Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to make an oil lamp

This is a special entry from Lucy, a guest blogger and all around nifty person. I’m not that crafty but this looks pretty easy to do.

Enjoy.

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This year I am going to give this to my family this year as my Christmas Emergency Preparedness Gift. I am planning to give them a bottle of Olive Oil and a couple of bottles with the wick and wire already to go. I will also include some extra wick and the instructions. I have laminated the little tags to go on the lamps or on the bottle of Olive Oil. I am also going to include a lighter or matches. I am looking for something to put it in that would make a permanent storage container, so far I just have a Christmas Gift Bag. My idea is that it is something you could keep in your storage room with everything together that you could use in an emergency.

I attached the instructions to make the lamps and also the sheet with the tags to put on the lamps if you are giving them as a gift. I folded the tags and laminated them so there is writing on both sides of the tag.
I would not put any Olive Oil into the lamps until you are going to use them. The Olive Oil will go rancid in the small bottles, but will keep better sealed in the bottle you buy it in. I found the 750 ml bottles of Olive Oil at Extra Foods for $3.50, but I think they were priced wrong as the next time I went they were double that. I am giving the bottle of Olive Oil with the gift, but I hope that who ever is getting the gift will rotate the oil and always keep an extra bottle on hand. However you can burn rancid oil, so it is also a way to use Olive Oil that has gone rancid.
A quart size bottle doesn't get as hot when you have the lamp lighted, but it takes more Olive Oil. The smaller pint bottle gets too hot to hold onto when you have it burning for several hours, but doesn't take much Olive Oil. I would always place the bottle on a plate or shallow dish for safety. You can also use the bottles that have a handle, but they are expensive to buy new and this is suppose to be a frugal project. You could give the gift with just an empty bottle, the wick holder and the wick with a tag on the bottle and have the people use Olive Oil that they already have. I tried Canola Oil in one of the bottles, but it smelled like I was deep frying in my house. It did work and you could use it for an emergency. I also bought some glass containers from a dollar store that I used and might use for Christmas, but I am worried that they are not tempered glass (Like a canning jar is) and that they might break when heated and used repeatedly. Another thing I tried was glass cups that come with a Punch Bowel. I bought them for .25 at the second hand store. They work well and don't take much Olive Oil because they are small. I would still keep it on a plate or small bowel for safety. I prefer being able to put a lid on the glass canning jar when it is not lit so that the oil can't spill.
When experimenting two tablespoons of Olive Oil burned for five hours, and I didn't have to adjust the wick. However the next time you go to light it you need to adjust the wick. I cut up an old white 100% cotton t-shirt for the wick. For this experiment I use a glass punch cup, so two tablespoons of oil was all I needed as the bottom is small and narrow.
After seeing how to do this I hope that if you are ever caught in an emergency (and not in your own home) you would be able to put one of these lamps together with what you could find in most homes. You could even use a paper clip as wire to hold the wick, and I experimented and a heavy paper towel also worked for the wick. You could burn any oil you had on hand, however it might smell, Olive Oil is the preferred Oil to burn.
Making these lamps also reminds me of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1–13). May you always be found with oil in your lamps, prepared for whatever lies ahead.

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Let me know what you think about the guest blogger idea or if you have something you think would add to The Simple Farm. I like having more posting contributors. It saves everyone from having to trudge through my silly meanderings all the time.

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