Introduction: Making Oil Lamps and Candles for Free
You can very easily make your own candles/oil lamps for free out of regular kitchen waste. This guide describes how to make a unique salted paper wicking for use in jar oil lamps and jar candles. Both the candles and oil lamps are designed to use free kitchen oil and have a top that closes so they won't spill or leak in storage.
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: Making a Paper Wick Tallow Candle
You can make a tallow or cooking grease candle very easily with the stiff paper wicking described earlier.
1. Select a jar, wide mouth jars are easiest to light.
2. Make a spiral from some wire, a foot of unwound ground wire works very well.
3. Pinch the wire around the wicking so the wick stands up. That way the wick will stand straight even if the grease melts. Where as, regular candle wicking would just fall into the candle.
4. Melt and pour in your grease, wait for the grease to solidify, then your candle is ready to use...
Step 3: Making a Paper Wick Oil Lamp
This sort of oil lamp works well with all sorts of used cooking oil. The wicks have a wire stand and handle so they can easily be lite and lowered into the lamp. And since they can be closed they don't spill when storing or moving them.
1. Select a jar.
2. Make a spiral out of wire as before so it pinches onto the wick pointing it up straight.
3. Bend the far end of the spiral into a handle so the wick can be pulled out of the oil for easy lighting. When you make the handle, make it so it sits above the oil and below the jar lid.
4. Fill the lamp so it leaves about 1/8 an inch of wicking above the oil.
5. Pull the wicking up, hold it sideways and light it.
6. Lower the wick into the lamp and enjoy.