Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DIY Ink Bottle Oil Lamp

Last spring, I discovered the joy of DIY oil lamps. Here's how I turn an India ink bottle into an oil lamp. 
The materials:
  • India ink bottle
  • 2-inch strip of aluminum foil
  • cotton strip (I used the hem from an old A-Shirt)
  • sharp knife
  • oil (not pictured)
I've taken a shining to writing with orange ink lately. I didn't bother to clean the bottle out fully, mostly because I didn't want to expend the water doing it (I've become increasingly conscious about water use). I'm not sure whether there are any health concerns with burning India ink, but I'm not too worried.

1. I cut the pipette away, trying to make it as short as possible. 

If I'd had a sharper knife and the motivation, I would have tried to shave away more of the pipette above the cap line. The shorter it is, the less it will push your wick back down into the bottle.
2. I crumple the aluminum foil around the end of the cotton strip, creating a stopper so that the wick will stay upright.
3. Tuck the wick into the bottle.
4. Check to make sure the stopper works properly before getting things all oily.
5. Fill the bottle most of the way with oil of your choice. 

I'm told olive oil has the least oily scent, but I'd use whatever oil is either plentiful, cheap, or about to go rancid. You could even use bacon grease, if you're into that sort of thing (I am). 
6. Tuck stopper and wick in place.
7. The lamp is ready! Light it up! 

Before lighting, I screwed the cap back on and turned the bottle upside down for a few seconds to allow the wick to absorb more oil. 
The cap can also be a snuffer, but because it's plastic, the bottle should be allowed to cool after the flame is put out so that the cap doesn't melt and become less leak-proof.
And there you have it. A 5-10 minute, very practical DIY project. Light, no batteries required. And it fits in your pocket. 

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