Lemon-filled Olive Oil Lanterns

After a recent conversation with Tim regarding our winter preparations, I started doing some research on inexpensive types of homemade candles or lamps.  Last year we had a horrible snow and ice storm dumping over a foot of snow on the roads and power lines.  Our property is at the end of the line, so any power outages means that we will be the last ones to have our power restored.  This all boils down to us needing to be more prepared for a long power outage.

While Tim works on solving the water and heating problems including installing some different insulation strategies and hand pump, I’m working on lighting and cooking.  Thankfully we have a wood-burning stove and some cast iron skillets so cooking won’t be too difficult. 🙂  The lighting was tricky because we are doing all of our updates on a tight budget.  Hense the idea of making my own candles.

Using what I already had inside the house along with some lemons given to me at church this past Sunday, I was able to spend just a few dollars on some very economical (and pretty) oil lanterns.  Yippee!

For this project you will need:

  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Lantern wicks
  • Floral wire (or paper clip)
  • Container
  • Lid (optional)
  • Fruit or herb filler

Loosely twist your wire around the wick leaving a small portion at the top in order to light on fire.

Center your wick inside your container then bend the wire over the side to anchor it into place.  You can buy special oil lantern wicks specifically to use with converting canning jars into lanterns, but this way is WAY cheaper. 🙂

Next, slice your lemons to your desired thickness and place them inside your container arranging them in a way to cover the sides without taking up the bulk of room inside the container.  You want to fill it with as much oil as possible.

After you’ve arranged your lemon slices the way you want, carefully fill the container with your oil.  Not only are the lemons pretty but they also help scent the oil so it will give off a soft lemon fragrance the longer they soak in the oil.

Let your wick soak up the oil for at least 15 minutes before you attempt to light it.

The great thing about these little lamps is that they can burn smoke-free for many, many hours.  If the oil starts to get low, just refill.  Also, you can continue to reuse the container and just add a new wick.

Stay tuned for my candle-making experiment!  I’m going to attempt to make some medicinal candles using Eucalyptus Oil and Tea Tree Oil and possibly a bug repellant peppermint candle.  We’ll see…. 🙂


15 thoughts on “Lemon-filled Olive Oil Lanterns

  1. This is just a thought, and I haven’t researched it any, but with kids, I’m sure you all have plenty of broken crayon pieces. You could probably melt them down and make layered, colored candles just to have on hand for lighting. They wouldn’t smell pretty or be good for medicinal uses, but they would probably work. If nothing else, cheap Christmas presents!

  2. Not a bad idea, Crystal! I actually found some household wax inside my baking cabinet today and realized that you can make candles out of that too. I’ve always just used it when making bon bons because you have to melt the chocolate and wax together to make a coating for them. Can’t remember how much the household wax is since I only purchase a box about every four years or so because it lasts such a long time. It’s fun to think that you can make a candle out of just about any empty container you want and add your favorite essential oil to give it a specific fragrance. Wonderful, inexpensive gift idea!

  3. Hello,
    How long does the fresh fruit last in the oil lamps? I am trying to find shelf life of this, but most people suggest dried or fake fruit. I would much rather use real fresh, but drying is an option. I’m just not sure if any of those items, fresh or dried, would rot in the oil, and if so, then would you change out the oil completely? Thanks 😉

    • It all depends on how long you keep the fruit completely covered with the oil. Any portion that is exposed to the air will start to mold like normal, so you would have to clean out the jar and start over. The oil works like a preserving agent, so it can potentially make the fruit last for 6-12 months if not longer.

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  5. May be a good idea if you poked a hole in the top of the metal lid and threaded the wick thru it. Just tie a knot in the wick to keep it from falling in.

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