If you are like me and live in a climate where bad electrical storms and hurricanes are a factor, you know that having an alternative light source can be very helpful. A really cool alternative light source is an oil lamp. Why not build your own oil lamp using environmentally-friendly, clean-burning olive oil? It is much easier to do this than you think.
First we're going to need a container for our olive oil lamp. I like to use a clear glass jar with a wide opening, because they give off good light, are easy to work with and have lids. A glass quart jar or even a pint jar will work. You can also get creative and use small goldfish bowl if you like.
The other materials we are going to need include some olive oil, a wick, and and a wire coat hanger. The wick material can be any cotton material such as a thin strip of fabric from an old towel or rag. You can use any type of olive oil - the cheaper oils are fine to use, and will keep costs down. If you can't find a wire coat hanger, any bendable wire will work.
Take the coat hanger and straighten it. Leave the hook intact because you'll need it to go over the lip of the jar to hold the end of the wick out of the oil. You will need to cut the wire down to about 2 times the depth of the jar. Take the hook end of the hanger and bend it so that it fits over the rim of the olive oil lamp (the jar).
Bend the straight end of the wire coat hanger into a spiral shape. This will be your wick stand. It should be wide enough that it will not turn over in the olive oil lamp.
Now make a circle in the end of the spiral. You want to insert the wick and tighten the loop so that the wick just barely fits through the loop.
Insert the wick into the loop. Let the rest of the wick go down into the bottom of the jar. Adjust the wick so that only 1/4' or less will be above the olive oil in the oil lamp.
Fill your new olive oil lamp with your choice of olive oil. Make sure the wick is sticking out just above the olive oil. You need to let it soak for a few minutes.
Light your olive oil lamp and enjoy. It should burn for up to 24 hours on one fill, depending upon the size of the jar.
One good thing about an olive oil lamp is, unlike candles, it will probably not catch fire if turned over. The ignition point of olive oil is much higher than that of a candle, and the oil which leaks out will most likely quench the flame before it can ignite other surfaces.