DIY Patio Oil Lamps
According to historical records, January is the coldest month of the year in Waynesville. From December 31 to January 22, the average daily temperature is 34 degrees. Then, every 5 to 7 days, the average temperature begins to inch up by 1 degree.
As the daily temperature begins to slowly creep back up, you start to see racks of Burpee seed envelopes and starter-trays at the garden stores. It's no wonder, then, that our thoughts might begin to wander to warmer days, when we can escape to the outdoors after a long winter.
One of our favorite warm-weather activities is relaxing on the deck or covered porch in the evenings. And what better way to enjoy the falling darkness than with gentle lighting from candles or oil lamps.
I recently found some beautiful homemade oil lamps on the internet, and thought February might be the ideal time to begin collecting material and making some of these for the warmer days ahead. Here's how I did it.
I began by looking for some interesting bottles and/or jars. Almost any glass or plastic jar will work as long as it has a metal lid. I found a pint size canning jar that was tinted blue, and also an interesting olive oil jar.
Wicks for oil lamps are available at the local Wal-Mart, in the candle section next to the lamp oil. These wicks are wide enough that I cut one in half lengthwise to make two wicks. An alternative is to make your own wick out of 100% cotton fabric, such as an old tee-shirt or heavy cotton twine.
Next, I drilled a hole in the metal lid of both containers. I sized the hole so it would tightly hold the wick in place. Drilling from the inside to the outside of the lid seemed to hold the wick more securely and prevent it from accidentally dropping down into the container. You could also just use a nail to punch a hole in the lid, depending on the size of the wick.
I used a very small screwdriver to push the end of the wick through the hole in the lid, from the bottom. You can adjust the size of the flame by pulling more wick through the top of the lid, but the lamp will smoke if you have the wick out too far.
Finally, I added some lamp oil to the container and let it sit for about 20 minutes so the wick could absorb the oil. Even olive oil can be used in the lamp in an emergency such as a power outage. Later in the summer, I may try some citronella oil to keep the bugs away.
For more ideas, just google "homemade oil lamps".