DIY Oil Lamp

by Ben N on March 1, 2014

I was wandering through the thrift-store this morning, looking for materials for projects, and I was amazed at the variety of glass ware. There was everything from beer glasses to sundae cups to every variety of  vase you could think of.

I had recently seem some photos of some nice oil lamps, and figured it would be pretty easy to make my own. I bought two interesting pieces of glassware and set to work turning them into oil lamps.

Besides a bottle or narrow-topped vase, you need a cork, a drill and bit, a wick, and a short piece of aluminum tubing.

Whenever we have a bottle of wine, I toss the cork into the junk drawer. Corks are handy for a lot of things, including plugging up bottles. To start with, I took an old champagne cork and wittled it down to fit the bottle. Next, I drilled a hole through the length of the cork. I had some 5/16″ aluminum tubing kicking around (I think it was brake line) so I drilled a hole to match.

Next, I cut a short length of the tubing with my rotary tubing cutter, and inserted the tube through the cork.

After that, it’s just a matter of running a wick through the tube. You can buy wicks at the hardware store, otherwise 1/8″ 100% cotton rope will work as well.

I filled the bottle with lamp oil, pushed the cork in, made sure the wick was extending past the tube about 1/4″, and lit it. That’s about it. It’s very easy to make any bottle into a lamp.

While I was at the thrift store, I also bought a simple iron candle holder. I thought it would be easy to modify it to make a small hanging stand for the oil lamp.

I cut the end off the candle holder and then heated the iron to give it a bend. With a little basic blacksmithing, I twisted the iron to the right shape for a flat base and a vertical bar with a hook at the end. For the end of iron I wanted to give it a little more fancy look, so I gave it a “blacksmith’s twist” by heating the metal and then rotating it with an adjustable wrench.

I was able to heat the end of the metal with my “nano-forge”, and did the rest with direct heating using MAP gas.

After that, I cleaned it up with a “wire wheel” on a corded power drill.

The oil lamp hangs pretty nice on the stand. This was a fun little project, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

*As with any open flame, do not leave unattended, and keep out of reach of pets and children.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann March 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Interesting. What was the cost?

2 admin March 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

This project was about $2 in parts.

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