Preparing for the next time your power goes out? Ice storms, 2012, nobody really seems to know what's going to happen, but if you need some oil lamps cheap, you can make them for free out of a glass container that has a metal lid. You probably have been either throwing these containers away or recycling them. Save a few and you can make all the oil lamps you want for just the cost of some wick. You can also buy the glass stoppers that make a candle out of practically any bottle, but reusing something like an olive or pickle jar is just making good use of something that's headed to the trash. I have also made the burners out of fruit jar lids, new ones and zinc ones too. Get some wick, cotton string, or even a twist of paper towel and shove it through the hole you used an ice pick to make, and it will burn PARRAFIN BASED LAMP FUEL just as well as anything you bought at a store.
HERE'S THE BEST PART - you can also incorporate USED COOKING OIL into the mixture. USED (or new) COOKING OIL is much cheaper than PARRAFIN BASED LAMP FUEL ($12 / gallon at Wal Mart, but that price will go up soon - candle making wax has gone up 40% in the last 6 months), and one quart of it has 350 hours burn time as a candle which makes it one of the most efficient and cheap liquid fuels to stockpile for emergency lighting. THE PROBLEM WITH USED COOKING OIL is that it's too viscous to wick in the typical OIL LAMP. But you can mix it with PARRAFIN BASED LAMP FUEL and it works very well. I have used up to 50% USED COOKING OIL mixed with PARRAFIN BASED LAMP FUEL and used it in all sorts of burners, from the traditional kerosene lamp like you can get at Wal Mart and Hobby Lobby, to an old green bean can with a hole I stabbed through the lid that I kept partially attached.
Using a mixture of USED COOKING OIL and PARRAFIN BASED LAMP FUEL means that I have cut the cost of my PARRAFIN BASED LAMP FUEL in HALF by adding to it something that I used to throw away.
Any time you are using USED COOKING OIL it will cause your wick to get crusty. You will have to readjust it and trim it MORE SO than if you are using pure PARRAFIN BASED LAMP FUEL. If anyone out there knows a trick to get around this, please let me know. I have seen a method using wicks that were soaked in a very dense solution of salt that claims to keep the wicks from getting crusty but I haven't had a chance to investigate that yet.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.