Oilve Oil Lamp

Let’s say, theoretically, you were in a location where a hurricane was bearing down on you.  You might end up without power and need light.  You’d probably use a flashlight.  But what if you weren’t a fan of modern technology and were still using a flashlight with an incandescent bulb.  (You’re not…right?  Cause LED flashlights are awesome.)  With your prehistoric flashlight you’re out of usable light after an hour and 4 battery changes.  What now?  Time to set stuff on fire in the kitchen.  No no no, not the coffee creamer.  Try the oils.  Olive oil specifically.

What you’ll need are a few simple items:

  • metal wire (a coat hanger perhaps)
  • a glass jar
  • a cotton strip (old sock will work)
  • olive oil

The metal wire functions as a wick holder.  A pair of needle nose pliers can be used as a form to wrap the wire around.  Keeping with the kitchen theme, I suppose you could use a fork tine if you don’t have needle nose pliers.



Bend your wire so that it positions the top of the wick a about a 1/2″-3/4″ above the surface of the oil.



For the wick you want a piece of 100% cotton.  I imagine synthetic fabrics might melt and not smell good while burning.


Put the holder with wick back in the jar and pour in some olive oil until it is about 1/2″ from the wick.   You want to keep the end of the wick close to the oil because it climbs the wick slowly and is unable to climb up a tall wick.


After some time has passed the oil will climb up into the wick and you can light your lamp.  If you compare the pic above and below you’ll see the top of the wick has gone from dry to wet.


Your lamp is all ready to go.  Now you can light it.


You can get more creative on your wick holders if you desire.  The one armed one is prone to moving side to side easily.


A chimney over the lamp will help stabilize the flame and reduce flickering.  This spare shade for a ceiling fan does the trick nicely.


Olive oil has a high flash point.  So, if your wick falls out of the holder and into the oil it will extinguish the flame.  Still, it’s fire and should be respected.  Don’t burn your house down or leave the lamp burning when you’re not watching it.  The glass may get hot as well.  So, be careful.

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One Response to Oilve Oil Lamp

  1. Very handy, Andy. I have to keep that in mind.

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