Make 50-hour Emergency Candles for Less Than $2 Each


Learn How to Make 5o Hour Emergency Candles

emergency candlesOnce, in college, the power went out on my half of town. (I went to school in a small town in Idaho.) since my roommates and I had very little interest in preparedness at the time, we only had a single flashlight for out apartment.

It was pretty dark.

“What if we lit the gas stove and used that as a candle?” My roommate suggested.

We turned on the gas burners and lit them using some matches my roommate had in a drawer.

A few minutes after lighting the stove, we realized two things:

A stove burner doesn't produce a lot of light, but it does significantly increase the temperature in small kitchens if left to burn.

If we kept it on too long, we would probably suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning (a tragic scenario that kills about 170 people every year in the United States).

Not wanting to be poisoned, we shut the stove off pretty quickly once we smelled the gas.

After four more hours in darkness, the electric company finally fixed the broken transformer that had blackened most of a town.

What happened to me isn't uncommon. In fact, we had several more blackouts before I graduated.

What I should have done instead of (stupidly) using our gas burner would have been to use candles. And even though I was a broke college student, I could have still easily purchased some inexpensive emergency candles.

Or, even better, I could have made my own candles.

If you don’t have any candles in your emergency supplies, or if you need gift ideas for the college students in your life, here’s how to make your own emergency candles.

Benefits of Making Your Own Emergency Candles

Sure, you can buy candles from any emergency store. But there are plenty of reasons to do this yourself. Here are just a few benefits of using emergency candles:

  • They’re relatively cheap and easy to make (they can be made in a few hours and cost as little as $1.27 each to make)

  • It’s much cheaper to make your own long-life candles than it is to buy them

  • They add light to your home or shelter without increasing the heat (which is great if there’s ever an emergency situation during the warm months)

  • Making candles is a perfect weekend project

  • They last a very long time – up to 50 hours – if you burn them in 4 hour intervals

What You Need

As Teotwaki Blog shares, you only need a few simple things to make your own candles.

  • Soy wax flakes

  • Canning jars: Easily available at local stores and even Wal-Mart.

  • Wicks and Tabs

You’ll also need scissors, a double boiler, a pouring device (such as a measuring cup), and some safety gloves. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can makeshift one by getting a large pot, filling it about a third to halfway full of water, and then placing a slightly smaller pot inside.

Step by Step

The actual process of making your own candles are very simple.

  1. Cut your wicks down to the right size of your container. This is important if your wicks are much longer than your jars.

  2. Place your wicks in the jars. If they’re not quite centered, that’s fine – you’ll fix that when you pour the wax.

  3. Melt the wax flakes in your double boiler and pour it into your candle jars. (You want to leave about a quarter inch of wick showing above the wax.)

  4. Adjust your wicks so they’re centered.

  5. Let your candles dry.

(If you want to see photos of every step, check out Teotwawki Blog’s post.)

A Few Words

When adding candles to your emergency preparedness supplies, you need to remember to ALWAYS add one extra thing: a way to light them! If you don’t pack matches, a lighter, or some other way to light them, they’ll be as useless as cans without a can opener.

You can even check out our store to get some fire starters that are a perfect fit in any emergency kit.

Do you have photos of your emergency candles you’d like to share? Let us see them in the comments!


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7 Responses to Make 50-hour Emergency Candles for Less Than $2 Each

  1. Nathan B March 20, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    For a means to light it, I would say in the headspace between the candle and the lid you should have room to fit a book of matches or a small baggie of stick matches, and glue some sandpaper to the lid to give you a striking pad.

    • Tom March 21, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      Good idea Nathan. Putting the lid on will keep dust and dirt from getting on the wax while it is stored.

  2. Tom March 21, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    You can use parafin, also available at Wal Mart. Cheaper than soy wax.

  3. kimsclassichandmadesoaps March 31, 2014 at 2:24 am #

    You seem to be very creative. I suppose your mind never turns off. Awesome input!! Thanks .Great this is amazing I’m adoring your work

  4. Neil April 15, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    “Not wanting to be poisoned, we shut the stove off pretty quickly once we smelled the gas.”

    Carbon monoxide has no smell, that’s what makes it so dangerous!

    • Liz July 15, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      yes, but a lot of gas companies include an additive that gives the gas a smell to alert people…

  5. Judy Mccusker November 25, 2018 at 7:34 pm #

    When I was a young and a campfire girl we made stoves out of gallon cans. We the bottoms were cut out all we had to do was cut a door. Like an “L”. We took newspapers folded in half and cut cotton clothesline to make a wick. then we poured melted canning wax over them and rolled them up. These became our fuel for our can stoves. We cooked right on the top. Was fun and easy to do and use. Judy now 82 and still kicking !!!!!

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