Need a gift fast? No time to shop? Tinker together a lovely little lamp out of things lying around the house.
Step 1: Materials
If you're lucky, you might even find everything in the same room.
First off, gather this stuff:
- Soda can
- Paper clip
- Paper towel sheet
- Cooking oil
- X-acto knife
- Needle-nosed pliers will help.
Step 2: Cut Up the Can
Make sure your can is clean. Mark and cut off the bottom inch of the can. Try and keep your cut as straight and level as possible, without bending the aluminum out of shape. There's a good method here to do so. Now would be a good time to check the inside of your can to make sure it's as clean as possible.
Be careful about the edges of the can, they're like having even more knives to think of while you work.
Draw out and cut the holes you want your light to shine through. You'll probably want to keep it simple, as precise cutting is difficult with an X-acto knife and scissors (If you know a better way please, don't hesitate to let me know!). Just make sure you have a hole large enough for you to reach inside to set up the lamp. If you're shaving off small pieces with scissors I recommend eye protection, the clippings tend to fly off quickly.
Step 3: The Lamp
Roll up a paper towel until it's about a half-centimeter thick. This will be your wick. Unbend your paper clip and wind it once around the wick, ending with the free ends at a 90 degree angle. Shave off each end of the wick so they extend about half a centimeter out from the paper clip.
Take the bottom part of the can and place it upside-down. Place the wick inside, situating it at the center, where the curve is deepest. Cut off the ends of the paper clip to fit inside the curve, or bend it to hook onto the edges.
Now might be a good time to test the lamp part. Fill it with cooking oil and wait for it to soak through the wick before lighting it. If the flame starts smoking, your wick is too long.
Step 4: No One Can Hold a Candle...
Now take that hood you made cutting up the rest of the can and jam it down onto the lamp. It would be easier if the lamp were empty. Replace the wick through the hole and fill it back up.
I had to use a little cup thing to get the oil in there, If you end up using one, you'll probably want to include that with the gift. Aim-a-flame lighters are also very helpful when lighting through the holes in the can.
Now come up with a clever pun to excuse your last-minute present as being romantic. Something about carrying a flame, or lighting up the dark, or burning emotions... Chicks dig that kind of thing. Just don't burn their house down.
Be aware that the top of the can will heat up a lot once the lamp is lit, so make sure you avoid touching it.