Home Skills & Knowledge Prepper Skills Make An Oil Lamp with Used Cooking Oil

Make An Oil Lamp with Used Cooking Oil

We all have that jar full of used cooking oil. Wouldn’t it be great to use it to make an oil lamp with used cooking oil?

Make An Oil Lamp with Used Cooking Oil

I had grabbed that jar of previously used cooking oil and was getting ready to safely dispose of it.

Only then did I I realize that to dispose of this jar of oil, was essentially throwing away a ready-to-use oil lamp.


I took it to the garage, found some old string and sunk it into the oil filled jar. Then I dug out some old unshielded wire and created a wick holder for the string.

Video: Oil Lamp, made with Used Cooking Oil

It seems that this lamp works fantastically and smells like a french fries! It burned and burned and burned, then I got bored and put it out.

I guess I learned a lesson today, instead of disposing of jars full of oil, I’ll store them away for use as oil lamps. I learned to Make An Oil Lamp with Used Cooking Oil and recycled in the process. I am so green 😉

Oil Lamps: Light for Grid Down


  1. If the oil is still pretty clear, it can be recycled this way. However, if it has been “recycled” through the fryer multiple times, you may want to filter it through multiple layers of cheesecloth to get rid of any stray bits left behind, and flour from breaded items.

  2. I recently saw a Youtube video that showed how to do this. Definitely a cool idea for those nights where the electricity goes out. Interesting that it smells like french fries 😉 though of course, makes perfect sense, haha.

  3. Why can’t you just poke a hole in the jar lid and run the string through that? Will it burn the lid? Seems like it must be easier but I must be missing something.

    • This is a great idea, and I have contemplated it, but haven’t had the chance to test it yet. If you do get to try it, before I do, please let us know your results.

      • I have been experimenting with proper wicks and holes and air holes and havent found any great huge flames like in the pics.it flares up at first then does down to what you have in the video. I have several jars but not actual mason jars. Any idea if the flame is supoosed to be bigger and brighter by using a chimney?

  4. I’ve done this with olive oil. I have found most vegetable/nut oils work. Corn oil doesn’t work well, it clogs whatever you are using as a wick. I use 100% cotton mop heads. I cut a small piece and use that. And the draw rate of the oil is slow so you want the top of the wick to be no more then a 1/2″ above the top of the oil. A interesting way to get more light out of a lamp like this is to use a clear glass jar and fill it mostly with water then pour a small amount of oil on top. the wick will soak up the oil first and when it uses up all the oil it will soak up the water and put itself out. I rarely get to this state as I put too much oil in and I refuse to leave a lamp lit when I go to sleep. The neat thing is the water helps to magnify the light.

  5. Put a mirror behind the lamp for more light reflection. Old blue jeans are cotton – use them to cut wicks for lamps like this. The wider the wick, the more light but the more oil you will use. Keep the wick low enough in the oil for it to wick correctly so you aren’t burning the wick, you are burning the oil. Be sure to keep your wick trimmed, too.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here