Emergency Tuna Can Oil Lamp

Emergency Tuna Can Oil Lamp

Owl Teacher Left

Did you know that we can make an emergency oil lamp from Tuna Can?

Question Right

You mean the tuna that we eat?

Owl Teacher Left

Yes, it is a good tip in case you are out of light source during an emergency.


  • Adults supervision is required and please do NOT leave any children to try making this lamp alone.
  • Do NOT use this lamp immediately after a major earthquake. Considering the aftershocks to happen, NO FIRE (including this lamp) should be handled until you are safe to do so especially if you are inside of building to prevent fire hazard.

We used the following two products for a comparison purposes

Regular Left

There is a photo of a tea candle just for your reference only.

Easy 4 Steps

What You Need:

  • Tuna Can (in Oil)*
  • Tissue Paper or kitchen paper
  • Something to make a hole on a can
  • Light (must handle with care)
  • Toothpick (optional)

*NOTE: Tuna “in water” will not work so make sure to check before you try.

1. Make a paper string by twisting

We used 1/8 of regular tissue paper this time. Please adjust thickness and length as needed.

2. Make a whole

We used a wine opener this time but anything can be used as long you can safely make a hole.

3. Insert the paper string into the can and wait for a few minutes

Regular Left

You could use a toothpick to help you inserting the paper string.

Make sure to wait for a few minutes until the paper string is fully soaked with oil.

4. Light a fire

Owl Teacher Left

For kids, make sure to have your parents or adults to handle the fire!

Owl Teacher Left

We saw a tall fire with black smoke in the beginning but it stopped after a couple of minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the fire and put it out immediately if it is not safe to keep the fire.

How long did it last?

Question Left

I’m surprised that the oil lamp lasts for 60 mins or longer (depending on a product, size & length of paper string) until the fire completely went out! What happens after the fire went out? Can I still eat the tuna?

Oh! Left

Wow, some oil is still left in the can and the tuna did not get burned! … yam yam yam….. both still taste good!  It really is handy so I will buy some extra and stock them up at home.