How to Make an Oil Lamp out of an Orange (With Step-By-Step Images)

Updated on July 19, 2018
Faceless39 profile image

I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!


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.

Video: My Orange Peel Lamps

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.)

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

See results

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: Make 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 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

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.

Are you going to make your own?

See results

Step 7: Enjoy Your Mad Skillz

Click thumbnail to view full-size

© 2012 Kate P


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    • TarrinLupo profile image

      Tarrin Lupo 

      5 years ago from Peterborough NH

      The writer of this hub is a genius, I bet she is cute too.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Hi Joan. No oil residue seeps out the bottom of the candles. Also over time, the citrus hardens and the cells close off, making it even more watertight (or in this case, oil tight.) Hope that helps..

    • profile image

      Joan Miculob 

      5 years ago

      Does it leave a little oil leak?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is so interesting and looks awesome..

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I voted up and awesome and will share on pinterest as well. Great idea.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      6 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      such a cool idea-- everyone loves this!

    • TarrinLupo profile image

      Tarrin Lupo 

      6 years ago from Peterborough NH

      I love this. awesome.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thanks for all the comments and great new ideas!

      @TeVa, I still haven't tried floating them in water, maybe over Christmas break.

      @Sehnonimo, I haven't had a problem with them tipping over.. they have always stood upright. I assume though that, before adding oil, you could push the rinds onto a flat surface to make them stay. Hope that works!

    • Sehnonimo profile image


      6 years ago from San Bruno, CA

      That is very creative and awesome! I would never have an open flame in my apartment, though - cats and all. The only time we use flames is when we make fondue, and that's a very delicate situation!!

      I was wondering what you do to make sure the orange peels don't tilt and cause everything to spill. Have you had this problem, or did I miss a step that mentioned you propping them up?

      Thanks for an informative and creative hub!

    • Prithima Sharma profile image

      Prithima Sharma 

      6 years ago from Delhi, India

      oh perfect, informative hub

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What a lovely, creative idea!

      I'm going to try this one day soon.

      Thank you for sharing :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Has someone tried it on water? Do they float?

      Many thanks for this step by step explanation :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i really like your lamp its really easy to make and i really wanna try 2 make at home ..

    • Natashalh profile image


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      This is really cool! I will be making these, for sure. Bookmarking and pinning!

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      7 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thanks for your stellar comments! They're so fun to make and last forever!

      Neela, you add oil inside the hollwed-out orange peel, as explored in the article above :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      what is present in the orange peel that helps in burning?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this idea. I am definitely going to have to try it. I like that you can make different size candles based on the type of fruit you use. I will pin this :-)

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 

      7 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      This is a great hub-such an original idea to make candles forom oranges. i couldn't figure at the beginning about the wick until I read on. Voted up, useful,interesting and shared on facebook. Thanks :-)

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      7 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      I still haven't attempted one from a lemon, but I think having different colors of lamps would be beautiful. Either way though, it's nice to re-purpose something you normally throw away (or, hopefully, compost.)

      Thanks everyone for all of your fantastic comments! I hope you give it a try.

    • Alex Longsword profile image

      Alex Longsword 

      7 years ago from Nicaragua

      Nice trick on how to use organic material. I definitely will use a lot to decorate Christmas nights.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow! Thanks for sharing your creativity. It sure looks very romantic.

      Voted up and more! :-)

    • kikalina profile image


      7 years ago from Europe

      This is so creative!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      7 years ago from USA

      What a great idea! They look like they glow! I am going to try this.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great idea here! Love the fact it is all natural and so easy to achieve. Great for families and good to include about fire safety. Definitely giving this a go - loved your step by step guide and pics. voted up more and sharing this cool craft idea anyone can do!!!:-)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      What an awesome idea! I love this. I'm voting up and sharing.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      What beautiful little lamps! I'm going to make these next time we have friends over for dinner. I've never heard of these's an inexpensive and fun project. I'm going to add a few drops of orange essential oil for extra fragrance. Thank you! Voted up and shared.

    • maheshpatwal profile image


      8 years ago from MUMBAI

      Very nice and creative. Never thought oranges can be used in such a way.....

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      8 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Has anyone tried other types of citrus? I'm curious what they'd look like in the dark all lit up.

      Thanks to everyone for the great comments; and yeah, it is sort of MacGyver-like lol!

    • PenHitsTheFan profile image

      Amy L. Tarr 

      8 years ago from Home

      Sounds like something MacGyver would make during a power outage. J/K

      It's a great way to recycle the peels.

    • Sheepsquatch profile image


      8 years ago from Springfield, MO

      Excellent idea. i will have to try it sometime.

    • d.william profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Excellent and awesome hub. Who would have thunk it? I certainly will be a user of these unique candles. Thanks for sharing.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      8 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thank you all very much for your nice comments, and also for sharing. If you think of any other ideas, or come up with some tips I haven't covered, please let us know!

    • sen.sush23 profile image


      8 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Voted up and awesome. Kate, I think I will make candles out of this idea, though that may be bit difficult. I am always looking out for craft ideas to share with children and I think this is a wonderful idea, with some guidance about the knife and all. Thanks for the wonderful hub.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      8 years ago

      This is so interesting and unique! Sharing your hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You could have the pulp and the outer covering could make an oil lamp. Never had thought of it! Cool! Its the best use of an orange. Here, some put the outer coverings of fruits near the stems of plants to help them grow. Oil lamp.. Great and eco-friendly use of orange peel!!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      8 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.

    • profile image


      8 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.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      8 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      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!

    • profile image


      8 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 :)

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      8 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.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Wendy Finn profile image

      Wendy Finn 

      8 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.

    • mvaivata profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • sasta10 profile image


      8 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.

    • krosch profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      8 years ago from Mexico

      I find your natural candles a lovely and creative idea.

    • Ruchira profile image


      8 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

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      8 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      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!

    • Duffee profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Sweetsusieg profile image


      8 years ago from Michigan

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

    • profile image


      8 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.

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 

      8 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 :)

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      8 years ago from Oakland, CA

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

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      8 years ago from Texas

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

    • eye say profile image

      eye say 

      8 years ago from Canada

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

    • The Finance Hub profile image

      The Finance Hub 

      8 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!

    • CZCZCZ profile image


      8 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.

    • borneo profile image


      8 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 :-(

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      8 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      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!

    • eye say profile image

      eye say 

      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      8 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      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 

      8 years ago from Canada

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

    • imatellmuva profile image


      8 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!!!

    • Goyakla profile image


      8 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.

    • angela p profile image

      angela p 

      8 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.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • DIYweddingplanner profile image


      8 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!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      8 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.

    • Silver Fish profile image

      Silver Fish 

      8 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Nice hub, fantastic photos.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie Marie 

      8 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!

    • richbrayan profile image


      8 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 :)

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      Maude Keating 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      How long do these burn?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      8 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      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!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      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.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      8 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!

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 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.

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      Maude Keating 

      8 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.

    • iiimusicfreak27 profile image

      Stephanie Rivera-Rios 

      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      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.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      8 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.


    • cebutouristspot profile image


      8 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

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      8 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.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 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.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      8 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!



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