A power outage can happen whether you are hooked up to the grid, run your own off-grid electrical setup, or both. This is why it is important to have a tin oil lamp ready to go in times of need.
Since electrical outages always happen at the worst possible time, imagine yourself trying to make a tin oil lamp in the pitch black of night. This is going to be a challenge at best.
Since making an oil lamp is relatively straightforward and quick, get a few ready to go so they are available when needed.
Making A DIY Tin Oil Lamp
Making a tin oil lamp is easy if you have an old, empty metal paint or lacquer can laying around ready to be repurposed.
In combination with a cloth wick that can be created out of an old rag, t-shirt, or cotton string, the construction of a DIY tin oil lamp is quick and free.After inserting the wick into the cover of the tin can, add some vegetable oil, preferably old, used oil, as it likely won’t be used for anything else and doesn’t cost anything.
You can also use kerosene, high-proof alcohol, or diesel fuel with this type of tin oil lamp set up, however, vegetable oil is the safest and doesn’t produce much smoke.
After adding the fuel, wait for the wick to be fully saturated in the flammable material, and light the wick like a candle.
Step 1 – Modify The Cover Of The Tin Can
Take a hammer and nail to puncture a hole in the top center of the tin can cover. Now, modify this hole if needed so it is just big enough to fit the cotton wick.
If you don’t have a cover for your tin can, you can secure a cotton wick with a metal wire at the bottom of the can so that the top of the wick remains exposed above the oil.
The overall setup is easier with a cover, as it secures the wick in place and reduces the number of materials required to create the lamp.
Step 2 – Insert A Cotton Wick Into The Top Of The Tin Can
Use a cotton string or cut an old cotton rag so a thin strip of fabric can be used as a wick.
Any type of cotton or wick-like material will do here. Even a large cotton ball can be stretched out so it extends beyond the top cover and reaches the bottom of the tin can.
Related: DIY Candle Lantern From A Soda Can
In any case, the flammable material will saturate the makeshift cotton wick so a steady stream of fuel is continuously available to maintain the fire.
Just make sure that the cotton wick is long enough to reach the bottom of the container so it can access all the fuel available.
Take the cotton wick and insert it into the hole in the top of the tin can. Make sure the wick fits snugly in place while leaving about an inch of wick at the top with the rest hanging down into the bottom of the can.
Step 3 – Add Oil Or Another Fuel To The Tin Can
At this point, add a flammable oil like vegetable oil or fuel to the tin can and allow the cotton wick to become saturated in this fluid.
Now, snap on the cover of the tin can and ensure that the exposed wick is saturated with flammable liquid. This may take a couple of minutes for complete saturation.
If you are impatient like me, flip the lamp around a few times while securing the cover so the wick is saturated immediately.
Step 4 – Light The Wick
The wick on the tin oil lamp should quickly light up and maintain the flame.
At this point, the lamp can be used for hours, as the flammable material burns efficiently and casts a flame that is strong enough to light up a room.
Refilling The Tin Oil Lamp With Fuel
When refilling the tin oil lamp with fuel, blow out the flame or suffocate the flame to extinguish it.
Then, open up the cover of the tin can and add more fuel. Snap the cover on and re-light the wick for hours of continuous light.
Cooking With A Tin Oil Lamp
If you depend on electrical power for your cooking needs, a power outage will render electrical appliances worthless. In the case of a power outage, the tin oil lamp can be used for cooking.
While it will take a long time to heat water or cook with such a small flame, it does offer the possibility of cooking, if no other heat source is available.
Glass Mason Jar Oil Lamp
A tin or metal container with a tight-fitting lid is the best option for an oil lamp because it won’t shatter and cause a large fire if it falls on the floor.
However, in a pinch, when a metal can is not available, a Mason jar can function similarly. Simply poke a hole in the cover of the Mason jar, add the cotton wick, fill it with fuel, screw on the top, and light the wick.
The advantage of a glass oil lamp is that it’s easy to see how much fuel is left. The huge disadvantage of a glass oil lamp is that it can shatter if dropped and cause a Molotov cocktail-like fire. In short, use a metal can if at all possible.
DIY Tin Oil Lamp In Case Of A Power Outage
A lit tin oil lamp has a nice glow to it that is relaxing and superior to electrical lighting in my opinion.
I use a tin oil lamp to light up my house at night even though I have LED lights that are connected to a solar electrical system.
After creating your tin oil lamps, make them easily accessible so they can be quickly located and lit in the event of a power outage.
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