Emergency DIY Floating Orange Oil Lamps

Uncategorized | February 12, 2014 | By


The idea for these amazing oil lamps is not mine, of course. Tutorials for making them have been flying all over the internet for a while now. When my son got wind of this DIY project, he could hardly sit still until we tried it out for ourselves.

They work unbelievably well! We had one burn for around 30 minutes, but the one with the longer portion of pith wick lasted between 45 minutes and 1 hour. I suppose burn time depends on the type and size of the orange that is used, and the amount of oil that is applied. We used a medium sized naval orange. The oil tends to soak in to the peel’s membrane rather than pool, we realized, but still works very well to fuel the wick.

It seemed obvious that our orange oil lamps would float so we tried putting them in large, filled water goblets. Sure enough! Can you imagine a poolside tropical wedding with these freebie lanterns floating around in the water? Gorgeous!

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We are in the midst of a mega snowstorm right now so have our orange stash and bottle of oil ready to go if the power goes out. We’ll be able to get our Vitamin C and then we’ll be able to see.

All you need to make them is a knife, a lighter or match, and a little oil. Two lamps from one orange is not bad, especially with a few people munching orange wedges throughout the day. Just be very careful when you peel them to leave the halves in one piece, and to leave the center membrane that runs through the middle hanging when you remove the peel.

Step 1:  Cut the peel horizontally in half, with the stem and flowering ends at the top and bottom, but leave the orange whole. It’s like cutting Earth in half at it’s equator, and leaving the North and South Poles attached to the axis. Run your finger under each half of peel to loosen and pull them off.

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Step 2:  Pour in a little olive or mineral oil.

Step 3:  Light the orange membrane “wicks.




To float them, place the oil filled halves in the water before lighting.

I’m so excited about these little guys that I’m almost hoping the power does go out today.

Stay safe if this monster storm is headed your way. May your day be filled with hot beverages and lengthy board games, and your path be lit by the subtle glow of your own DIY oil lamps.



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