Tangerine (Satsuma, Clementine) Candle




Turn a small citrus into a candle/votive using:

Paring Knife
Olive Oil (or most other cooking oils)

When lit, the candle puts off a nice citrus scent and a soft orange light.

Credit where credit is due. Idea from here

Just remember, don't leave these unattended! Fire burns stuff.

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Step 1: Cut the Tangerine

Cut through the skin of the tangerine around the circumference. You only need to cut through the skin at this point. Leaving the segments of the tangerine intact helps you enjoy eating them later.

Step 2: Peel the Tangerine

CAREFULLY peel the skin off of the top of the tangerine first. The top is the half with the stem.

Pay extra attention when you get to peeling the part below the stem where skin connects to the fruit. There is a piece of white "stuff" extending from the skin into the center of the fruit. You want to preserve most of this piece. It will be used as the wick for the candle. If you peel it, and don't get a good wick, go ahead and eat the rest of it and try again.

Now peel the bottom half of the tangerine. The bottom half is the one without the stem. Make sure you leave the skin completely intact, so you end up with a nice half sphere.

Step 3: Eat the Segments!

No explanation needed. Enjoy!

Step 4: Cut a Hole in the Non-stem Half of the Tangerine

Here you want to cut a hole in the middle of the half of the tangerine without the stem. This hole allows the heat and the flame to escape.

I chose to cut a star pattern in mine.

Step 5: Add the Fuel

Take the olive oil and pour a small amount in the half of the tangerine with the wick. You only need to fill the bottom with 1/8" - 1/4" (about 5mm) olive oil.

If your wick is short, you'll only want to fill the oil up to about 1/8" - 1/4" (about 5mm) below the wick.

If your wick is too long (like mine) you'll want to cut the wick so it is about 1/8" - 1/4" (about 5mm) above the oil.

Step 6: Light Your Candle!

Take a lighter (or matches) and hold it to the wick. Because the wick is still slightly damp, you'll need to hold the flame on it for a few seconds to dry it out and let it soak up the oil.

Once the wick stays lit by itself, place the other half on top and enjoy.

If you are having trouble with the wick (e.g. too short, burning too fast, etc.) you can combine this instructable with the following one: Make an oil burning candle. You can use the wick and the oil to make a very re-used candle.

The bottom half of the candle will last a long time because the oil soaks into the skin and preserves it. If you add a wick, you can prolong the life of the candle for quite a long time.

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    41 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is a really cool idea but how do you get the wick in? What do you use for a wick?

    I am using an orange, medium size and canola oil and I cannot get this lit. I've been trying to for about 10 min and nothing is happening. Would someone mind explaining or suggestions on how to light this? I love this idea as I have 4 kids who adore oranges!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    My 'wick' isn't lighting? Any solutions? Great instructable!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I made these as a kind of a Christmas experience gift, and they were a huge hit. I was using the kind of tangerines that have knobby ends where the pith wick is, so I filled a shoebox lid with sand and stood them all up in a row. Really quite lovely. This has been my favourite Instructable ever.

    my only problem is that the wick burns to fast (or instantly) so iv been combining this instructable with the one by DanYHKim (make an oil burning candle) there should be a link under related at bottom of this page

    3 replies

    I haven't had a problem with the wick burning too fast before. You might try to rub the wick with oil before lighting it. Not quite sure. I did update the steps to include a link to this other instructable. With the addition of the wick, it would really prolong the life of this candle. Thanks.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Right, the wick shouldn't actually be burning; it's called a wick because it wicks up the fuel (in this case, the vegetable oil) and burns *that*.

    yeah it took about 3 hours before it burned up all the oil and put its self out. the wick hardly burned at all just keep filling it and it wont die.

    You have to watch them as much as you'd watch any other burning item in your household - candles, fires in fireplaces, etc. They don't just burn up the available oil (it doesn't have to be olive) and then combust, just like a candle that burns down to the bottom doesn't proceed to the next step of burning your house down. It requires merely an average level of situational awareness.

    You do have to watch it, but as long as the hole in the top is big enough, you should be able to keep it from catching fire. The bottom half shouldn't catch on fire though. It should run out of fuel and heat before that happens. That being said, there's a first for everything. One of my favorite tricks is to float these in a big bowl of water. Extra protection against burning something and it is a very cool effect.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Love love LOVE!

    I just tried this out with a clementine last night, and the ROI for this puppy is amazing. So easy to do, and then you a)get a yummy tangerine treat and b)have a beautiful glowing oil lamp that lasts the whole evening and which smells nice to boot!

    It'd be a great bar trick, for all those bars where they serve tangerines next to the peanuts.

    Thank you so much for sharing - this totally made my day.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love this idea. I made one this morning, and it was quick and easy. Thanks for sharing. :)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Might look pretty sharp with a jack-o-lantern face carved in the top too. Just have to make sure it has proper ventilation.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Thats awesome :)
    havent tried it yet but i will as soon as i get some clementines☺


    9 years ago on Introduction

     This looks great but you must throw them away before the peel dries. On our farm we save dried orange peel especially to use for firelighters because they catch so easily. Kind of reminds me of pumpkins at hallowe'en

    I've heard that cooking olive oil and heating it up to a too high temperature creates something bad for you... Much less literally burning it! Are you completely certain this is safe for users? But anyways, I liked your instructable.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't heard of any ill effects of burning olive oil.  It is (and has been for  quite a long while) commonly used in oil burning lamps, especially in the Mediterranean.  From quickly researching it for your question, I wasn't able to find any sources referencing any possible safety issues related to burning olive oil.  Although unscientific, I'll continue to do it and let everyone know if I begin to have any associated issues :)