DIY Mason Jar Oil Lamp for Indoors or Outdoors Craft Tutorial

JAR CRAFTS Published September 30th, 2013 313,691 views
Mason Jar DIY Oil Lantern

DIY and create a beautiful oil lamp / lantern from a mason jar. Indoors, or outdoors, your new beautiful oil burning lamp craft will look gorgeous anywhere. A concept idea for using your lantern to burn scented oil has been appended onto the end of this tutorial.

When you’re finished here, don’t forget to check out our other oil lamp articles! Take a minute and look inside our craft store, also!

We also sell the wine/beer bottle wick kit in our craft store! We hope you enjoy this article, and share it with ten thousand people.


Oil lanterns are nice to have when camping, and they’re also great to have around for power outages.

These mason jar oil lamps are functional, very inexpensive, fun to make, and sometimes just nice to kick back and stare at for a while.

Keep out of reach of children and away from pets.


Lamp Design

There are endless variations that can be implemented when making your oil lamp— just use your imagination!

Have you seen the article with 12 different oil lamps made using all sorts of jars, jugs and bottles? You might find a little design inspiration there!

Do you remember the experiment in grade school with food coloring, applying it to different liquids that would ultimately float on the others?

That was all, of course, due to different densities in the different liquids. Remembering that oil and water don’t mix, you could mix up your lamp oil a little bit and come up with something really cool! When making the Starbucks Frappuccino bottle lantern, it turned out looking like a red lava lamp, and was definitely cool when shaken up a little before lighting!

In other words, you can fill your lamp with all oil, or a 50/50 mixture of water and oil for a prettier solution.


A cork will float between
water and oil!

Oil Lamp Materials

Most of the materials can be found just laying around the house, except for the fiberglass wicks, which can be found in our store.

Fiberglass wicks rarely need replacing, and they are also hassle-free! They do not burn up like a typical candle wick, cotton strap, or other organic material.

  • 1 mason jar with a metal lid.
  • 1 nail, drill, or something to puncture the top of the lid to create a small hole for the wick.
  • 1 bottle of olive oil or indoor non-toxic burning oil.
  • 1 strip of 100% cotton material to be used as a wick (an old sock, perhaps), or a fiberglass wick.

If you choose to use the cotton material, it’s important that it be 100% cotton. If there is polyester or anything else in it, it may produce unhealthy fumes when it burns. Cotton material will eventually burn down and you’ll have to continue to pull the wick up, as it burns off little by little. Making it a little long to compensate is a good idea.

Making the Oil Lamp

Make a hole in the metal lid, and run your wick down to the bottom of the jar through that hole.

Only expose about half an inch of wick above the lid or you will end up with a pretty big flame.

Personally, I buy scented oil and I use fiberglass wicks. I take copper freezer tubing from Lowes or Home Depot and cut off about an inch of the tube. I place my wick through the tube, and then the tube sits in the hole in the lid. Adding scented oil to your lamp oil mixture doesn’t work like it does in an oil burner, but you can still smell it.

Fiberglass wicks are used in everything from outdoor patio torches to designer oil lamps.

Oil Burner Upgrade/Addition

This is an update with a concept idea to build a scented oil burner onto your lantern.

You know the little bowls that you pour scented oil into, and simply place a tea-candle under? Let’s mount that on top of the flame from your oil lantern.

At Lowes or Home Depot, you can find threaded rods, and nuts to fit them for about $2 dollars total.

You’ll need a saw to cut this threaded rod into pieces of about 5 inches. If using a hand saw, be very careful that when you get started, you don’t slip and hurt yourself.

If you do not have a saw, you can take a hammer and a flat-head screwdriver and simply ‘cut’ the rod by placing the screwdriver on the rod, hitting it with the hammer a time or two, then rotate the rod.

When you see an indentation all around the rod, simply bend to break it off.

You’ll need three pieces to make the balance.


I suggest using 1/4″ inch rods, and so of course you’d also need two 1/4″ nuts per rod.

Drill 3 evenly spaced holes into your lid, just like you did to insert your wick, but on the outer edges. (Don’t do this while the lid is on the jar, unless you are very careful not to drill into the jar itself).

Take each of your rod pieces and insert them about an inch into the ‘lid’.

Take a nut, and twist it onto the rod from the underside of the lid. Now, do the same from the other side (top of lid). Depending on your nut, these are not going to be super-tight and that is okay. However, you can help tighten them by twisting both nuts at the same time, which will be opposite directions, and they will tighten into each other.

Now, you’ve created these little towering rods that you can balance the belly of a symmetrical bowl on, pour oil into it, and burn.

For decorative purposes, you can spray your lid, rods, nuts, etc., with Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

There is this new fancy spray-can they have out now with a rotating paint nozzle, and that can cost almost $8, but you can use the traditional can since you’re just painting your oil lamp. You’ll get the same amount of paint (12 oz), and save about $2.00!

The fancy can has “oil rubbed bronze” written on the front. The traditional cans will have it written on the white stick-on label on the back of the cans.

Enjoy your new mason jar oil lantern, and be sure to send us photos when you are finished! We’d love to share them with all our users and put them in our upcoming photo gallery! photos{at}

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  • Wondering

    Soo I couldn’t get my hands on the fiberglass wicks. I’m assuming other candle wicks do not work for this because I tried the braided wick and it won’t stay lit. I can see this working with lamp oil perhaps, but with olive oil I’ve always heard the flame needs to be right on top of the oil to burn. Have you actually done this? Photos (not photoshopped) would be nice.

  • Saffa Al Gazalli

    very cute! trying this when I get home tonight :)

  • ashley

    how’d it go?

  • janelle313

    Love it! It would be more helpful, if you posted pictures to go along with each step.

  • Rose

    What is in the jar along with the oil and pinecones? Any other ideas for inserts?

  • Silsez

    Use any spices you like, citrus fruit rinds, apple peels. Think of anything that you like the scent of. Just be careful not to mix too many or conflicting scents together in one jar.

  • Silsez

    Weird, but today at work I found a better link with steps. I get home and can’t find it! I’ll try to post it in here tomorrow afternoon IF I can find my way back!

  • Fast ED

    You Mean Molotov Cocktails!!!
    Don’t Break One lit!!!
    You Have To Make Them Because They Are Too Dangerous For Anyone To Make And Take The Chance Of Getting Sued… Please Use A Unbreakable Plastic Jar Or Bottle!!!

  • jenna rogers

    very confusing site- just wanted to know how to make what was in the picture with pine cones, etc

  • Pam

    I agree Would Help!

  • Pam

    If Anybody Has Found A link That Shows Pictures, Please Post The Link On Here… MANY Thanks!

  • Kim

    Search Pinterest for Mason Jar Oil Candle, lots of instructions :)

  • Kaelha

    A plastic jar would be a very bad idea. Mason jars are meant to be heated and with proper precautions, it should be as safe as any oil lamp still sold in stores. You can buy these same Mason jar lamps online and in stores. Clear lamp oil is the best option because it’s designed for indoor oil lamps and isn’t highly combustible.

  • Lisa

    I am struggling with the wick simply burning out. I am using a cotton wick but it just burns out. Please help. I am making these for xmas gifts and the clock in ticking

  • Barbiejo292

    Me too…..don’t know what is wrong….tried wick and tshirt…both just burn out

  • Leena

    Received one as a gift. Nicely made, but the flame is huge even when the wick is trimmed to 1/8″. And it produces a lot of black smoke, even though lamp oil was used. Will save it for using outdoors next summer!

  • BlueEyedAl

    Tea candles are cheap & I have a large selection of potpourri as well as scented oils that work super well with tea candles. Olive oil is not free either. The ball jar, (mason jar) still needs what sits above my tea candle to give a good scent. I consider it a waste of my time.

  • Kate

    I made two of these, it looks perfect. I have cotton wicks and I used coconut oil. Unfortunately, the wick does not stay lit. Do you have any advice?

  • Kate

    did anyone ever answer this? I’m having the same issue.


    my fiberglass wicks won’t burn in canola oil in my mason jar. what am I doing wrong

  • lili7727

    Oy, to everyone complaining about the wicks burning up, first buy wicks at the hardware store they’re like a buck. Second allow the wick to absorb the oil for 15 minutes until the oil reaches the top of the wick before lighting, otherwise you’re burning the wick and not the fuel. Again make sure the oil gets wicked to the very top before lighting. Also don’t have any more than a half inch of wick above the cap.

  • lili7727

    Oh yeah, use lamp oil, it’s very inexpensive at the dollar store, craft store or Walmart. Use flat 3/4 inch wick for best results