How to Make an Oil Lamp out of an Orange (With Step-By-Step Images)
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?
What You'll Need
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
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
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
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
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
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 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?
Step 7: Enjoy Your Mad SkillzClick thumbnail to view full-size
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Kate P