DIY Easy Tin Can Oil Lamp – Tutorial

Make an eco-friendly DIY oil lamp from scratch with supplies that you already have at home! All you need is vegetable oil, cotton string, some wire and a tin can.

DIY Easy Tin Can Oil Lamp - Tutorial

It takes less than 5 minutes to turn an empty tin can into this DIY oil lamp!

Making an oil lamp from scratch with vegetable oil and DIY wicks is a fun craft for kids and for you too: So that you know how to make a DIY oil lamp in an emergency situation like a power outage!

You can use the DIY tin can oil lamp indoors and outdoors: Use them instead of candles during the holiday season and illuminate your porch, patio or balcony on warm summer evenings.

Why I Use Oil Lamps Instead Of Candles

  • Oil lamps give more light than a candle
  • Some candles emit toxins like lead, zinc etc.
  • Oil lamps are safer than a candle or regular oil lamps with lamp oil because the flash point of vegetable oil is so high that the fuel can’t ignite if the oil lamp is knocked over
  • Oil lamps also burn with a steady flame and produce less soot
  • They’re economical and cheap: Oil lamps are a great way to use up leftover cooking grease – even rancid oil doesn’t smell rancid when it’s burned in an oil lamp
  • And if you’re sensitive to smell: oil lamps don’t smell like candles or tealights, they hardly smell at all while burning. Just when you blow out the oil lamp, there’s a wonderful barbecue smell! 😀

Turn A Tin Can Into An Emergency Oil Lamp

DIY Easy Tin Can Oil Lamp – Tutorial

You’ll need:

  • empty tin can *
  • 100% cotton string
  • copper wire
  • cooking oil
  • scissor
  • round nose pliers

* You can also use a glass jar or glass candle holder instead of the tin can, but be careful: glass can break if the heat is concentrated in one area.

DIY Candle Wick

Use a thick 100% cotton string or braid together three thinner cotton strings.

Related: DIY Wicks With Cotton String – 3 Ways

Trim the candle wick after each use: just cut off the black part of the cotton string.

DIY Easy Tin Can Oil Lamp With Cooking Grease DIY Wick

DIY Oil Lamp

Wash the tin can with soap and water and dry it.

Use the round nose pliers to bend one end of the copper wire into a coil, big enough so that you can insert the wick easily, but small enough to hold the wick. Bend the other end of the wire into a large spiral.

Pour cooking oil into the tin can up to the wire coil or slightly above. Wait some minutes until the wick has soaked up the oil.

Then light your DIY tin can oil lamp and enjoy the beautiful glow! 😀

More DIY Oil Lamps

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DIY Easy Tin Can Oil Lamp

10 thoughts on “DIY Easy Tin Can Oil Lamp – Tutorial

  1. I have never even thought about trying to make something like this. I can’t actually believe how easy it is. Your step by step is great. I’d like to give this a try in the summer when we eat outside. I also feel like this is the kind of thing we all need to know in case of a zombie apocalypse !

    1. Yes, isn’t it great that one can make an oil lamp with repurposed trash: tin can, scrap piece of wire and old cooking oil? 😀

  2. I tried to save this post to Pinterest and was not able to. Do you think the problem is on my end or are your posts not set for posting on Pinterest. I really love this idea and plan on trying it.

    1. That’s a problem of my provider which I’m trying to resolve at the moment. You can save the post to Pinterest by clicking on the link >>> PIN IT FOR LATER <<< at the beginning of the post. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    1. Personally I wouldn’t add essential oil but I think the oil lamp still works if you add essential oils. But I don’t know if essential oil in an oil lamp smells as strong as you’d like.

  3. Extremely difficult to get the wick to stay upright. Shame as I have loads of unused oil from old jars of sun dried tomatoes.

    1. You can also use a shallow clay bowl or something similar, like a stone, with an indentation in the middle. And simply lay the wick in the oil, like I did here (scroll down for pictures) similar to an Indian diya oil lamp.

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