From my column Square Root of Not at Science 2.0:
Second-hand stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and local mom & pop shops are treasure troves of things to hack or re-purpose. When you hack something you’re probably using it in a way in which it was never intended to be used so, there is always a risk that things might not go the way you planned. But since you can get items from second-hand stores on the cheap, you don’t care too much if you are disappointed with the results. Luckily, this "MacGyverism" was successful. I'll demonstrate how I converted an olive oil bottle into an alcohol lamp.
This build includes, glass, a flammable liquid (rubbing alcohol), boiling water, and fire so, given this lawsuit-happy country in which we live, I’ll borrow a quotation that appears at the beginning of every Mythbusters episode:
Adam Savage: Don’t try this at home.
Jaime Hyneman: EVER!
Adam Savage: We’re what you call "experts.”
Step 1: Bottle With Pour Tube
I found this “Olive You!” olive oil bottle at Goodwill. It reminded me of a Erlenmeyer flask. It's short and squat and stable with a wider base than top.
Step 2: Parts Needed
Tabletop tiki torch wick (I used the Trueliving replacement wick--found at a dollar store for a dollar--two were included in the package).
“Olive You!” olive oil bottle (I got mine from Goodwill for $1.00 USD but you can get one from Bed Bath and Beyond http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/olive-you-glass-love-oil-bottle-in-signature-tuscan-box/1015819260)
Rubbing alcohol for fuel
Step 3: Build It
The build is very simple. Insert the Tabletop Tiki Torch wick through the pour tube of the olive oil bottle. Add rubbing alcohol for fuel. Put the cap on the bottle. You may need to tilt the bottle so the wick is moist with alcohol. Try not to spill any alcohol.
Once the wick is moist, you can use the alcohol lamp with your Bunsen burner stand.
NOTES: I remove the black plastic tube cap when the lamp is lit, but it can be replaced between uses.
"Olive You!" olive oil bottle picture source: