Make an Oil-burning Candle

116,131

203

97

Introduction: Make an Oil-burning Candle

I had extra cooking oil that was used to fry tortillas for enchiladas. I couldn't just let it go to waste, so I made this support for holding a cotton wick.

This can be used to make any oil holder into a nice candle. If you are careful with the oil level, the wick will be consumed very slowly.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Assemble Parts

Use an all-cotton string for the candle wick. Synthetic fibers will not burn cleanly. I am using a kitchen string that is used to truss poultry and tie up roasts.

Any kind of wire can be used for the wick support, but I had a spool of copper wire on hand. A large paperclip may also work.

Step 2: Begin Winding Wire

Loosely wind the wire around the matchstick.

Step 3: Complete the Wick Holder

The coil should be made loose enough to slip off the matchstick. I use a fingernail to separate the turns of the wire slightly.

If the wire is packed closely, it will wick enough oil to burn along the entire copper sleeve.

Step 4: This Is the Finished Wick Holder

Adjust the spiral base to place the coil in the center, slightly suspended.

Step 5: Cut the Wick

The length is not really important. Just so it is longer than the wire coil.

Step 6: Fill a Container With Oil

Adjust the wick so only an eighth of an inch projects past the copper coil.

Step 7: Now Use Your Match

The oil may be a little difficult to light, compared to a wax candle.

Step 8: Using a Candlestick to Hold Oil


Step 9: The Wick Is Not Consumed

Unlike a wax candle, the wick of this oil candle is supplied with fuel as the oil level goes down. The flame remains constant until the last of the oil is burned.

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Toys and Games Challenge

      Toys and Games Challenge
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Silly Hats Speed Challenge

      Silly Hats Speed Challenge

    97 Discussions

    0
    fabioluisbe
    fabioluisbe

    7 weeks ago

    the problem with the oil is that leave a black smoke behind and if the person uses in a restaurant with smoke detectors the alarme will fire

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    If the wick is properly trimmed, there should be no smoke. But there are a lot of variables involved. Some kinds of oil, I have found, will not work well with this cotton wick, for instance. I've not had a smoke alarm go off at home, but in a larger setting like a restaurant this could become a problem.

    I would think that the need to refill the oil would also make these impractical in a large public setting. Thanks!

    0
    mr_marte
    mr_marte

    3 years ago

    I am intrigued. This type of 'ible is the reason I am here. Thank you for sharing.

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I would like to thank all of you for your kind comments. This was my first 'ible, and I am gratified to know that it still draws interest. You have all been wonderful.

    0
    MissAnnaa1
    MissAnnaa1

    5 years ago

    I used a 100% cotton twine with canola oil and with the wire plus also a bottle of olive oil. I can't seem to keep the flame burning, it burns the cord up? I have even soaked the cord in salt water, still no luck. what am I doing wrong?

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    Reply 5 years ago

    I am not sure what you mean by "plus also a bottle of olive oil." Do you mean that you are using canola oil or olive oil as fuel? Both should work fine.
    If the wick is being consumed, it usually means that the oil is not being drawn up the wick fast enough to feed the flame. Sometimes this is because the wick is too tall. That is, the distance from the top of the oil to the top of the wick is too far for the oil to be pulled up.
    I have also had trouble when the wire coil is too tight. By compressing the wick, there is not enough space to form channels for the oil to flow through.
    This is a deceptively simple project to make. It can work right off, or it may require a lot of experimentation to get the hang of it. Lately, I am finding that the oil that I have on hand forms a strange accumulation of soot that caps the wick, stopping the flow of oil and extinguishing the flame. It may be that I need to switch brands. So you may also need to do some experimentation in order to make this work out.

    0
    LisaG2
    LisaG2

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi: I tried using a 7mm cotton wick in mason jars filled with scented oil. I cannot seem to get the wick to stay lit. I have submersed the wick in the oil, I have let it sit in the oil to absorb on its own and still, it simply burns out. What am I doing wrong. I am desperate as I am trying to make these for gifts and the clock is ticking. Thank you so much for your help.

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I have had problems keeping any kind of candle lit inside a jar or other tall container. There is often a strange 'pulsing' of the flame that precedes the flame's extinguishing, and I have decided that the problems stem from a lack of fresh air entering the container. The candle flame will exhaust the oxygen inside the container, and convection should let fresh air exchange with the spent air to support the flame, but some container geometries may prevent this from going smoothly. Instead, at some point, the flame will be reduced briefly, and the convection plume may escape the jar, to be displaced with fresh air. The new oxygen allows the flame to grow briefly, followed by reduction as the oxygen is used up. After a few such cycles, the flame will go out.\

    You may be able to experiment with lifting your candle to a higher level inside the jar with a wire carrier of some kind. There is probably some maximum depth at which the candle will burn steadily, and beneath which the candle will smother itself. Good luck.

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    This wasn't really a science experiment. I just made a convenient support for a cotton wick for an oil-burning lamp.

    0
    noranora
    noranora

    7 years ago on Step 9

    Thank you so much for this 'ible. Soon after I moved into my house the lights went off and I had no idea where candles were. I tried making something like this and it failed miserably, but it did keep me busy for about an hour until the lights came back on. Now in the future I know what to do in just such an emergency. Again, thank you.

    0
    впедак
    впедак

    7 years ago on Step 7

    Interesting does it burn with used sunflower oil? Someone tried to pour candle with it?

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 7

    As far as I know, it will work with any kind of liquid oil.

    0
    daniel  UIO
    daniel UIO

    7 years ago on Step 4

    you could use anything of similar diameter

    0
    SIRJAMES09
    SIRJAMES09

    8 years ago on Step 9

    I have a Q for anyone who wishes to answer.

    what is a better wick for oil candles & oil Lamps....cotton or fibre glass?

    0
    SIRJAMES09
    SIRJAMES09

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have a Q.

    What about natural Jute Twine?

    will that burn good for a wick?? or is that a blend of some kind?

    I do a lot of gardening & I use this stuff every season...I'm out of it right now, but am going to order a 10 pound spool soon...that's why I asked.

    0
    mg9990
    mg9990

    8 years ago on Step 9

    someone else had a great idea to put an oil burning candle inside one half of an orange peel. The candle becomes ever so slightly orange scented :)

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    8 years ago on Introduction

    With your construction and polish, I am sure it looks like a million bucks. I am glad that you took the time to write about your modifications.

    0
    DanYHKim
    DanYHKim

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I wanted to use up the tortilla-frying oil by making an oil-burning candle for decoration and light.