Make an Easy Canning Jar Oil Lamp

| 2/3/2012 11:58:55 AM

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.

4/12/2016 8:19:14 AM

I am having the same problem as cj in the first comment. I love how these look but like cj the oil seems to be leaking out of the wick onto the top of the jar and down the sides just making a mess everywhere. I can clean the top of the lid off and the next day there is oil on it again. I'd love to give these as gifts but I can't keep the mess away. Any ideas?

12/17/2014 6:01:12 PM

I tried making these and love the way they look. I have had one problem, oil seems to be leaking out of the wick onto the top of the jar and down the sides. Any idea why this might be happening? I'm sure if my wick is too long, or maybe there is too much oil in the jar. My husband thinks maybe if we drilled a small secondary hole in the lid it would release any build up of pressure that may be causing the problem. Any thoughts?

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?

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