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Make an Easy Canning Jar Oil Lamp

2/3/2012 11:58:55 AM

Tags: canning jar oil lamps, Mary Murray

Mary Murray head shotOne of my favorite things to do when the days are short, is to light candles and oil lamps. Somehow, in our old house, they seem "just right" on these days when the dark of evening still settles in early. And while it's certainly nice to have oil lamps that have been handed down with a story all their own to tell, it can also be fun to make an oil lamp. A glass canning jar is perfect, and they couldn't be easier to do!

  small canning jar lamp 

The supplies you need are simple:

hammer and awl
glass canning jar, lid, and ring 
glass wick insert with fiberglass wick
rosehips, pine cones, cinnamon sticks, etc.
clear lamp oil (not kerosene)

You can also find oil lamp kits on-line with pre-drilled holes in the jar lid and they'll certainly save you a bit of time. However; if you can't find them, or want to make them right away, simply make a hole in the jar lid, by tapping the awl into the center of the lid. Make the hole large enough to fit the glass wick insert.

Slip the wick into the insert, and place it,wick first, into the hole in the lid. The lip on the insert will keep it from slipping through the lid. Set this aside while you fill the canning jar with an assortment of natural items...rosehips, pine cones, and cinnamon sticks are just a few ideas. I've also used dried apple slices, colorful Indian corn, and a variety of nuts.  Fill the jar to within a 1/4-inch of the top with lamp oil. You may have to adjust the length of the wick to weave it through the pine cones, rosehips, etc. and oil. The wick shouldn't be sitting on top of those items. Secure the lid and tighten down the ring. Trim the wick to 1/4-inch, trimming even more if needed to keep the flame at a low, safe height.

quart size canning jar 

Always keep an eye on lighted oil lamps making sure they're out of reach of children and pets. I'd even suggest doing what I do ... placing the lamp inside a glass hurricane. While still pretty, it keeps the flame away from little fingers, and reduces the chance of it becoming tipped over.

I hope you'll try making one ... it's a simple country pleasure for these long, wintry days.



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Post a comment below.

 

Marsha Dobbins
1/4/2013 4:03:03 PM
I love this idea. Will I need to raise the wick occasionally like I do with my old oil lamps?

MARY MURRAY
2/7/2012 3:58:22 PM
Eden, yes...you can find the glass wick insert sold with a fiberglass wick at most craft stores. Try the candle-making section. If you're still not finding them, do an on-line search for "glass wick inserts" and you'll find lots of companies to choose from. Hope you find what you need...they really are great for emergencies!

NEBRASKA DAVE
2/7/2012 12:50:50 PM
Mary, what great and simple idea. I always have a couple of canning jars laying around that can't be used because of rough sealing edges. It would be a great way to use these jars that can no longer be used for canning. The first time the jar candle lamp is used does the wick that sticks out the top need to be soaked with oil? Since the electric goes off more than in past years, I will be needing alternative lighting during the night time hours. Our electrical grid in my neighborhood is not aging gracefully and increased power outages are a given. Thanks for the tips on how to make canning jar oil lamps. Have a great oil lamp day.

Reg Klubeck
2/6/2012 6:35:24 PM
I LOVE IT!! I've been making and collecting oil lamps for years! Thanks.

Eden Balfour
2/6/2012 4:26:52 PM
Mary, do you find the wick at a hardware or craft store? I've never looked for items such as this, but it seems like a great idea with an increasingly uncertain electric grid.

MARY MURRAY
2/6/2012 12:04:50 AM
Dave, glad you like the lamps...they're really easy to make and can come in very handy! Your old jars will be perfect for this. I've never had to soak the end of the wick with oil, it seems to soak up from the bottom quickly. But then, I've never made it in a situation where I needed it right away. I'd say within a day it's ready to use, if not sooner. I keep several ready to light, especially in winter, "just in case!" Let me know how yours come out.

NEBRASKA DAVE
2/4/2012 8:57:28 PM
Mary, what great and simple idea. I always have a couple of canning jars laying around that can't be used because of rough sealing edges. It would be a great way to use these jars that can no longer be used for canning. The first time the jar candle lamp is used does the wick that sticks out the top need to be soaked with oil? Since the electric goes off more than in past years, I will be needing alternative lighting during the night time hours. Our electrical grid in my neighborhood is not aging gracefully and increased power outages are a given. Thanks for the tips on how to make canning jar oil lamps. Have a great oil lamp day.



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