02 April 2011

Preparedness Challenge

This week for the preparedness challenge over at Homestead Revival, I….

Made olive oil lamps! This was actually easier than I thought it would be- the instructions can be found here on the Mother Earth News website. These would be very nice in the event of a power outage if you did not have or want to use a battery powered flashlight.  One of the BEST things about these in my opinion, is that if they tip over, they immediately extinguish since olive oil has a high flash point (we actually knocked one over in the kitchen sink just to test this out- sure enough, the flame disappeared right away!). This was very important to me since I have a two little ones who love to grab at anything shiny. Of course, these should be put out of reach of anything flammable or anyone not old enough to play with fire, but I appreciate the safety feature just in case! My husband would tease that this particular aspect would be more likely to keep ME from burning the house down than the KIDS…. But moving on!! J

Yes, I know olive oil can be expensive, but I used the cheapest stuff I could find- a 1.5 liter bottle of store brand oil only cost me about ten bucks- and it goes a long way! The only other required materials are a glass canning jar (any sturdy glass container would probably work, but these refract the light really well! Plus, when these are not in use, you can simply put the lids on for storage), a piece of flexible wire and a strip of 100% cotton twine or cloth (I cut a few strips from a cheap dish cloth) that has been soaked in salt water for about thirty minutes and then air dried. Two tips that we learned while doing this- it is important to keep the wick no longer than a quarter of an inch long, and the oil needs to be level with where the wire is holding the wick. If you want the jar to appear fuller, try adding some water to the bottom of the jar before adding the oil and wick.  The first lantern took about 10 minutes to put together, but once we got the basic premise down, we started experimenting with other jars and were able to assemble each lamp in less than three minutes!

My two year old even enjoyed this project, as he sat safely in his high chair singing, “happy buh-day to tooooooo!!” every time we lit a match!

Notice how the brightest lamps are the plain pint jars- a quart jar might work even better!

Please head on over to Amy’s blog at Homestead Revival and check out some ideas for getting prepared for whatever may come!


  1. This is a great post for being prepared! I love the fact that I always keep olive oil on hand and could pull this together quickly if I presoak some of the cloths.

    When my husband went to Israel years ago, he brought home a few antiques he purchased (not like in 100 years old but more like 2,000!). He brought home a clay lamp like the Virgins would have used with oil. No wick needed. I should try making something designed off of the antique and experimenting to see if it would work.
    Thanks for linking up to the Preparedness Challenge!

  2. It's always good to have extra lighting on hand! We've been without electricity for as long as five days in the past, that's a lot of candles! Another source for emergency lighting is those solar lights you use outside. You can bring them inside after dark and use them.

  3. Such a great idea. I'll have to try these with my children, I know they will love them. Well, let's admit it so will momma! We can always use extra lights when the power is out. Thanks for sharing. God Bless.

  4. FilledWithHisGoodnessApril 3, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies! What great ideas!