Thursday, March 2, 2017

DIY Olive Oil Lamp

Olive oil lamps burn very small quantities of oil. They are the essence of economical lighting and more affordable than most candles. I love to add a few drops of essential oils like tea tree or lavender to the oil; it smells divine.

I made this DIY olive oil lamp with a half pint mason jar. Be creative with lamp vessels - fabricating an olive oil lamp using a sea shell can be fun! There are many appropriate glass, metal or stone containers for creating olive oil candles. Plastic and wood are not recommended for use as lamp vessels. If you burn your lamp in an open bowl, dip your fingers into the warm oil to use as massage oil.

You will need:
  1. Cotton oil candle wicks (or some 100% cotton something)
  2. A vessel for oil (like a half pint glass jar)
  3. Wire
  4. Pliers
  5. Olive oil (not pictured)


Step one create the wick holder. To assemble your own olive oil lamp create an apparatus out of the wire for holding the wick. I made a freestanding spiral that holds the wick lightly-pinched though the hole at the top. Careful not to squeeze the wick too tightly because it must stay saturated with oil for efficient burning. You can design a metal hook that hangs from the side of your jar into the olive oil. The side hook method makes the wick easy to lift out and light.


Or if you’re talented with wire art here’s a lasting design perfect for a small jar:

homemade olive oil lamp burner

Step two: adjust wick to burner.
Adjust the wick so about 1/4” sticks above the wire burner.

Step three: add olive oil
Place your wire wick assembly into your container. Add olive oil just above the top of the wire. Squeeze the tip of the wick slightly to remove extra oil and light it with a match or lighter. It is often easiest to light when the coil is lifted and tilted slightly. The key to burning olive oil is to keep the wick saturated with oil at all times.


About Oil Candle Wicks: I bought a roll of inexpensive industrial cotton string to make my thin small oil candle wick; which produced a small amount of light suitable for reading. I’m new at making my own oil lamps, but with 300 feet of cotton wick I can experiment worry free. No worries if a wick gets ruined in bad oil. If you want more light use a bigger wick. This rope oil candle wick is twice as big and super sturdy.

Read more about burning olive oil in a lamp here.


  1. Thanks for the article. Very helpful!

  2. Using a floating wick would make the candle last longer as the oil would not be allowed to draw way from the fire

    1. Do you have a link with a photo of what a floating wick would look like?

    2. I found inexpensive floating wicks and short self-standing wicks on Amazon. I ordered some and will try them out with the olive oil.
      ●Self-standing 1.5" wicks, 50 for $6
      ●Self-standing 2.5" wicks, 50 for $8
      ●Floating wicks, 30 for $6

  3. So, Olive Oil is flammable? If you were to toss a match into a small dish of Olive Oil there would be a small flame? Is there a best type of Olive Oil to use vs. another? EG: Extra Virgin vs. regular Olive Oil?

  4. No. That is what is so wonderful about the olive oil. It is only a degree away from being non-flammable, from my experience. Even the cotton wick you put in it and soak in the olive oil before lighting takes a bit of patience to get it lit. And one reason these are so safe to burn inside the home (besides the lack of toxic fumes) is because if it were to get knocked over for instance, it will put out the flame. Olive oil lamps are NOT super bright and you would need several (or more) to read by their light, but the SAFETY from starting fires and the lack of toxic outgassing that has me sold...!

  5. Most say that the light olive oil (low grade because it is not the first pressing) burns best, but the extra virgin works fine as well (and has more of a smell). Just stay away from the kind that has been processed with chemicals. It has a name I cannot quite remember, but tricky because it is a word that starts with "lamp" -- something like "lampand," but I don't think that's quite right. Just be sure that when you are not using the lamp and may not use it again soon to fill the lamp with enough olive oil to tip the wick so that the entire wick is immersed in the olive oil and then seal with an airtight lid. Otherwise the oil will get thick and sticky over time.



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