Sunday, June 12, 2011

Instructions: Simple to Make Emergency Candles

Sawdust or Wood Shaving Emergency Candles are a fantastic light as well as a heat source. You can cook with them and heat a room.
Of course make sure you attend to these candles at all times, as you can see by the pictures in the tutorial they have a huge flame.

They are inexpensive to make for what they can do for your family. Simple to store and use. Of course wax has risen in price, just like everything else has. You can find the large slabs of wax for candle making at Michael's and Robert's Craft Stores. Both stores have coupons for 40% off most of the time. I would highly suggest if you are going to melt old candles to save yourself some money that you do not use SCENTED candles! Just imagine you are cooking some eggs over say a Jasmine scented candle, Yuck! 

Both of these sets of instructions tell you to add a wick. You don't need to add a wick. Cut a piece of cardboard about 1" by 2" and shove the 1" end into the wax/wood mixture before it hardens. Push the cardboard in about 1 1/2". The first time you light it, use the wick. After that you just throw a match on the top, and away it goes. Does it now go without saying to lay up a store of matches! Always remember, WHAT IF?

I know you are asking yourself, just where do I obtain the sawdust. Find a cabinet making shop. Some will give the sawdust away for free, others will sell it to you. We found free sawdust at a truss manufacturing company.

This makes a great Family Home Evening project. 

Here are two sets of instructions for making the Emergency Candles. They are both the same, but one has nice color pictures to follow along with.

Making a #10 Emergency Candle

1. Sawdust or wood shavings (1-1 1/2 lbs) per can
2. Wicks 12 " (1 per can)
3. Candle Wax (11 lb. brick will make 5 candles)
4. #10 tin can and plastic lid

Each #10 can requires abt. 2 lbs. wax and 1-1 1/2 lbs of sawdust/shavings.

Gather all materials together in one location.  Melt wax in a separate tin can over a large pan or electric fry pan filled with water (do this outside or in well ventilated area).

Mix sawdust into a bucket or small mixing bowl.  Pour melted wax over sawdust and mix well. Put mixture into your can and pack well to half full.

With a pencil, poke a hole in the middle of your mixture and then push the wick down the hole to the bottom of your can.

Fill the rest of the container with the sawdust/wax mixture to 1-2" from the top of the can.  Keep your wick about 2" above sawdust mixture.  Let stand until wax has hardened.  Seal top with a small amount of melted wax.  Cover with lid when cooled.

This candle should burn about 36 hours and keep a 12'x14' room warm.  It can be used for light, heat and cooking.  To keep a roaring fire, occasionally scrape the surface of the candle.  DO NOT USE WATER TO PUT OUT THE FLAME.  Smother the candle or dip the wick in melted wax with a spoon or knife.  To relight the fire, touch a match to the surface.  Replace the lid after the can has cooled to protect the unused portion.

Emergency Candle

Emergency Candles 003 Emergency Candles 004
Sawdust and or wood shavings
Emergency Candles 002
Wax - paraffin or old candle ends

Empty Juice Cans (46 oz)


6 cups loose sawdust

12 oz (1 1/2 cups) melted wax


Emergency Candles 001

Melt the wax in some kind of double boiler arrangement over boiling water. A large pot with a large bowl on top works fine. You DO NOT want the wax melting in something over direct heat of any kind, the chances of a fire are too great.

Emergency Candles 005

Pour over sawdust and mix well.
When it is cool enough to touch you can mix it with your hands.

Emergency Candles 006 Emergency Candles 007

Pack the wax/sawdust mixture tightly into the can within 1 inch from the top. You really want to pack it down hard and tight. The instructions called for a wick for lighting the candle. We packed in around it all the way to the top of the candle. Trim the wick.
(Idea here...... The wick is only used for the first lighting and I am not sure it is even needed there. For the next one I make I am going to stick a birthday candle in the top layer of the candle so that maybe 1/2 inch of it is sticking out for lighting.)

To burn the candle

***********SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY************

Keep out of reach of small children.
Have the candle on a flat, secure surface.
Protect surface with an trivet or pan to keep from melting your counter top.
Keep a lid or tin close by for extinguishing the candle. DO NOT BLOW IT OUT! You will at least singe your face and hair if not start a fire!

Emergency Candles 017

Light the wick and step back and watch it take off. (you might want to test your first burning outside, away from the house.)

Emergency Candles 019

Enjoy the large amounts of heat produced.
You put the candle out by putting a metal lid or something flat over the top for a few seconds. Warning it will smoke a lot when you put it out so you might want to remove it outside quickly.

Emergency Candles 021

For the next burning you just drop a lit match on the surface and it takes off. (I really think you could do that to start with but just for the sake of following rules, I included the wick.)
You may have noticed the holes punched in mine.

A candle this size should heat a 9x12 foot room and keep it from freezing for about 10 hours. I have not tested this yet though. That is what I gathered from people who had made them.
I really want to make a smaller version of this and use it to cook food or heat water for our 72-hour kits. This is something my older children should be able to use themselves during an emergency situation.

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