Coke Bottle Oil Lamp




This is my first instructable. I bought a pack of the 1899 style coke bottles from the store and decided to recycle the 6 bottles into better things instead of just putting them in the bin down the road.

My first bottle has become a lantern. This is how to make one too!

Step 1: Drink

The fist step is to buy and drink some cokes. I suggest soda bottles because they are thicker than beer bottles. Mason jars would work as well if you have some around. When you remove the top try not to warp the cap too much.

Step 2: Poke!

Punch holes in the cap with a finishing nail. When you do it use a soft surface to place the cap on. If you do it on something hard you will dent the cap in a lot. You have to put two holes in, one in the center for the wick and one on the edge to let air into the bottle.

Step 3: Smash

Angle the nail and turn it to widen the hole a bit. Use a flat edge to smooth out the punched in bits from the nail and to flatten any warping on the cap from opening the bottle. You only have to flatten the pointy bits on the center hole because thats the one the wick will go through.

Step 4: Add Oil and Wick

Fill your bottle with whatever you want to burn. I used lamp oil from Walmart. Its in the candle section. Liquid paraffin wax can also be used or denatured alcohol. The wick is from Hobby Lobby. It is a braided wick for pillar candles. I didn't want to have to buy a new wick for a while, so I bought an 18 ft one and stuck the whole thing in since I don't plan to make any candles.

Step 5: Knot and Cap

Stick the wick up through the center hole and tie a knot in the end. If you have even a little extra wick it will make a bunch of soot. Any wick sticking out of the end of the knot will burn off. Once thats done press the cap back onto the bottle and wait a while for the oil to soak up.

Step 6: Done!

Once the wick is saturated with oil, light it up! The flame will burn high and dirty for a little while but dont worry. Just hold a piece of scrap paper over it till it burns down to catch the soot. After a few seconds it will burn down to a small clean flame.

You can decorate the bottle before the filling it if you need to do anything to the inside. My girlfriend put this ribbon on after it was done and I think it adds something nice too it. Notice that my wick takes up a lot of space in the bottle. 18 ft may be a bit long, but it makes the lamp look neat.

Good for housholds without children. Like a candle this lantern has an open flame.



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    26 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 6

    this looks cool and i plan to make it but what are you supposed to do when that end of the wick is done. the wick will eventually burn off the knot.are you supposed to pull up more parts of the wick by hand and tie another knot? pleas explain in detail what you do when that small end of the wick is burned off.

    I'm afraid not...well, not very successfully.

    You need wick string (which has been treated with Boric acid).

    I hope that this helps.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    ya, stay away from the plastic stuff, an old cloth will work cut at the side were they sew the many layers of fabrics together cut that off and it will work, try your near by home hard wear there you might beable to find proper wich, a foot for like 99 cents or something, well good luck with the building


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm having trouble, I filled the whole thing with canola oil and it seems as if my wick is fully soaked. I light it nice flame, but after 5 mins it dies?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    mine barely burns for half a minute. why? i let the wick soak for like 15 minutes and its about 3ft long wick. i used tiki torch oil.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    you should try taking the wick out and soaking the whole thing, then put it back in.  Make sure the wick is soaking up the oil very well.  You should never have to pull the wick up because only the oil should burn.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    mmm probably not, doesnt burn. well im sure it burns but not if you put a flame to it.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    yes vegatable oil, or any cooking oil will work fine. I use canola oil in all of my oil lamps and it works fine.  It's cheaper too, lol.

    Cool. I made one from a 2008 holiday edition Coke bottle, I've never seen an 1899 style. Oh well, I have a cool retro graphic to look at. I used soybean oil (it reeks, next time I'm at the store I'll get a bottle of lamp oil) and an unraveled cotton ball. Also, I used filtered water, dunno if that made a difference. I cheaped out and filled it with only 2" of oil, didn't want to waste too much. When it burns, it makes a cool crackling noise because the oil is boiling (again, it's cooking oil). I light it with a butane lighter, as my Zippo will make me spill it; Zippo's have an "always-up" flame.

    1 reply

    just thought i would tell you the upwards flame of a zippo is becuase of the chimney to make it go up simply pull the wick out more!!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Really nice Instructable. I wonder though about the stability of the lamp. Many oil lamps have broad bases to help avoid tipping over. Obviously a spilled oil lamp is a bit more of a concern than a spilled coke. Have you had any problems with your lamp's stability, and have you considered weighting the base in some way?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I bought the six pack of glass bottle cokes from a local independent grocery store. If you live in Pensacola, FL check Apple Market, thats where I got mine. If not I would look in your local stores before big supermarkets. You can use any bottle though, but like I said soda bottles tend to be thicker than beer. Sprite and Dr Pepper come in glass bottles too.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Looks like I am going to wind up with a second one after all. I had made the one in the pictures before I thought to make it for the site. I will take pics of the second being made and add them in.