been reviewed by the person over-seeing the contest. You should be able to vote once the contest closes on May 8.

Civicalized (author)2011-04-30

You should build a small cooking rack and cook some bacon with it. Double-Bacon Whammy!

ilpug (author)Civicalized2011-04-30

yeah, and make the liquid bacon grease from the cooking bacon drip down and refill the lamp! genius! also, this is a great lamp.

cammers (author)ilpug2011-05-09

This is a start...
I was aiming for it to automatically drip back into the lamp, but there just weren't enough hours in the weekend.

cammers (author)Civicalized2011-05-09

Here you go....

cammers (author)Civicalized2011-04-30

Brilliant idea. If I remember right a similar technique was used with penguins by Antarctic explorers trapped in Antarctica over winter. They used penguins for food and fuel.

Green Silver (author)2011-05-01

So if the power is out, there's no electric to cook the bacon to get the fat... What we have here is a "catch 22" situation, otherwise known as "Sods Law".

cammers (author)Green Silver2011-05-09

Here's an answer. All you need is a bit of fat to get you started...

Thanks for your interest.

Drigax (author)Green Silver2011-05-01

Well alot of people still have a gas powered stove, or even an acetylene torch in their basement somewhere.

aleji77a (author)2011-05-01

does this work with any kind of fat or lard?? could vaseline work as well?? :O thanks for sharing!

cammers (author)aleji77a2011-05-01

I first made one of these when I was about ten. I used mutton fat. It worked just as well.

Tommunbeig (author)cammers2011-05-01

Does the bacon fat light render that super enticing aroma of approaching breakfast?

About This Instructable




Bio: To see more of my work you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @cam_de_burgh
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