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How to Make Wicks for Oil Lamps

Updated February 21, 2017

Oil lamps were once the predominant source of light in the home after the sun set. You can still enjoy the warm and soft light emitted by an oil lamp, and you can even make your own lamp to use. An important feature of the oil lamp is the wick, which draws up the oil and feeds it to the flame providing the light. Make your own wicks so that you have them on hand whenever you want to light your oil lamp.

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  1. Ask someone to hold one end of the string firmly.

  2. Pick up the loose end of the string and twist it with your fingers. Keep twisting the string until its coil is very stiff and it becomes difficult to twist anymore.

  3. Pull the middle of the string in one hand, holding it tightly and bring the two loose ends together.

  4. Let go of the two loose ends and allow them to uncoil. The untwisting of each side will cause the loose sides to coil around each other.

  5. Insert the folded end of the string into the opening of the wick holder so it comes out the other side. The folded end should stick out 2 ¼ inches when it comes out of the holder.

  6. Clamp the holder closed with pliers until the wick is held securely.

  7. Tip

    You can make your wick longer by using longer string.


    Do not leave open flames unattended or place them near flammable materials.

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Things You'll Need

  • 16-inch-long natural cotton, jute, flax or hemp string
  • Wick holder
  • Pliers

About the Author

Based in New York, Mary Gonzales has been writing computer- and technology-related articles since 1995. Her work has appeared in “Tech Trends” and “Mac Tips” magazines. Gonzales received the Lilly M. Fuchs Literary Award in 1999. She holds a Bachelor of Science in computer programming from New York University.

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