Easy Emergency Lamp





Introduction: Easy Emergency Lamp


Lets make an emergency candle in case the lights go out for a bit.

You will need a Ball jar plus an extra used lid, short half pint.  a Coleman lamp wick, liquid paraffin or mineral oil, a 1/2 wood chisel, and a lamp cover.

Step 1:

I'm using the ball short half pint jars.  As of yet Congress hasn't repealed the law of gravity.  If you get the regular half pint jars the oil will not be drawn up all the way to the top of the wick as the fuel is used up.  Your flame will get smaller until it goes out with about half the fuel left.  I bought everything but the fuel from Walmart.  Walmart doesn't have paraffin oil.  They have mineral oil which is really pure kerosene.  The paraffin oil produces very little, if any smoke, the mineral oil much more.  The glass covers are lamp shades for a ceiling fan and are used to defuse the light some and protect the flame from drafts and inadvertent touching.  WARNING all part may get hot, the lamp cover very hot!

Step 2:

First, cut the wick in half as there is enough for two lamps.  Then get out a 1/2 to 3/4 inch wood chisel.  You will need a small block of wood too.

Using the chisel knock a slit into the jar top to make a slit just big enough to pass the wick in.  Make it a little tight.  Too loose and the wick might fall in and oil will leak out if the jar is tipped.

Pass the wick in until only about 1/8 of an inch shows through, that's all the hard part!

Step 3:

Now fill your jar with oil, screw on the top, let it sit for a few minuets to let the oil rise up and light!

When you want to extinguish the flame use a top from an old jar to cover the flame.

When it's cool place the second top lid over the lid with the wick cut into it and you seal the jar for further use!

Step 4:

A word on the Paraffin oil.  It's expensive when you can find it.  Lehman's and other stores like them have it.  I found mine from a catholic church store for several bucks less per gallon.  The large one even comes with a pump!  So shop around.  Yes, by the way, you can use citronella oil for those outside!

Cost:  Pack of four jars, 3.97 so a buck each.  wicks .97 cents, makes 2 so 50 cents each.  mineral oil 5.97 a quart.  Paraffin oil 7.50 a quart. and 17.50 a gallon. The lamp shade was 5.97.  Lowe's and Home Depot had some pretty ones if you want to spend the bucks.  So each one is about 3 bucks plus the lamp shade if you want one, and the burn time was about 10 hours.

Enjoy, Ken



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    11 Discussions

    BTW : you do not have to cover the wick : paraffin or oil will not evaporate through the wick (unless you let it sit there for a year maybe).
    Then again you have to care for the wick by clipping off the charcoaled part as it makes an uneven flame and leads to a disgusting dark smoky flame. However do NOT cut the wick all fresh : you have to leave the small burnt part of the wick on. It got hardened by the heat thus helping to give a non smoky even flame and saving on the wick. So the shape of the wick should be somewhat oval at its tip with a 2 - 3 mm black color. This is not so important with this lamp, with old paraffin lamps that our great-grandparents used it is almost a must. I love paraffin lamps : they leave such a nice warm feeling. I keep one on my boat an in the small space of the cabin it heats it up too !…

    2 replies

    I have a cover mostly to keep oil from leaking out if tipped over, and I haven't used my lamps for a while. Hence the 'energency' part so they do need covered. I do have some outside with cintranella oil in them. If not sealed they would slowly evaporate in our SE Texas heat. I also keep one in my bug out bag. I'm working on a way to make a stove attachment for heating water too.

    My goodness the glass shade is upside down !!!…
    Paraffin is great too, olive (or any other) oil also !…
    Butter works well (but the the smell …)

    1 reply

    The shade is more stable this way. If used the other way it falls off at te slightest bump. Trust me, either way it's going to get very hot. I use paraffin oil in mine, except for two outside that I have cintranella oil in.

    You can use unscented baby oil as it is mostly the same type of oil. If you buy the house brand of a drug store, (Shopper's Drug Mart, for example) it should cost less than popular name brands. If you are buying it at the drug store you can compare the price to mineral oil as well.

    1 reply

    I'll have to check that out. It depends on what the base oil is. Those are usually some type of vegetable oil. I used the paraffin oil instead of mineral oil( kerosene) because the mineral oil puts out a lot of smoke.

    So easy, you could make one in the dark! Great job - I will be trying this out. I'd suggest using a cold chisel instead of a wood chisel - they're made for cutting metals, and the jar lid won't ruin your chisel.

    1 reply

    Thanks, I don't have a cold chisel so I used what I had. Then lid is so thin and I backed it with a block of wood so no worries there.