Pocket Sized Lantern




Here in Pakistan we suffer from frequent power outages that last hours. Since I'm a university student, I needed a portable source of light but I found that candles weren't bright enough. I came up with a simple mini lantern that takes less than 5 minutes to make but lasts for hours. I hope you guys enjoy it, and if you do, don't forget to rate it & vote for it in the Pocket Sized Contest.

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: Things You'll Need:

1. Jar: Here I used a small jar of jam from some airline. The only real requirement is that the jar have a metal lid. Ideally use only those jars with no paint on the lid if you want to avoid unpleasant fumes.

2. Wick: I happened to have a wick from an old lantern that was lying around, but you could just as easily use a shoelace (plastic ends cut off) or any rolled up piece of cloth. *TIP* You'll want to use 100% cotton shoelaces, not synthetic. Synthetic will melt instead of burn and could lead to serious injuries. Thanks to user "Sedition"

3. Knife: I used my Leatherman c305 to cut a hole in the lid of the jar.

4. Lamp Oil: This will be used as fuel in the mini lantern. You can use other fuels such as Kerosene but they produce a lot of soot that will quickly build up.

5. Matches: To light the lamp when finished.

Step 2: Pierce the Lid:

With your knife, pierce a hole in your jar lid. Make it different sizes or shapes according to the kind of wick you're using. Use a gentle back and forth wiggling motion rather than straight pressure in order to avoid injury.

Step 3: Wick:

In order to get your wick through the hole, carefully use your knife to push the wick in as seen in the following picture.

The longer the wick above the lid, the higher the flame will be. I recommend you leave the wick no longer than 1/2 inch.

Step 4: Finishing Up:

Slowly pour in your Lamp Oil, Kerosene, Vegetable Oil, whatever, making sure not to spill any. Screw on the lid with the wick in it. The wick should be long enough to where it's resting on the bottom of the jar, but no so long that it curls up.

Make sure you don't overfill the jar. I usually don't fill more than about halfway and it lasts plenty of time.

Step 5: Final Product:

All that's left now is to light it up. You'll notice I took it off of the wooden board I built it on for this part ;).

And that's pretty much it. A full jar of lamp oil is usually more than enough to get me through the time the power is out. This simple little lantern has helped me out quite a bit when I've needed it. It takes next to no time to make and doesn't require much to make. When it comes time to transport it, I just replace the lid with one that has no hole in it, this way it won't leak in my pocket. Hope everyone has enjoyed my first Instructable, and don't forget to vote if you liked it. Thanks.

Pocket-Sized Contest

Finalist in the
Pocket-Sized Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest

    262 Discussions


    3 years ago

    cool intractable...but how do you put it in your pocket and all your fuel seeps out into your pocket?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    "When it comes time to transport it, I just replace the lid with one that has no hole in it, this way it won't leak in my pocket."

    He explains in the last step.



    3 years ago

    Good idea! Could work as a hand warmer too


    3 years ago

    cool instructable man


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I like this instructable, I will file it away for future use.oh and good job.


    5 years ago

    Sorry pressed wrong bit now can not get off . Think this is great


    6 years ago

    i bet a baby food jar would work well


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Making camp coffe on my wood gasifier slash wood stove inside my bathroom! http://purnellmarks.eu.pn/Gasifier.htm


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I guess you could, but it wouldn't burn in the same way and will probably burn out faster. Oil will give more light :) Be carefull if you're using alcohol though

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    i tried making this with a piece of a sock and some vegetable oil, it diidn't burn at all, any advice?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think most vegetable oils burn well in a lamp. They're often too heavy for a wick.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Dryer lint can be used for the wick. Roll it tightly between your palms.

    Set up similar last night, when the power went out. Had to come up with a light source to calm the natives (8 girls having a sleep-over). Worked like a charm, after throwing in a few ghost stories.
    Enough light to get around. used canning jars for mine.


    8 years ago on Step 5

    take the bottom off a soda can cut it to fit just around the top of the jar and use silicon to glue the bowl shaped part on the top of the jar, then insert wick and add another hole for refuleing. use original jar lid as, well, the lid


    8 years ago on Step 5

    really liked it reminded me of when I lived in the countryside, did it with diesel