Introduction: How to Make an Oil Candle From a Tile or Rock
Check out this really cool oil candle made from a tile. There are a few methods posted on the Internet that show how to make an oil candle but after much experimenting, I realized that some work better than others. I found this Instructable quite useful getting me started: https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-oil-lamps-and-candles-for-free/
First off is candles with too long of a wick in dipped in oil will burn well but once the oil level becomes too low the candle stops working. I read that salting a wick is important in the other Instructable but after some experimenting, I found it made almost no difference. Also I came up with a better wick as well.
I think I came up with a good candle that looks cool and works really well. Enjoy!
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Tile or rock
- Small glass bowls or short glass mason jars with ring bands
- Sewing Eyelets
- Glass marbles or natural stones
- 100% Cotton cloth or
- Fiberglass cloth or if you can find fiberglass rope
- 5 minute epoxy
- Liquid Coconut Oil or other Vegetable Oils
- Tiny funnels
Step 2: Video
Check out my video, the written directions to follow:
Step 3: Testing Different Wicks and Oils
I did some testing to see what type of wicks would work the best and also the best types of oil to use. The candle I want to make will have a sealed top and only the wick will protrude through the top of the candle so I wanted to make sure to find the best possible combination of wick and oil.
So 100% cotton is the easiest wick to make or find. I used a cotton cloth and cut it into strips. Then tested burning it with different types of oils and at different lengths. It worked really well but does get consumed each time the oil runs low, just like a regular candle but as long as it's feed with oil it keeps burning. I also tried salting the cotton wicks to prevent charring and consumption of the wick but I found it made very little or no difference.
Advantages: Easy to find, inexpensive.
Disadvantages: Is consumed over time.
A fiberglass wick is harder to find but works better and doesn't get consumed when the fuel/oil runs low, the flame just goes out. For this Instructables I'll show you how to make one of these wicks from fiberglass cloth. Or you can buy fiberglass rope used to seal the doors of wood-stoves. The only disadvantage of fiberglass is when working with it, you should wear a mask when cutting it, as cutting will release small glass fibers into the air and it's best that you don't get it in your lungs. It's safe to work with fiberglass just be smart about it.
Advantages: Is not consumed.
Disadvantages: Trickier to work with, respiratory irritant.
Types of Oil:
I tested few types of oil, corn, vegetable, olive, canola and coconut. All the oils worked, however I found all some of them produced some soot or smoke, especially if the wick was too long. Also some oils are too viscous and didn't wick very fast.
I found the one that work the best was coconut oil, I tested both solid and liquid. The solid coconut oil melts at 26c and when the candle was lit it help keep the rest of the oil liquid just from the heat of the flame. The liquid coconut oil worked equally well. The viscosity of coconut oil is light compared to the other oils tested and produced almost no soot. It wicked well and burned the best of all the oils.
Winner: Liquid coconut oil (expensive comparatively) but really any oil will work.
Overall regardless of the wick and depending on the type of oil used the capillary action could only supply enough oil to the burning end of the wick up to a certain point. I found after a distance of 1.5" of the flame to the top of the oil, the rate of oil being "wicked" could not feed enough oil to keep the flame lit.
For this build I will use a DIY fiberglass wick and liquid coconut oil. But if you don't like the idea of using fiberglass cloth or don't have access to it cotton works just fine too. I just like the idea of not having to replace the wick.
Step 4: Making the Candles - Candle One
So lets make the candle now that we have the testing done. I'll show a few different candles that I made but all the techniques apply.
The first candle I made is from a modern looking square tile that would look cool as a stand alone object.
Drilling the Hole in the Tile:
I drilled a hole directly in the middle of the tile, sized slightly larger than the diameter of the bottom of the eyelet. This will depend on what ever size you choose for an eyelet.
Drilling into a tile requires using a proper drill bit, I purchased a bunch of diamond drill bits on ebay or amazon but if you don't want to wait you can find them at the hardware store, you'll just pay more. Also a carbide bit will work too but they don't seem to last as long. When drilling into the tile be sure to use ample water to help lubricate the cutting action, it also helps remove the cut material and prevents it from becoming airborne.
A tip for when drilling into the tile when using diamond drill bits, they are more like mini hole saws with no pilot bit. So it's best to start at an angle to cut a small groove to get the bit started so it won't wander, then bring the drill upright to drill through the tile (don't forget the water). Clean up the tile and then insert the eyelet into the hole.
Let the tile dry before continuing onto the next step.
Attaching the Oil Reservoir:
For the oil reservoir I used a small "mise en place" bowl. I positioned and then marked the outside rim of the bowl on the bottom of the tile so I would have a reference once I was ready to glue the bowl on. Next I mixed up some 5 minute epoxy and applied it to the tile where I marked the bowl line.
This next step is optional but I partially filled up the bowl with small ornamental rocks, this serves two purposes, one it displaces the amount of oil needed to fill the reservoir and two also looks nice. If you fill the bowl with rocks the tile will need to be placed on the bowl to glue them together. Otherwise the bowl can be placed onto the tile (easier this way). Let the assembled candle sit until the epoxy sets.
Fill with Oil
Next fill the candle with oil using a tiny funnel, as mentioned in the previous step, I like using liquid coconut oil as it burner cleanly and is less viscous than other oils. Remember don't over fill the candle.
Make and Insert Wick
In the previous step I explained how to make a wick but I will quickly go over how to make one. Take some fiberglass cloth cut to about 3" x 3" and roll or fold into a tube. Use a glue gun and dab a bit of glue at the bottom of the wick to hold it together. If necessary add a dab in the middle as well.
If you don't like or have access to fiberglass cloth, make a wick using 100% cotton by cutting strips of it.
Take the wick and insert into the eyelet hole, until the wick is just protruding above the hole. Trim with scissors if there are stray fibers. Depending on how the candle burner you will need to adjust the height of the wick as needed.
Light the Candle
Give the wick a few minute to saturate with oil. Then light it! Adjust the wick as needed, the fibreglass type wick will last indefinitely where as cotton ones will need to be trimmed and pulled up every so often and eventually replaced. The candle should burn for hours, it will stop once it can't wick anymore fuel you will need to refill it by adding more oil with the tiny funnel. It's possible to refill without removing the wick depending on how large the end of the funnel is.
Step 5: Candle Two - Three Flames
Alternatively I used mason jars for this candle so I could remove the glass jars to refill them instead of using a tiny funnel like candle two.
The constructions is similar to candle one but instead of gluing the glass bowls directly, the metal bands are glued to the tile and then the glass jars can be screwed directly to the bands. The pictures make it very clear. I used a long tile and three mason jars for this candle. I think it looks really neat.
Step 6: Candle Three - Rock Candle
This is exactly the same as candle one but instead of using a tile a flat shale rock was used instead. This literally can be called a rock candle!
In summary, a fiberglass wick works the the best as it's not consumed and lasts a really really long time. Coconut oil is the best fuel but any vegetable oil will work.
Hope you enjoyed this Instructables, it was a lot of fun making this candles and they make great gifts!
Runner Up in the
1 Person Made This Project!
- Brendan Rodgers made it!