Step 1: Making wicks

Picture of Making wicks
Start with making wicking from salted paper

The salt keeps the paper from burning too fast. Also the salted paper wicking is stiff so it doesn't need wire to stand up. This property is useful for the candles and oil lamps described in the following steps. Actually any kind of wicking, like wick cut from a cotton towel will burn best if it is salted which retards charring. Just something useful to know if you are making any other types of instructables oil lamps. Presently the other lamps featured on instructables.com don't work well because they don't salt their wicks.

1. Wet some cheap copy paper with some very salty water or pour salt over the wet paper in a tray.

2. Fold and cut the paper into strips then twist or roll the paper.

3. Dry in an oven at 200F for 20 minutes or air dry overnight.

Here is picture of a tray of paper wicks made from one sheet of cheap copy paper.
tinkerist5 years ago
i seem to be getting some hit-and-miss with my lamp wicks.  often they seem not to wick fast enough to stay lit for very long.  sometimes they work great.  when i set the wick in an open container of oil it always works fine, but they seem not to always work so well with bottle type lamps where the flame is well above the oil (inch or more).

any suggestions?  could i be over salting (sometimes there are little bits of salt deposit on the wick)?  is cotton twine too dense (paper occasionally works better, but not always)?
ursasru7 years ago
how salty is "REALLY SALTY" ? do you have a ratio of salt to water?
steam_cannon (author)  ursasru7 years ago
I just put the tray under the fossett and get the wicking wet then pour salt onto it. As a rule of thumb I'd say make the water salty enough that it stops absorbing salt into solution at room temperature. Good and salty :)

Also I need to update this page with a couple more wick designs...