Upcycling: Outdoor Scotch oil lantern



I’ve got less than a week until school starts and have been busy finishing up the last of my outdoor garden projects. Jeez, is it me or did Summer slip by way too fast?

Anyway, the weather in the Bay Area has been remarkably pleasant this summer. It’s so lovely in the early evenings that I’ve taken to eating dinner in the backyard and relaxing with a good book until it’s too dark for me to read anymore. Jack hasn’t had a chance to hook up the electricity in the garden yet, therefore we don’t have much light out there right now. Annoyed at having to cut my outdoor evenings short due to darkness I started scouring the house for lighting options.

As it happens I recently cleaned up my pantry and had pulled out a bunch of these empty Scotch bottles that I tend to save and use for flower vases. I took another look at these Scotch bottles and realized that they would make terrific oil lanterns. They’re heavy and sturdy and can easily withstand a windy night. Excellent. I felt an urge to upcycle!


These oil lanterns were super easy to whip up. Here’s what you need:
1. bottle (FREE. Use what you have.)
2. lantern wick (FREE. This package has 2 and coincidentally we already had it in the shed. Why? I have no clue, but I was using it! If you’re buying, it’s only a couple bucks.)
3. washer to stick on top of the bottle to hold the wick in place (FREE. I also found this in the shed, but the center hole was a little too small, so I made it bigger with 1/2-inch drill bit. Easy! If you’re buying, they’re ~$.50 each.)
4. Citronella lantern oil ($3.50)

Pour lantern oil into your clean bottle (I used 1/4 bottle of oil for each lantern.) Thread wick through washer and then insert into the bottle so that the wick rests easily on the bottom. Trim wick about 1/2-inch above the washer.

Voila! Two custom oil lanterns for the bank-breaking price of $3.50.


I love that the lantern oil actually looks like Scotch. And because we’re a Scotch-loving family I think these lanterns are especially perfect for our home—a subtle nod to who we are.

Upcycling at its best.

P.S. They work great!


2 responses »

  1. Love the up-cycling idea. I’m going to try it too. I’m always looking to up-cycle things, furniture, clothes, you name it… Bay area weather is pretty good isn’t it? I have to agree. I love where we live. My kids are already in school but I’m enjoying my books, just relaxing when we come back home, as the days are still quite long.

  2. Pingback: Home DIY projects | Materials for the Arts

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