Bacon Powered Lamp




About: To see more of my work you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @cam_de_burgh

Have you ever wondered what you would do for light in an emergency situation where you have no electricity or candles, but you do have a plentiful supply of bacon?

Of course you have! But wonder no more, I have the perfect solution.

In this instructable I will show you how to create your own Bacon Lamp , using materials that should cost nothing and are usually discarded.

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Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

Here's what you'll need:
- Bacon fat; about 1/4 cup.
- A stick, about 3-4mm thick; I used a basil stem. I thought it would smell nice but actually it didn't make any difference. Any non-poisonous stick will do.
- A small tin can. I used an empty baked beans can.
- A strip of cotton fabric. About 1/2" (15mm) wide and 6" (150mm) long.
- Some sand. 
- A stove and a pan to melt the fat in.

Step 2: Create Your Fuel

This lamp uses bacon fat for fuel. I guess you will need about a quarter of a cup of fat. 
To obtain bacon fat...
You can simply collect the fat left in the pan after frying your breakfast bacon until you have enough,
you can do what I did and trim the excess fat off some raw bacon and fry it on the stove until all the fat turns liquid. This is a very simple process, but be careful not to burn the fat or yourself. Everything gets very hot.

Step 3: Assemble Your New Lamp

Cut your stick to about the same length as your tin can is tall.

Wrap the cotton fabric around the stick like a bandage.

Fill your small tin can with sand until it is about 2/3 full. This supports the wick and reduces the amount of fat you need.

Stick the wrapped stick into the sand. This will be the wick of the lamp.

Pour the bacon fat over the wick and onto the sand. The fat will soak into the sand a bit.

At this point I realized my wick was too long so I trimmed it with some pliers.

Step 4: Light Your Lamp

Now is the fun part.
Light the lamp as you would a candle. It may take a little while to start the first time, but you will soon see the flame grow.

At this point you might like to do some fine tuning.
- Shorten the wick to reduce the size of the flame. This will also make it burn less fuel too of course.
- Adjust the tightness of the wrap. The tighter the wrap the less fuel will soak into it and so the flame will be smaller. A loose wrap will produce a bigger flame.
- Use trial and error to get the best result. You don't want a big flame spreading soot all over the place. A small flame should burn quite cleanly and throw a nice light.

I hope you have enjoyed my second ever Instructable. If you did, please consider giving it your vote in the bacon contest.

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    84 Discussions


    5 years ago

    if you have no electricity than do you melt the bacon grease?

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago

    With your bacon powered stove of course.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    I' ve learned this by reading novels about northern territories where they used seal lard. Always nice to see old techniques revived by technogically enhanced stonetent inhabitants. If you wanna have a cleaner burn sieve and filter the grease and take steel/copper wire to fix the fabric, control flame height by simply pulling the wick out/in with pliers. Before that make sure to burn the zinc coating of your can completely away cause the fumes are to cause harm, especially for kids it could be lethal.
    Keep up your good work, like them all,

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Re: "...and take steel/copper wire to fix the fabric, control flame height by simply pulling the wick out/in with pliers." Are you saying to use wire in lieu of the stick?


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    Hi winniekate,

    sry for replying sooo late. Not in lieu of the stick but making a twisted holder embracing the wick with a spiral pattern foot ending in a spike which can be stabbed into the sand. Provides the wick with stability until fat is completely burned. Hope this description helps understanding the principle. Keep on trying and let me know if it worked for you,



    Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

    Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you have enjoyed my work, I have certainly enjoyed doing it.
    And I'm looking forward to doing lots more - I'm just waiting for the Autodesk lawyers to open up contests to international entries again.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your comment.
    If you are disgusted by using animal fat you could perhaps try vegetable oil.
    Personally I found the smell to be mild. And since the fat would normally be wasted I consider it morally Ok too.
    Sadly there are not too many energy sources available to the majority of us that are morally perfect.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    how long does it burn? Is it faster than a typical wax candle?
    and, about adjusting wick length - is that in direct correlation with the amount above the grease? I'm assuming that everything above the liquid would be flaming, correct? If that's the case, would it work as well to adjust the levels of sand / grease, or push the wick deeper into the can? Just want to make sure i'm understanding this. Anyway, looks pretty cool, and i'll try this, since I always save bacon grease, and I save tin cans for shooting BB guns in the backyard. Thanks for the instructable!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Do I have to buy bacon just to have a torch?

    Why not use any cooking oil and water, oil is lighter than water thus the upper part will be oil and put any cotton cloth an put it on the rubber to float and light it up!

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I know vegetable oil works. thats what oil lamps use in midle east. i've used one too. and bacon just releases so much fat, i colleced it a long time ago and made a candle out of it. and it burns for a long time. what else to do with it?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Most vegetable oils from the US smell awful when burned, which is why I use olive oil. It has almost no smell. (I tried several oils in a lamp like this once.)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I only chose bacon fat so I could enter the bacon themed contest. I was surprised how well it worked.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Would these be a good thing to take camping or would they draw in unwanted critters and bugs into my campsite???

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I think they would be ok to make on the spot out of any fat you can get.
    They might be a fire risk in dry country.
    I don't know about bears. Do they like bacon?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    A bacon lamp would certainly attract raccoons, bears, opossums, who are scavengers and omnivores. Try olive oil instead.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    My lamp hasn't yet attracted any of those creatures. But then I guess I'm on the wrong continent for them. I really would get a shock if a bear turned up uninvited.


    8 years ago on Introduction

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