Introduction: Easy Oil Lamp Lantern

Oil Lamps are truly fascinating. They have been around for thousands of years and STILL manage to gather our interest. While we don't solely rely on Oil Lanterns anymore, we can still enjoy their simple beauty. In this project today, we are going to learn how to make a beautiful Easy Oil Lamp Lantern out of common household objects that you more than likely have just lying around. Once you are done, you will find the oil candle mesmerizing and the lantern to be the cherry on top.

DISCLAIMER: While this is an extremely safe project, I personally am not responsible for any damage, injury, or death as a result of this Instructable . This project is produced as a result of the interactions of fire and flammable materials. Please exercise caution and be safe!

With that being said, lets get started!

Step 1: Assembling the Materials

For this project you only need a small handful of things. All of which are very common and also extremely cheap. I have a list of the following materials that I used in this project and their costs. I will not be counting oil and aluminum foil as they are common household items in almost every home.

*Keep in mind that once you buy these objects you can probably make 15-20 or more lanterns depending on the size*

The List:

Spool of Cotton String $1 (Cotton is ideal when working with Oil Lamps)

Wire $2.50

Tissue Paper $2.50

Vegetable Oil (Can be found at home)

Aluminum Foil (Can be found at home)

Vegetable Oil (Can be found at home)

Total Cost = Roughly $6

And that's it! Lets get building!

Step 2: Making the Lantern

First you are going to want to carefully unroll one sheet of tissue paper. You will then want to fold down the edge about 1/4" from the edge towards a main part of the tissue paper so that the crease runs the length direction.

Now you have done that, you will want to cut it vertically with respect to picture 1 to get a strip with a folded crease as represented in picture 2. My strip in this case was about 5 - 6 inches tall.

Next, you take your wire (already comes in our circular shape) and feed it through the creased edge to maintain a circular frame. You then glue the flap down over the wire to conceal it from the viewer. You will want to keep one edge of the flap unglued so you can gently rest/overlap one flap onto the other thus making the circular shape. (Keep in mind the flap should be on the outside of the lantern)

Finally I found that using a glass jar really helped me nail down the circular shape for my lantern. While holding the lantern around the jar, I then taped the crease to hold the lanterns shape in place. Next thing you know you have a super easy, some-what professional looking lantern in under 5 minutes. Now we move on to the much awaited oil-powered candle.

Step 3: Making the Candle

This part was the most fun for me because who doesn't love to play (safely) with fire? Also, I had never made an oil candle before so it was fascinating to see how oil defies gravity by traveling up the wick and becomes fuel for the fire.

For the base, I decided aluminum foil would be the easiest to find an most cost effective. I used a bottle cap as a reference for that nice little container feature it has. I wrapped the aluminum foil around it until I had a rough shape of a little bowl to place the wick in (Picture 1).

As I was making the wick, I found that simply throwing a string into the oil was not the most efficient way of burning through the oil nor the easiest. Instead, I figured that if it had multiple channels to burn through, it would create a longer more sustained burn.

With the cotton string, I measure out about 1 arms length ( about 3 feet) of string and laid it out on the table. I folded it in half (Picture 2) and folded it in half again (Picture 3). From there, I began to twist the string until it started to look like a tight rope (Picture 4). Once you get it this tight, the rope will naturally start to want to twist on its own. All you have to do is simply release a little pressure and WOW you have this beautiful, airy, multi-path braid-looking wick ! (Picture 6)

After that, I simply cut the excess strings off so it exposed a few stray strings (This makes the initial lighting of the wick far easier). Then I laid the wick inside the aluminum base and was ready to pour the oil in. (Picture 6) I used vegetable oil but any household oil should work just fine as well!

Step 4: All Done!

Now all you have to do is carefully slide the lantern over the oil candle and you have a beautiful oil-powered lantern fit for any occasion. Whether it be outdoor picnics, weddings, a romantic evening, a holiday, or just as an interior decoration, this lantern does it all! Try it with different sizes, lengths, colors, and other variations to make these your own! The flame burns smokeless and much brighter than that of a tea candle and will definitely last longer! (Depending on how much oil you put in ;) ) I felt super comfortable and completely safe with this on my counter and it burned for about 7 minutes before I had to go to school today so it will definitely be worth its time.


While these lanterns are very easy to make and very fun to display, you must be very careful that the oil candle does not put off too big of a flame that could interact with the sides of the lantern - causing it to burn. Remember this is tissue paper - it will burn very quickly if it interacts with a flame so BE CAREFUL.

Thank you so much for checking out this Instructable! I had a great time making it! Be safe and have fun!

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