I am a creative kinda gal and when I saw this idea I was intrigued. It's a homemade oil lamp made up of mostly things you might already have laying around the house and it's a simple 5 minute project.
I am concerned with the indoor air quality of our home and because I suffer from allergies to chemicals I was really excited to try this and see if I had a reaction. There's no scent (according to my kids) and it doesn't bother me at all! A perfect alternative to cheap tealights and much cheaper than purchased beeswax candles.
The idea came from an oil lamp kit I bought recently at Lehmans. (www.lehmans.com) The kit contained the wicks and a metal holder. The total height is about 3.5 inches. The circle on the bottom is important because it keeps the wick centered in whatever container you choose.
1. a heat proof container...a small tealight holder, a recycled glass jar or a pottery container would be perfect.
2. a wick - which is just cotton thread and if you don't have an offical wick around the house you could experiment with twisted cotton yarn or a rounded (as opposed to flat) cotton shoelace - the only downside is they may burn down quicker than a "real" wick.
3. the wire device as seen in the picture above or a large paperclip or a roll of wire if you're creative with the pliers.
4. some olive oil - expired oil works just fine and it's a good way to use it up. Other oils will work as well but some will produce more smoke than others. Do NOT use kerosene in this lamp!
Thread the wick through the center of the wick holder and leave about a quarter inch showing. It should be snug enough to hold the wick with out it falling out but loose enough so you can pull the wick through it to adjust the length of the wick.
Make sure the wick will burn in the center of the container. The handle part is essential in re-lighting the lamp. It's important that the wick stands straight up - if it's crooked it doesn't burn as brightly or as long.
Add oil until it's about a 1/2 inch below the wick. Let is sit for a few minutes to soak up the oil and light with a BBQ lighter - matches will burn your fingers :)
This little lamp is about 2.5 inches high. It started out with about 1 1/4 inches of oil. It's already been burning for 5 hours and not even half the oil is used up. I am guessing it would run at least another 4 or 5 hours before it runs out of fuel.
As with any open flame use caution and common sense as to where you place your oil lamp and never leave an open flame unattended. For a layer of added protection place the jar inside a glass bowl or a crystal candy type dish.
Emergency lighting and so cute to boot!