Introduction: Tangerine (Satsuma, Clementine) Candle

Picture of Tangerine (Satsuma, Clementine) Candle

Turn a small citrus into a candle/votive using:

Paring Knife
Olive Oil (or most other cooking oils)

When lit, the candle puts off a nice citrus scent and a soft orange light.

Credit where credit is due. Idea from here

Just remember, don't leave these unattended! Fire burns stuff.

Step 1: Cut the Tangerine

Picture of Cut the Tangerine

Cut through the skin of the tangerine around the circumference. You only need to cut through the skin at this point. Leaving the segments of the tangerine intact helps you enjoy eating them later.

Step 2: Peel the Tangerine

Picture of Peel the Tangerine

CAREFULLY peel the skin off of the top of the tangerine first. The top is the half with the stem.

Pay extra attention when you get to peeling the part below the stem where skin connects to the fruit. There is a piece of white "stuff" extending from the skin into the center of the fruit. You want to preserve most of this piece. It will be used as the wick for the candle. If you peel it, and don't get a good wick, go ahead and eat the rest of it and try again.

Now peel the bottom half of the tangerine. The bottom half is the one without the stem. Make sure you leave the skin completely intact, so you end up with a nice half sphere.

Step 3: Eat the Segments!

Picture of Eat the Segments!

No explanation needed. Enjoy!

Step 4: Cut a Hole in the Non-stem Half of the Tangerine

Picture of Cut a Hole in the Non-stem Half of the Tangerine

Here you want to cut a hole in the middle of the half of the tangerine without the stem. This hole allows the heat and the flame to escape.

I chose to cut a star pattern in mine.

Step 5: Add the Fuel

Picture of Add the Fuel

Take the olive oil and pour a small amount in the half of the tangerine with the wick. You only need to fill the bottom with 1/8" - 1/4" (about 5mm) olive oil.

If your wick is short, you'll only want to fill the oil up to about 1/8" - 1/4" (about 5mm) below the wick.

If your wick is too long (like mine) you'll want to cut the wick so it is about 1/8" - 1/4" (about 5mm) above the oil.

Step 6: Light Your Candle!

Picture of Light Your Candle!

Take a lighter (or matches) and hold it to the wick. Because the wick is still slightly damp, you'll need to hold the flame on it for a few seconds to dry it out and let it soak up the oil.

Once the wick stays lit by itself, place the other half on top and enjoy.

If you are having trouble with the wick (e.g. too short, burning too fast, etc.) you can combine this instructable with the following one: Make an oil burning candle. You can use the wick and the oil to make a very re-used candle.

The bottom half of the candle will last a long time because the oil soaks into the skin and preserves it. If you add a wick, you can prolong the life of the candle for quite a long time.


lizardpow (author)2012-06-17

This is a really cool idea but how do you get the wick in? What do you use for a wick?

infob (author)2012-01-27

Done. Pretty. Thanks.

I love my Munks (author)2012-01-06

I am using an orange, medium size and canola oil and I cannot get this lit. I've been trying to for about 10 min and nothing is happening. Would someone mind explaining or suggestions on how to light this? I love this idea as I have 4 kids who adore oranges!

mPg-911 (author)2012-01-06

My 'wick' isn't lighting? Any solutions? Great instructable!

ohbejoyful (author)2011-12-30

I made these as a kind of a Christmas experience gift, and they were a huge hit. I was using the kind of tangerines that have knobby ends where the pith wick is, so I filled a shoebox lid with sand and stood them all up in a row. Really quite lovely. This has been my favourite Instructable ever.

i make shooting things (author)2008-01-03

my only problem is that the wick burns to fast (or instantly) so iv been combining this instructable with the one by DanYHKim (make an oil burning candle) there should be a link under related at bottom of this page

I haven't had a problem with the wick burning too fast before. You might try to rub the wick with oil before lighting it. Not quite sure. I did update the steps to include a link to this other instructable. With the addition of the wick, it would really prolong the life of this candle. Thanks.

ohbejoyful (author)bluesky2011-12-12

Right, the wick shouldn't actually be burning; it's called a wick because it wicks up the fuel (in this case, the vegetable oil) and burns *that*.

yeah it took about 3 hours before it burned up all the oil and put its self out. the wick hardly burned at all just keep filling it and it wont die.

iamthemargerineman (author)2008-02-28

hmm... will the tangerine catch on fire eventually? i guess you really have to watch then don't you?

You have to watch them as much as you'd watch any other burning item in your household - candles, fires in fireplaces, etc. They don't just burn up the available oil (it doesn't have to be olive) and then combust, just like a candle that burns down to the bottom doesn't proceed to the next step of burning your house down. It requires merely an average level of situational awareness.

You do have to watch it, but as long as the hole in the top is big enough, you should be able to keep it from catching fire. The bottom half shouldn't catch on fire though. It should run out of fuel and heat before that happens. That being said, there's a first for everything. One of my favorite tricks is to float these in a big bowl of water. Extra protection against burning something and it is a very cool effect.

ohbejoyful (author)2011-12-12

Love love LOVE!

I just tried this out with a clementine last night, and the ROI for this puppy is amazing. So easy to do, and then you a)get a yummy tangerine treat and b)have a beautiful glowing oil lamp that lasts the whole evening and which smells nice to boot!

It'd be a great bar trick, for all those bars where they serve tangerines next to the peanuts.

Thank you so much for sharing - this totally made my day.

Denise77 (author)2011-12-06

I love this idea. I made one this morning, and it was quick and easy. Thanks for sharing. :)

mornisfan (author)2011-10-20

This is a change from the usual Halloween stuff. Good addition to my arsenal

bluesky (author)mornisfan2011-10-20

Might look pretty sharp with a jack-o-lantern face carved in the top too. Just have to make sure it has proper ventilation.

popcorn4lunch (author)2011-02-10

Thats awesome :)
havent tried it yet but i will as soon as i get some clementines☺

dancingnymph (author)2010-06-01

 This looks great but you must throw them away before the peel dries. On our farm we save dried orange peel especially to use for firelighters because they catch so easily. Kind of reminds me of pumpkins at hallowe'en

ms.goody2shoez (author)2010-04-23

I've heard that cooking olive oil and heating it up to a too high temperature creates something bad for you... Much less literally burning it! Are you completely certain this is safe for users? But anyways, I liked your instructable.

bluesky (author)ms.goody2shoez2010-04-25

I haven't heard of any ill effects of burning olive oil.  It is (and has been for  quite a long while) commonly used in oil burning lamps, especially in the Mediterranean.  From quickly researching it for your question, I wasn't able to find any sources referencing any possible safety issues related to burning olive oil.  Although unscientific, I'll continue to do it and let everyone know if I begin to have any associated issues :)

LemonLily (author)2009-03-28

What if the orange peel soaks the oil up?

bluesky (author)LemonLily2009-03-30

The orange peel will soak up a small amount of oil, but it shouldn't be very much if the peel is fresh. There also isn't much of a chance the bottom half of the peel will burn because the flame will stay on the wick, because it is the only part of the peel that has the right conditions to maintain the flame. Be careful as the oil supply diminishes though, and either keep it full, or blow it out as it gets close the bottom.

LemonLily (author)2009-03-28

That is so true. I've always wanted candles but I've never liked the smell of the candle wax. Now we get natural stuff, hurray! Thank you for making this instructable. I enjoyed reading it. It looks sooooo pretty too. I have a question, is it really safe? As in would the whole thing go on fire? I'm only asking because I'm 12. Safety is important.

bluesky (author)LemonLily2009-03-30

Safety is very important. If you are using a fresh tangerine peel, you should be able to avoid, the peel catching on fire. The peel contains a lot of moisture and given the conditions needed to keep the oil burning (a good wick for proper flame position, etc.), it is difficult for the whole thing to catch on fire. That isn't to say that it can't happen sometime. These should be lit and burned on a surface that is fire resistant at a minimum, just to be careful if it is left unattended. For both effect and safety, I highly recommend floating them in a large bowl of water.

mizzoumike76 (author)2008-12-15

Very nice! I didn't get mine to light because my olive oil isn't the good stuff. I live in Albania at the moment, and I use the cheap olive oil for cooking. Once I tried this with the more expensive 'first pressing' stuff, it worked great. Given that the power goes out here frequently and we have oodles of mandarins, this is a perfect "Albanian Lamp". Since we often can buy honey with the comb in the jar, I have melted them down for the wax and now I am using it to make a beeswax/mandarin lamp. It's so Earth friendly on so many levels it makes me physically ill. Thanks for a great instructable!

villca (author)2008-10-08

So cute! :D It'll be a nice gift!

Sunny124613 (author)2008-07-17

cool! I have to try this as soon as I get some olive oil......

sufairlie (author)2008-05-09

whoa! I tried it. I took me less than 5 minutes and it looks sooooo coooool! What a great idea! I love candles so this is right up my alley. But this is way better because it's so unique! Thank you! I can't wait to show my friends! (sorry for all the exclamation marks, but it's just that I am so impressed)

italianragpicker (author)2008-03-22

AMAZING!!! scented candles w/o the harmful chemicals or expense! YAY!!!!

Sindarr (author)2008-03-13

I wonder if you could place tea candles instead of the oil and wick system, perhaps one would need a slightly bigger fruit like a grapefruit or a Navel Orange? Concept is the same, and likely less mess or chance of catching the peel on fire.

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-02-28

Man! That'd be just the absolute 7175 as a table decoration at a dinner party.

Karumi (author)2008-02-23

Is it absolutely necessary to use olive oil? ie. Sunflower or canola or grapeseed. Hopefully it doesn't make a difference.

bluesky (author)Karumi2008-02-24

It is definitely not necessary to use olive oil. As principessa mentioned above, soy bean oil works as well. So does basically any other kind of cooking oil, or oil you can find in your kitchen. Cooking oils are often cheaper than other oils made specifically for candles, so they work best. But you have many options when it comes to this ingredient.

To really make this even better, save and use some leftover cooking oil from one of these projects (or any other meal). It may need to be slightly filtered when you are done, but the added impurities would probably just make the candles smell like whatever you just cooked.

If you find another oil that works really well, let me know. I'd love to hear about it.

principessa (author)2008-02-24

This is great! I was eating some tangerines when I found your post, so now i have a lovely candle! I hate throwing out all the peels since I feel I should make potpourri or something, but this is way better. I used soy bean oil since I have a (cheap) big bottle of it in my kitchen and it worked totally fine. Great job!

glycerinate (author)2007-12-21

i like this. this absolutely ingenious. i can just imagine it, out in the woods with a tangerine, a lighter, a knife, and some charcoal starter fluid. make awesome candles with it. but be careful, itll probly attract bears!

zoxx (author)2007-12-21

this is so rad. I can't wait to try it at a outdoorsy type event--it would look wicked on a picnic table or to light a patio/deck during a party. cheers.

Lost Moai (author)2007-12-17

Awesome! I have some oranges in the fridge and am going to try this right away. +1

Fenwick (author)2007-12-16

Very cool, I'm gonna have to try this.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-15

this looks very nice, but will the tangerine rot?

bluesky (author)GorillazMiko2007-12-16

The tangerine will dry up eventually. This really works best for a one time use. But does turn an otherwise quickly discarded peel into a slick candle.

cry_wolf (author)2007-12-15

Pretty sick lookin, love it.

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