4 ingredient Emergency Candles
These are not your typical candles and they are certainly not the smell good, decorative kind. But they are actually some of my favorite emergency candles to have on hand. The best part is they are super easy to make, and you can make them pretty quickly for bulk gifts to friends and neighbors. Although, your honey may not appreciate these as a gift for Valentine’s Day!
These emergency candles can be used for heat, light, and cooking in case of a power failure. They will burn for a long time and the tighter you pack them, the longer they will burn. Emergency candles keep well in cars (smaller cans only), 72 hour kits, homes, or for use when camping and hiking.
Warning: DO NOT remove the candles from the can to burn. The entire top of the can burns when the candle is lighted, and can give off a fair amount of smoke. The larger the can, the larger the flame.
Emergency Candles Supplies
- Hardwood dry Sawdust or wood shavings
- Candle Wax 4 lb Block amount depends on the size of the candles and the quantity) DO NOT use Paraffin it is too flammable
- Old pot that you don’t mind having ruined
- Aluminum roasting pan or cardboard box for mixing
- Larger pot to fit the old pot into (wax is melted using a double boiler method)
- Candle Wicking (#9 or largest mm size wick) length to fit cans
- Clean, dry, used, tin cans (#10, tuna, soup can, etc.)
- Paint stick or old wooden spoon
- Old measuring cup (once again you won’t be using this for cooking)
Step 1: Tape the wick to the center inside bottom of each can. If you are using a #10 can, I suggest you use three wicks.
Step 2: Put the shavings or dust into mixing pan/box. I started with a little less than 1/2 of a 700 cu. in. – compressed bale of natural pine.
Step 3: Melt 3 lbs. wax in old pot using larger pot to create a double boiler. (I purchased a 4 lb. brick) Be careful not to get the wax too hot as it is flammable. Melt a few chunks at a time to avoid having tons of left over melted wax in an old pot and no more cans or sawdust.
Step 4: Pour melted wax over sawdust or shavings one cup at a time, and stir using the paint stick. Continue adding wax and stirring until its like graham cracker crust mix consistency and each piece seems to be covered with wax. Be sure to leave enough melted wax left to seal the candles in step 6.
Step 5: Pack the wax/sawdust mixture into cans, keeping the wick centered, only fill ½” from the top of the can. The harder the mixture is packed the longer the candle will burn for. This packs really well if you let it cool until you can handle it, but not so much that it is starting to harden.
Step 6: Once they are packed and somewhat cooled, pour a thin wax seal on the top of each can.
Step 7: Cut wick ½-1”above the wax seal. My half recipe made 6- soup can, or 18- tuna can size, emergency candles.
Instructions for using your emergency candle
Print out these instructions and place it with your candles.
Place your finished emergency candle on tile or non flammable material before lighting, be sure there is nothing overhead or surrounding it that could catch fire. Remove these instructions from the can. Be sure to have some ventilation as there will be some smoke. The entire top of the emergency candle will burn. Light wick and enjoy the heat and light when all around you is dark and cold. To put out flame smother with a metal lid or damp cloth. Blowing will not work.
To use as a cook stove, hammer 3 larger tent stakes (2-3”taller than the can) around the edge of the candle against the can. Place a metal (stainless steel) cooling or grilling rack onto of the stakes and place pot onto of the rack. Light and cook. Watch closely as the flame is big and hot. Stir food consistently and remember it will take less time to cook. The bottom of the pot will also be blackened, but at least you’ve been fed a warm meal.
Other Emergency Candle Options:
Cardboard can be used in place of the sawdust. Simply roll the cardboard as tightly as possible and place a wick into the center. Insert in the can, making sure its as snug as possible. Pour the hot wax over the cardboard until a tin layer of wax covers the cardboard. This method won’t burn as long as the sawdust/shavings will and will use more wax, but it will still work the same way.