Introduction: Pocket Sized Lantern

Picture of Pocket Sized Lantern

Here in Pakistan we suffer from frequent power outages that last hours. Since I'm a university student, I needed a portable source of light but I found that candles weren't bright enough. I came up with a simple mini lantern that takes less than 5 minutes to make but lasts for hours. I hope you guys enjoy it, and if you do, don't forget to rate it & vote for it in the Pocket Sized Contest.

Step 1: Things You'll Need:

Picture of Things You'll Need:

1. Jar: Here I used a small jar of jam from some airline. The only real requirement is that the jar have a metal lid. Ideally use only those jars with no paint on the lid if you want to avoid unpleasant fumes.

2. Wick: I happened to have a wick from an old lantern that was lying around, but you could just as easily use a shoelace (plastic ends cut off) or any rolled up piece of cloth. *TIP* You'll want to use 100% cotton shoelaces, not synthetic. Synthetic will melt instead of burn and could lead to serious injuries. Thanks to user "Sedition"

3. Knife: I used my Leatherman c305 to cut a hole in the lid of the jar.

4. Lamp Oil: This will be used as fuel in the mini lantern. You can use other fuels such as Kerosene but they produce a lot of soot that will quickly build up.

5. Matches: To light the lamp when finished.

Step 2: Pierce the Lid:

Picture of Pierce the Lid:

With your knife, pierce a hole in your jar lid. Make it different sizes or shapes according to the kind of wick you're using. Use a gentle back and forth wiggling motion rather than straight pressure in order to avoid injury.

Step 3: Wick:

Picture of Wick:

In order to get your wick through the hole, carefully use your knife to push the wick in as seen in the following picture.

The longer the wick above the lid, the higher the flame will be. I recommend you leave the wick no longer than 1/2 inch.

Step 4: Finishing Up:

Picture of Finishing Up:

Slowly pour in your Lamp Oil, Kerosene, Vegetable Oil, whatever, making sure not to spill any. Screw on the lid with the wick in it. The wick should be long enough to where it's resting on the bottom of the jar, but no so long that it curls up.

Make sure you don't overfill the jar. I usually don't fill more than about halfway and it lasts plenty of time.

Step 5: Final Product:

Picture of Final Product:

All that's left now is to light it up. You'll notice I took it off of the wooden board I built it on for this part ;).

And that's pretty much it. A full jar of lamp oil is usually more than enough to get me through the time the power is out. This simple little lantern has helped me out quite a bit when I've needed it. It takes next to no time to make and doesn't require much to make. When it comes time to transport it, I just replace the lid with one that has no hole in it, this way it won't leak in my pocket. Hope everyone has enjoyed my first Instructable, and don't forget to vote if you liked it. Thanks.


leroywolfgang (author)2016-04-26

cool intractable...but how do you put it in your pocket and all your fuel seeps out into your pocket?

carbonlife (author)leroywolfgang2016-11-10

"When it comes time to transport it, I just replace the lid with one that has no hole in it, this way it won't leak in my pocket."

He explains in the last step.


Yonatan24 (author)2015-12-14

Good idea! Could work as a hand warmer too

DEEJAY642 (author)2015-11-17

cool instructable man

TheCommander (author)2014-01-13

I like this instructable, I will file it away for future use.oh and good job.

thehbird (author)2014-01-07

Good idea

Mike190671 (author)2014-01-07

Sorry pressed wrong bit now can not get off . Think this is great

bnvillanueva (author)2013-06-27

i bet a baby food jar would work well

tonyscott (author)2013-05-16

nice and tiny. tony

pmarks1 (author)2012-03-31

Making camp coffe on my wood gasifier slash wood stove inside my bathroom!

xallie (author)2011-11-20

Well, I guess you could, but it wouldn't burn in the same way and will probably burn out faster. Oil will give more light :) Be carefull if you're using alcohol though

akinich (author)xallie2011-11-21


Blaaken (author)2011-11-19

i tried making this with a piece of a sock and some vegetable oil, it diidn't burn at all, any advice?

Laneyh (author)Blaaken2011-11-20

I don't think most vegetable oils burn well in a lamp. They're often too heavy for a wick.

Petar92 (author)2011-11-20

Just great!! :)

ismith8 (author)2011-11-19

Dryer lint can be used for the wick. Roll it tightly between your palms.

pdxnative1964 (author)2011-11-17

Set up similar last night, when the power went out. Had to come up with a light source to calm the natives (8 girls having a sleep-over). Worked like a charm, after throwing in a few ghost stories.
Enough light to get around. used canning jars for mine.

kampingking (author)2011-08-21

I used 2 soda can bottoms soldered togher and it works great!

the.rollie (author)2011-07-31

take the bottom off a soda can cut it to fit just around the top of the jar and use silicon to glue the bowl shaped part on the top of the jar, then insert wick and add another hole for refuleing. use original jar lid as, well, the lid

pemas35 (author)2011-07-06

really liked it reminded me of when I lived in the countryside, did it with diesel

ultracanery (author)2009-08-13

how do you light it

Oliveman (author)ultracanery2011-07-06


Foyet (author)ultracanery2011-02-02

um a match or lighter what kind of question is that?

Kynan4th (author)ultracanery2010-07-01

i beleive a match might work

dragonsniper (author)Kynan4th2011-01-09

lol thats kinda obvious

cv1284 (author)2011-05-06

Thank you for this.
I made on last night, think it will go well on the table after a BBQ and it starts getting dark - a nice atmosphere.
I used a thin utility knife the a screw driver to open the gap, then a clamp it back together to hold the wick.

It looks really awesome!

Thanks again. :o)

NecroVoid (author)2011-02-05

maybe there would be a way to make a "valve" to shut the hole with the wick in it by using another jampot lid section, especially if you offset the hole from the center?

saritali (author)NecroVoid2011-05-02

You could use some cork? But it would have to be pretty small, which you can sometimes find by the bag in craft stores.

Earths_hope (author)2010-12-02

Holy crap its pretty!

kube60 (author)2010-10-14

There used to be a show when I was a kid called Mr. Wizard's world. In one episode, he poured some veg oil into a dish, tied a piece of string to a nut to weight it and lit the string. Instant candle. Veg oil most certainly will work. You can even run a car on it.

mattbomb (author)2010-09-24

hey do you no any were else you could get small jars like that

pleabargain (author)2009-06-25

Woh. Be caeful. Put the lid down and tap the blade into the top. No lamp is worth a bloody hand.

Bill1965 (author)pleabargain2010-08-28

Ahhh relax guys its not that dangerous chill a little and grow a spine Billy "eight fingers" 1965

delusional (author)2009-08-04

What are the Physics principles applied here?

Doc Holliday (author)delusional2010-02-20


Determine what is to measured,
Organize the entities of interest,
Find  them,
What do we/they need, or provide,
Get the stuff moving,
Know what stuff is important.

Now, think backwards!

TANZMEISTER (author)Doc Holliday2010-08-02


chuckr44 (author)delusional2010-02-11

If you light something flammable, you get flames (heat and light).

akinich (author)2010-07-20

or surgical spirit?

Faquad (author)2010-05-28

Cool idea.  Could also be used for citronella, or the like to keep bugs away when camping.   Question, however... how would you extinguish the flame if you needed to?  With an actual lantern, you just turn down the wick and the flame goes out, this... well....?

EagleScout2007 (author)Faquad2010-06-28

You could use a lid to extinguish the flame.

capaky (author)2010-06-10

A hammer and nail would work...

JCoffey (author)2009-06-23

This is a GREAT instructable. This would be great for camping too I would think. The only problem is an open flame but I wonder how hard it would be to find some sort of glass to use as a globe

Peter Mckee (author)JCoffey2010-01-31

If you have a small bottle that is similar size as your jar you can drop a large nail in it then shake the bottle it will pop the bottom off around the seam. Then with a glass grinding bit you can grind off the burrs and make some air holes, this will allow oxygen to get in and the neck of the bottle will be like a chimney allowing the hot air to escape. Then attach it to the cap of the jar with epoxy or some other adhesive.

jacob13 (author)Peter Mckee2010-05-23

pretty sweet idea

skipernicus (author)JCoffey2009-06-25

You could always use a tin can with decorative holes punched in it.

tcup (author)JCoffey2009-06-23

I thnk some sort of globe can be found online or in some craft stores. You won't find one for an exact fit but there are larger ones that are use for full sized oil lanterns. Maybe set the jar inside a Mason jar, could fill the Mason jar with sand fo stability. Perhaps some creative person, on this site will think up something clever. This is a group of creative people.

JCoffey (author)tcup2009-06-23

Actually the Mason jar full of Sand is a PERFECT idea. Stability, windproof, and good amounts of light. Im going to have to try this out soon!

smh (author)JCoffey2009-06-23

Glad you all liked it! The mason jar sounds like a good idea. Although in a pinch I tied some heavy gauge wire around the rim to make a sort of impromptu candle holder.

zvillesurfer (author)tcup2009-06-23

You could take an ordinary jelly jar and glue the pocket sized lantern to the underside of the lid. drill some holes in the jar, then when you light it, put the lid on the jar, and turn it upside down.

Gracer (author)2009-07-01

fire needs oxygen.

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