How to make Candles in an Emergency

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How to make Candles in an Emergency

We all take light for granted, yet once a disaster hits one of the first utilities we will lose is the power. Sure, a flashlight will help in a pinch, but what happens if the power is out for a couple of days? How about a week? How long are your batteries going to last? Of course, candles are a key asset our team here at APE Survival recommends including in your survival cache, but things happen. Perhaps you needed to bug out. Or maybe it's a couple of months into a disaster and you're rapidly burning through the candles you had stocked beforehand. Don't worry. There are some easy ways to make candles from everyday household items, to keep the lights on in your home. But before we go into how to make these there's two rules.
  1. Never light a candle in a flammable container or on a flammable surface
  2. Never leave a burning candle unattended
The first step to making a candle is to get a wick. The wick is the string that sits in the center of the candle that carries to flame. Pretty much anything that will absorb the wax or oil can be used as a wick, just don't use polyester. It'll just melt. Cotton and linen are going to be your best bet. Twine or string works great, as does strips from an old shirt or a linen pillowcase. Tightly rolled paper towel can be used, and if you're really desperate sacrifice a pair of old shoelaces. Before you light your finished candle, remember to prime your wicks by dipping them in melted wax before you make the candle, or letting the oil soak into the wick for a minute or two first. Now let's get on to making candles. Butter. Once it gets warm (or is melted into liquid) it burns best, but you can make a quick candle out of a stick of butter. Cut the stick in half, poke a hole in the center for your wick with a toothpick then insert the wick, pushing it into place with your toothpick. Rub a little butter onto the wick as a starter, and light it. A tablespoon of butter will burn for about an hour, so a half-stick of butter will give you 3-4 hours of candlelight. I'd recommend placing the candle in a glass so any melted butter is captured and doesn't run all over the place. Crisco shortening. Depending on the size of your tin, you can usually get a full 24 hours of burn time with a candle made from shortening. Just insert the wick like you did with the butter, taking care to push it to the bottom of the tin, leaving about a quarter of an inch of wick to burn. Vaseline. Just like the shortening, push your wick into a jar of vaseline and it's ready to go. You can expect to get 4-5 hours of burn time out of a small jar, or if you're looking for a quick way to start a fire cotton balls soaked in Vaseline is one of my go-to pieces of fire-starting kit in my bug out bag. Cooking oil. If you've got an old oil lamp laying around these can be fueled with many different oils in your kitchen, such as olive oil, canola oil, and even coconut oil. If you've not got a lamp, you can make an impromptu one with a jar. Just take a piece of wire, like a paperclip, and bend a loop in it so it will hold your wick up and fasten it to the side of the jar. Then you just need to add the oil, until it reaches your wick and can be absorbed, and it's ready to light. In a pinch, you can also achieve the same lamp effect with an old soda can, or a beer bottle. Canned tuna. If you've got canned tuna (stored in oil), you can make a simple candle by tapping a hole in the top of a can and inserting your wick. Once the oil has spread to the wick, light your candle and enjoy the light. I like this method because it doesn't harm the food inside, which means you can eat it after the oil has burnt out, just be sure to cook and eat it the same day as the flame will pre-heat the tuna. This also works for any other canned meats that have been preserved in oil. Crayons. Raid your craft supplies and grab all the wax crayons. Peel the labels and melt them in a double broiler setup (this is a precaution because if wax gets too hot it can combust), before placing the wick into a container like a jar. I use a dab of hot glue to secure the wick to the center of the jar, before pouring the melted crayons in and letting them set. Then you just need to trim your wick to the desired length, and your crayon candle is good to go! Lipstick. Twist the lipstick so its sticking as far out of the tube as possible, and use a sharp knife on a cutting board to carefully slice into the center of the lipstick. Slide your wick into the cut, and push it into the center of the lipstick with a toothpick. Twist the lipstick so it returns back into the tube and it's ready to light, just make sure your wife is on board before you start turning her designer lipsticks into survival candles. There's no reason to be sitting in the dark when a disaster strikes and the power's out. J just remember to always put safety first. Never leave an open flame unattended, keep your candles away from anything that's flammable, and always have adequate ventilation when you're burning candles inside your home.