Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Easy Mason Jar Oil Lamps

I have been camping frequently this summer and found myself looking at oil lamps at stores to include in my camping supplies. I was really bummed to see that they typically run $8 each. I was not about to spend a large amount of money to have this item but set out to find a more economical means of accomplishing light at night AND by using citronella lamp oil keeping the bugs at bay!

During one of my clearance trips to Hobby Lobby I found stained glass spray paint marked down from $9.99 to $2.15. I had no idea what I would use it for, but I bought one of each color they had marked down. Lo and behold, 5 months later I have the perfect use for it! I already had some never-before-used Ball mason jars in my kitchen as well.

 I found some oil lamp wicks (3 for $1.29 that I cut into 6 wicks) at Meijer that I cut in half lengthwise that have lasted quite nicely for me. I estimate my cost between the jar, paint and wick to be about $0.70 per jar.

The plan of attack: put some cardboard in the grass and place the glass only portion of the mason jar open side down. Use the stained glass spray paint to cover the surface of the glass.

I waited overnight and replaced the lid and ring to the top of the jar. But simply taking a flat head screwdriver I found the center of the can "punched" the end of the screw driver into the lid to make an opening for the lamp wick to fit. If you are using a round wick (as opposed to the wide ribbon type I used) you can use a nail or something round to make your hole.

If you are traveling with your lamps wait to add the oil until you arrive to avoid spillage in your vehicle. I put the oil lamps together about an hour before use so the oil can be absorbed up the entire wick-this keeps the wick from burning too quickly plus if you use citronella it will be present immediately.

The top of your jar lid is going to get black from the flame but in tens of hours of use I have seen no problem with it. I just make sure the wick isn't pulled out too far .

No worries about the inside of the jar and oil catching on fire as long as you don't make the hole for the wick too large. All fire requires oxygen so even if the flame starts to go down it will be extinguished because there is no oxygen.

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