Get ready for spring with this make-your-own mason jar oil lamp.
Great for the patio or deck, this mason jar oil lamp is a pretty way to light up your outdoor space—and keep the bugs away. It’s a fun project to get in the mood for spring!
This mason jar oil lamp tutorial includes step-by-step instructions for assembling your mason jar oil lamp and tips for buying the right supplies. I had a hard time finding the correct supplies to actually get this mason jar oil lamp to work. Lucky you! I’ve worked out all of the kinks for you.
I came up with this project when tasked with producing a mason jar-themed craft for the March 2016 issue of VintageKC magazine.
As I researched for this project, I found that many of the mason jar oil lamp tutorials out there don’t provide a lot of instructions. Or, I couldn’t replicate their mason jar oil lamps at all. I tried many different combinations using olive oil, canola oil and multiple different types of wicks, and my mason jar oil lamp would only burn for a few seconds. My lack of success made me wonder about the reliability of the tutorials. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but I think the supplies just weren’t correct.
For example, many tutorials say you can use olive oil or canola oil as the base for your oil lamp. I loved this idea! How cool would it be if I could create an oil lamp out of supplies I already had around the house? And, using a natural oil, like olive oil, appealed to me, too.
Turns out those oils just don’t burn well in oil lamps. You really need a citronella oil (like those used in tiki torches) or a lamp oil. I purchased Firefly Simply Pure® paraffin lamp oil with citronella off Amazon. When I used this oil, instead of burning out after a few seconds, my oil lamp stayed lit for 30 minutes. It would have stayed lit even longer, but I decided to blow it out.
This is how an oil lamp is supposed to work. The wick isn’t just supposed to burn up. It’s meant to absorb the oil and the oil burns. The wick should hardly burn at all. Eventually the wick will burn down and you’ll have to replace it, but this process should take quite a while.
The basic supplies for this project are mason jars, citronella oil and lamp wicks, but I offer a few additional tips if you want to make a spout for your mason jar, like I did. The spout looks neat and makes it resemble an oil lamp a bit more.
What you’ll need:
– Mason jar
– Firefly Simply Pure® paraffin lamp oil essential citronella formula
– 1/8 inch lamp wicks (I purchased these from Hobby Lobby)
– Thin picture hanging wire
– Couplings (optional)
– 1/8 inch zinc-plated nipples (optional)
– 1/8 inch washers (optional)
The first four supplies listed are all that you need to create the mason jar oil lamp. The rest are optional.
If you want to make your mason jar oil lamp more aesthetically pleasing, you’ll need a few more supplies to create the spout. This step is optional.
You’ll need couplings, zinc-plated nipples and washers. You can find all of these supplies in the lighting section of your local hardware store. (It’s really easy to find. Just go to the lighting section and look for the spare parts.)
Here’s how to create the spout for your mason jar oil lamp.
1. Gather your supplies
You’ll need a mason jar lid, one coupling, one nipple and two washers to create your spout. I used a mason jar lid that already had a hole in it because it was a lid that came with a straw. You can also drill a hole in your lid using a 3/8 inch drill bit.
2. Insert the nipple
Put the nipple inside the hole.
3. Secure with washers
Screw a washer on each end of the nipple until it’s secure.
That’s it! Easy, huh?
Steps to assemble the mason jar oil lamp
Now, here’s how to put together your mason jar oil lamp.
1. Wire and wick
Grab your thin picturing hanging wire and your wick.
2. Wrap wire around wick
Twist the wire around the wick a few times.
3. Trim the wire
Leave about 3 to four inches of wire and cut it using wire cutters.
4. Secure to mason jar
Basically, the purpose of the wire is to hold the wick in place. Place your wick in the middle of your jar and pull the wire tight to one side. Bend it slightly over the edge of the jar so it’s semi-secure.
At this point, you can add your oil. Pour in the oil to the top of the jar. (You’ll need to let the wick absorb the oil for 15 minutes before lighting it.)
5. Screw on the lid
Screw on the lid of the jar to firmly secure the wick and wire in place.
That’s it. You can also trim off any excess wire. As your wick burns, you’ll need to unwrap the wire, move the wick up and rewrap the wire. But it should take quite a long time before you’ll have to do this.
This mason jar oil lamp is such a fun twist on a traditional candle. Even though the label on the oil says it’s for indoor and outdoor use, I’m only planning to use my mason jar oil lamp outdoors. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can sit outside and enjoy it!