If you use any sort of candle holder in camp then you will end up with stubs of candles left over.
Rather than wasting this wax, you can make a really good improvised candle from these remnants.
The only things you will need in addition to the stubs of candles are a small tin can and some paper towel.
Both of these are usually readily available in a base camp.
Small tins of fruit or sweetcorn are of a particularly useful size for this project.
First give the can a quick rinse out with water so there are no foodstuffs left inside.
Collect the candle stubs and when you have enough pop them into the tin can filling at least a half of the tin.
Don’t worry about trying to remove the wicks of the original candles. It doesn’t matter.
Making Your Tin-Can Candle
Once you have enough candle stubs and a tin, you can get to work making your new candle
You’ll need to have an established campfire to melt the wax of the candle stubs.
Place the tin can next to a campfire and allow the radiant heat of the fire to melt the wax of the candle stubs in the tin. Beware! The tin can will also be hot.
When the wax has melted completely, it will form a clear liquid. The wax is now ready to introduce an improvised wick. Take the tin away from the fire. Use some heat-retardant gloves or tongs to move the tin.
Take a piece of paper towel and twist it up into something around the thickness of a pencil.
Dip one end of the wick in the wax so that it is coated and allow this to dry off a bit.
Then invert the wick and place it into the wax, so that the entire length of the wick has been soaked in wax.
The wick should be positioned in the centre of the tin but will not stand up unsupported. So you must hold the wick in place until the wax sets. The easiest way to do this is take a couple of sticks and placed them across the top of the tin either side of the wick, holding it centrally in the molten wax.
Once the wax has set, you can remove the sticks and you will be in possession of a fine improvised candle.
Please note that this candle will burn much more strongly and brighter than a normal household candle. This is ideal when you want more illumination in camp than a single candle will provide.
You should also note that it is quite difficult to put out and the tin becomes hot. Therefore you must be careful about the surface on which you place the improvised candle and you must also take care not to pick up the tin while it is hot, even after the candle has burnt out.
These candles provide a great source of illumination even on the darkest nights in camp. They are also really quite wind resistant, partly because of the size of the wick and flame as well as the natural wind protection provided by the sides of the tin.
So, next time you’re using candles either in a candle lantern or candleholder around camp, why not save the candle stubs and make one of these great improvised candles?
Latest posts by Paul Kirtley (see all)
- PLAN: A Framework For Prioritising In A Survival Situation - April 8, 2015
- PK Podcast 007: Jules Pretty, Travels With Enduring People In Vanishing Lands - April 1, 2015
- As Thick As A Capercaillie: How To Build A Long Log Fire - March 20, 2015