How To Make An Oil Lamp Out Of An Orange (With Step-By-Step Images)


Have you ever made an oil lamp out of citrus peels?

  • Yes, they're great
  • No, not yet
See results without voting

I love finding new, natural ways to do things. When I heard about this idea I just had to try it for myself.

Men, this is an inexpensive and romantic idea for Valentine's Day. The oranges glow a deep, warm orange, burn for up to 24 hours (you can refill them for a few days), and add a personal touch, since you will be making them yourself. Try it out for her (or him) and let me know what they thought!

Unfortunately I ruined this for myself by making my own, but they're quite romantic and give a great ambiance whether it's from a valentine or from yourself! Let your creativity shine through and come up with alternative ideas of your own.

Before You Begin:

  • It took me about 10-15 minutes, but take your time.
  • Each orange yields two oil lamps / orange candles.
  • Do Not Rinse the inside of the orange with water. Oil and water don't mix, especially with a flame involved. The oil will spit and spatter and cause a potential fire hazard.
  • Be smart and teach your kids about fire safety, and what to do in case of a fire. Have a "safe" meeting place in case there's ever an emergency. Make sure your kids know where the fire extinguishers are, and how to dial 9-1-1 (or its equivalent.)

Video Of My Orange Peel Oil Lamps

What You'll Need

Anything in the citrus family
Anything in the citrus family | Source
What You'll Need
An orange, clementine, lemon, lime, or anything in the citrus family
Use the rind to make the oil lamp
A sharp, serrated knife. Other knives will work, but will be more difficult
Cutting the citrus in half
A normal soup or tea spoon
To scrape the pulp and fruit debris out of the orange or citrus
Cutting board or something to cut on that you don't mind juice getting onto
To protect your countertops
Vegetable oil of any kind (olive, canola, peanut, safflower, etc.)
You'll need perhaps 1/2 cup per orange (two oil lamps)
A lighter. If you have one, use a long-stemmed candle (or grill) lighter
To light the oil lamps

Step 1: Mark A Line

Mark a line around the circumference of the orange/citrus
Mark a line around the circumference of the orange/citrus | Source

You'll be making two lamps from one orange. I got a little bit artistic and decided to have one short lamp and one taller one. You can make both the same height if you want, but try to draw a line around the middle that you'll be happy with.

You can really get creative here and make interesting designs. Just be sure you'll be able to see the line, cut it out, and separate the two halves of the orange (or other citrus.)

Variations include wavy lines, jagged lines, or a mixture. Have fun with this!

Step 2: Separate The Two Halves

Cut the orange (citrus) in half
Cut the orange (citrus) in half | Source

You might have your own methods, but I just cut straight through the entire orange. Follow the lines you made and take your time!

If you used a line variation from above, remember to only pierce into the middle of the citrus or your design might end up a mess! Be patient and methodical.

Step 3: Hollow Out The Middle

Scrape and remove the contents
Scrape and remove the contents | Source

Be very careful NOT to remove the stem-like growth in the middle of each rind. This will be the wick, and the lamps will not work without them.

My technique was to use the knife to cut around the outer edge, then I cut each segment out (because I wanted to eat them.)

If you don't want to eat the pieces, you can definitely use your fingers to pull the bulk of the fruit out. Consider throwing it outside for the birds and animals.

Step 4: Remove All The Pulp

Remove all the pulp and fruit particles
Remove all the pulp and fruit particles | Source

Make sure to scrape out and remove all the pulpy material and fruit, leaving a smooth, clean surface. This will ensure there's no water added to the oil (no sputtering), and also that your orange will last for days (mine dried and never rotted.) Again, make sure to leave the wicks intact!

If you have a microwave, nuke the citrus for 30 seconds or so to try to dry out the wick a little bit. Alternatively, use a blow dryer, paper towel, oven, or etc. You don't want to cook the orange; you just want to make it easier to light the wick.

Step 5: Add The Vegetable Oil

Carefully fill each rind with oil
Carefully fill each rind with oil | Source

Slowly fill each rind up to about 1/4" to 1/2" (0.6-1.3 cm) from the top of each wick. In other words, make sure a small portion of the wick is above the oil. This will be what you light in the next step.

Don't make it too long or the flame will be super tall and out of control. Don't make it too short or it'll get swamped by the oil and go out.

Alternatively, you can purchase and use a citrus-scented oil such as this one. If anyone knows how to make citrus-scented lamp oil, let us know.

Step 6: Light The Wicks

Be patient; it can take a few tries
Be patient; it can take a few tries | Source

Are you going to make your own?

  • Yes, they're awesome
  • No, but they look neat
See results without voting

Be patient. It definitely took me multiple attempts to light the wicks, especially if they're not fully dry yet.

But keep at it and you'll get a small flame at first (pictured) which, if nurtured with bursts from your lighter, will come into its own.

You'll soon have a pair of amazingly beautiful oil lamps!

PS: After burning them for multiple hours, the orange peels dry and keep their shape indefinitely. As long as there's oil, they'll burn for days or weeks. I see no limit in survival situations (other than oil), and as for day-to-day use, they're easy to make, but using a dried one works well, too.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Mad Skillz

Click thumbnail to view full-size

© 2012 Faceless39

Comments 84 comments

J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

This is so awesome! I have never seen this but I think I might try it! I like how you use the natural wick and the natural oil. This is 100% organic! Very cool photos too. This is worth voting up, interesting, awesome and useful! I will be SHARING!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Very interesting indeed! Does it give out any kind of an orange scent? I would probably want to put the orange into some kind of a dish that would keep it stabilized. Voted interesting and useful.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country

What a fun idea! I'll bet it smells wonderful. I've got some almond oil that might be nice to try.

cebutouristspot profile image

cebutouristspot 4 years ago from Cebu

Wow interesting idea. I bet the scent from the orange will make this candle a good addition to any romantic dinner :) Thanks for sharing

Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

I love this idea, simple yet elegant. I will definitely try this! I am going to "pin" this on Pinterest. Thank for sharing.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

You may get the award of the year for this--I would vote for this project. Well-done, love the make an oil lamp out of an orange craft, and I'm planning to try it very soon. Thanks for posting.

SilverGenes 4 years ago

Amazing! I'm definitely trying this - they look beautiful too with the light shining through the peel.

iiimusicfreak27 profile image

iiimusicfreak27 4 years ago

This is such a neat idea!! Definitely trying it out -- Up, and all others:)

My Minds Eye53 profile image

My Minds Eye53 4 years ago from Tennessee

Does it have an orange smell too? I am going to try this also and pin/share it.

Going to get the kids involved.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Wow, this is fantastic. I've never seen anything like it and so ecological as well. Voting this Up and Awesome.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

These are beautiful oil lamps, and I'll bet they even give off an orange scent when they burn. Best of all, you can eat your orange and have your lamp, too! Great idea with beautiful photographs!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

This is a great message about sustainability and using natural items to full advantage, without petroleum produts. Useful during emergencies when the lights go out as well.

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA Author

Thank you all so much for your fantastic comments, and thanks so much for pinning! Unfortunately mine didn't smell like oranges, I thought it would too. As for stabilization, mine were very stable (I used an organic orange), and I had no need to put them on a dish. Using almond oil (or other scented oils) sounds like a great idea. Let me know if you guys come up with any other tips! Enjoy!

My Minds Eye53 profile image

My Minds Eye53 4 years ago from Tennessee

How long do these burn?

richbrayan profile image

richbrayan 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

WOW ok i think im just gonna repeat what pretty much everyone on here has said. This is such a great thing to do especially during these hard economic times, every little helps. I have never seen anything like this and will surely give it a good go :)

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

These oranges are so beautiful. I would have never thought to do this before reading this hub. Thanks for sharing!

Silver Fish profile image

Silverfish 4 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

Nice hub, fantastic photos.

Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

Wow! I love this. Can't make my own, though. My husband says I can't be trusted w. fire. LOL He's probably right...I almost burned the house down with a kitchen fire. (That'll be a hub someday.)

But my blog readers would love this. I've started "Tips Tuesday" on my Ducks n a Row blog's Facebook fanpage and I will share your hub with a link. They'll love it. Voted up and beautiful and STUMBLED it too.

DIYweddingplanner profile image

DIYweddingplanner 4 years ago from South Carolina, USA

I love these! I used a special apple tool and made votive candle holders from apples for the last wedding I did, but this is even cooler. Gonna have to try this!

Shuting 4 years ago

I am going to try it though I am not celebrating Valentine's with my boyfriend far away! Thank you!

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

This is such a cool idea... love using things around the house to brighten things up a little. Useful hub.

Goyakla profile image

Goyakla 4 years ago from United Kingdom

What a brilliant idea so creative and so clever. Thank you so much for this. We will definitely be making these.

imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 4 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

I'm going to give this a whirl, but I'm going to try to find a citrus scented oiil. I Love this idea!!!

eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada

spectacular - this is an amazing hub - thanks for sharing!

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA Author

PS: I'm not sure how long they burn; it really depends more on how much oil there is than anything else. Mine burned for 10 hours, at which point it was time for bed. They'll burn until the oil runs out, then they'll go out.

In other news, I've found some citrus-scented lamp oil online. Check around, there might be something more cost-effective out there. Let us know!

eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada

can you use "old oil"? ie oil that was used for cooking french fries, that would normally be thrown out? It could be a great way to use oil instead of throwing it away ...

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA Author

Yes! You could definitely recycle your veggie oils after cooking. Just be aware that the burning oil will smell like whatever you've cooked in it! Thanks for the great idea, Eye Say!

borneo profile image

borneo 4 years ago from Austria

Hi! They look really awesome! I found this hub just in time :-) at the end of this years Chinese New Year! Sadly, we don't have much oranges left :-(

CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 4 years ago from Oregon

Very cool idea with the orange oil light. I look forward to trying to make these and surprise the wife with something cool, just hope to not burn the house down in the process.

The Finance Hub profile image

The Finance Hub 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Wow beautiful way to decorate from nature! I love it. Voted up, interesting and useful! Hope you enjoy my hubs as well!

eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada

too good not to share ... I just have to

missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

I tried this works! Thank you for sharing. :)

Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 4 years ago from Oakland, CA

What a beautiful and fun project! It's also natural aromatherapy!

Londonlady profile image

Londonlady 4 years ago

I am definitely going to try this out...although having the citrus scented oils would be an even nicer addition. Great hub, voted up :)

Robin 4 years ago

I wonder if you could safely float several of these candles in a wide shallow bowl filled with just enough water to keep them upright or would they tip over and go out or would they soak up the water from the bowl. Something to try and keep a sharp lookout while doing. I think it would be beautiful if it worked with the flickering candleight reflecting in the water. Worth a try some day soon...Great idea, inventive, resourcefull,beautifully photographed, and explaned so clearly. Thanks for the great idea.

Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 4 years ago from Michigan

Awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing, I may just give this a whirl!

Duffee profile image

Duffee 4 years ago

Awesome Idea--I may have to try this!!

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA Author

My orange peel lamps have lasted 3 days so far and are still holding their shape, and their wicks!

Robin, your idea to float several candles in water sounds awesome! If anyone tries this, let us know if it works! If I have time I'll try this later tonight.

Thanks for all of the positive comments, everyone! And good luck, CZCZCZ!

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Hi Kate,

This is so good. I loved this idea. It's like getting aromatherapy from these oranges as well.

i might just try making it. THANK YOU.

voted up as useful

Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

I find your natural candles a lovely and creative idea.

krosch profile image

krosch 4 years ago

Looks like a fun project. I have seen them done once and they were certainly very cool to see up close.

sasta10 profile image

sasta10 4 years ago from Manchester, UK

Great article, will definitely try this. I like the glowing effect of the orange. Thank you for sharing your creativity with us.

mvaivata profile image

mvaivata 4 years ago

Wow! These are so neat. I cannot wait to try one!

Wendy Finn profile image

Wendy Finn 4 years ago from UK

Never would have thought of this. Really cool. The glow looks so warm and I bet it smells gorge. Useful indeed.

Sam 4 years ago

If everything wat that easy… Sometimes you need help. Go to hahaped, for example.

Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

Hmm.. so the center membrane is the wick. Pretty ingenious might be good in a power outage if you happened to have citrus fruit and vegetable oil around. Good idea.

susanm23b 4 years ago

This looks like so much fun! I really love making things, especially with unusual items. Would this float in large bowl of water--when filled with oil and lit? I wonder...

Thanks for the fun idea :)

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA Author

Thanks again for all the great comments. PS: After burning them for multiple hours, the orange peels dry and keep their shape indefinitely. As long as there's oil, they'll burn for days or weeks. I see no limit in survival situations, and as for day-to-day use, they're easy to make, but using a dried one works well, too.

As for floating on water, it's more likely to work when the peels have dried out from use. Let us all know if they float, if you try it!

stessily 4 years ago

Faceless39, Really beautiful! My two favourite oils are safflower and sunflower, so I was pleased to see safflower included in your list of suggested oils.

Thanks for sharing.

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Wow! This is an amazing and economical idea! Your instructions are well-explained! The photos are well-captured! Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & Socially Shared.

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