An oil candle is a beautiful way to create a mason jar lamp to decorate your table. This is a quick and easy DIY that uses recycled jars and flowers and branches that you already have on hand to create.
We are always excited about any kind of DIY that involves recycling or upcycling. These oil lamps are a great way to use garden cuttings and some oil to create beautiful candles for your table.
You can easily cut branches and flowers and assemble this decor in just a few minutes. If you’ve got some clear glass containers you can definitely make these!
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Supplies to Make a Mason Jar Lamp
- Floating Wicks – we like these from amazon
- Vegetable Oil – or another cooking oil
- Mason jar or other clear container
- Decorative items – rocks, leaves, flowers or fruit
- Optional – spices or essential oils
How to Assemble Your Lamps
Gather some mason jars or any other clear glass jars that you have on hand. The larger jars are better and you’ll definitely want to use the wide mouth jars.
Fill your jars with your decorative items and then cover with water.
Add a layer of vegetable oil on top.
Depending on your jar size it can take a tablespoon or several but you want to make the layer about 1/4″ thick. Add your floating wick on top and voila!
How Do Oil Lamps Work?
An oil lamp uses a wicking process to draw the oil up and burn on your wick.
These are a beautiful alternative to regular candles and they make a stunning centerpiece for your table.
If you don’t have floating wicks you can easily substitute a floating candle and just eliminate the oil. Just be sure that the mouth of your jar is wide enough for your candle to float.
Don’t try to use the long wicks that are used in kerosene lamps. They won’t work for this project because they’re just too long so they’ll wick up water instead of oil.
We’re only using a small amount of oil so we need floating wicks to draw it up.
A tablespoon of oil can burn for around 2 hours, which is about the right amount of time if you’re using them for a dinner. The candles will likely extinguish themselves if you burn them longer than that but be sure to be safe when you’re burning any type of candle and blow it out if you’re not going to be nearby.
Decorative Ideas for your Mason Jar Lamp
I think the easiest thing to do is just to cut some leaves from outside and drop them in a jar with some fruit or flowers, but if you’re having a theme party there are so many things that you can use inside your mason jars.
Just a few ideas:
- Lemons, kumquats or tiny oranges
- Branches and leaf clippings or pine cones
- Flowers – fresh or faux
- Cinnamon sticks or other dried herbs
- Pebbles or rocks
You could also add a bit of food coloring to the water and tint it to a pretty color.
If your fruits and flowers are fresh they should last a week or more in the water.
You’ll want to be sure that they stay below the surface of the water so that they don’t come in contact with the flame.
What kind of oil can I use?
The best oils to use are the ones that you regularly use for cooking with. We prefer avocado oil but any cooking oil will work. The only one you’ll want to avoid is extra virgin olive oil.
Regular olive oil works great but the EVOO has a pretty low smoke point so it’s not the best.
(Of course all I could find when I was taking photo’s was EVOO – do as I say not as I do! I didn’t notice smoke while they were burning but it did make a small puff when I blew them out)
A few more tips
Filling your jar very full of decorative items will help them stay in place better when you add water. You can use small stones to weight items down if they’re floating to the top.
Be sure that none of your items come in contact with the flame.
You can blow out your mason jar lamps or just place the lids on them to extinguish.
Your decorations should last a week or more before they need to be replaced.
Now go make your oil lamps and a pretty centerpiece!
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