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How To Make Your Own Long-Lasting Survival Candles

Emergency preparedness is important for any household. From natural disasters to financial crashes and every other situation in between, it is always wise to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family in the event that you are stranded in your home or have no means to buy supplies for living and survival. A must-have for any emergency survival storage is candles. Regardless of the disaster, the loss of power is almost always guaranteed. Candles can provide an efficient means of light and even cooking.

Purchasing large, long-lasting candles can be an expensive endeavor. Instead, lets take a look at some different ways that you can create your own candles that will last just as long for a fraction of the price.

Do-It-Yourself Survival Candle Options

There are several ways to make candles, ranging from in-depth to extremely simple, with each using a variety of different contents. Some options are, of course, better for the use of emergencies than others. More than likely, you aren’t going to be as concerned with scent and color as you are the burn-time and how efficiently the candle can be used in times of emergent need.

One of the greatest suggestions for an ultra-simple do-it-yourself candle that takes no preparation is the Crisco candle. This method can be ideal for situations in which you do not have emergency candles prepared but find yourself in sudden need. By simply inserting a string into a tub of Crisco, leaving about a quarter-inch of the string above the surface, you have instantly created a light source that will last eight hours a day for up to forty-five days. Incidentally, Crisco actually began as a candle-making ingredient before the Civil War.

There are also several traditional methods to make survival candles. In this tutorial, it is recommended to buy a case of mason jars, but alternatively you can use jars you have leftover from home-canned food or jelly that you’ve already eaten. It’s a perfect opportunity for recycling and reducing the cost of your emergency candles that much more!

Next you will need to find wax flakes. Recommended in our example is soy wax, as it is a great option for its slower and cooler burning. This type is also cheaper and easy to find from a variety of craft stores or online sites such as Amazon. You should be able to find a five-pound bag of flakes for under $12, and this amount of wax will fill about twenty-four fluid ounces once melted.

Finally, for this version, you will need wicks and tabs. These can also be found in almost any craft store or online, and they can be purchased in bulk for a low cost. You can even purchase wick on a roll for less cost, which also allows you to custom-cut for the length you require.

All of the tools you will need to make these candles can be found within the home. You’ll need scissors for cutting or trimming your wicks; a double boiler or two pots (one large and one medium or small); a pouring container, preferably with a spout; and gloves for hand and arm protection.

This new DVD is filled candle making activities sure to encourage warmth and creativity for your family…

From this point, the process is quick and simple:

  • Trim your wicks. Measure the container(s) that you will be using. Make sure to trim your wick about a quarter-inch above the rim of your jar or container. Insert the wicks into the tabs, and place them in the bottom of your jars.
  • Use your double boiler to melt your wax. If you’re substituting this with pots, fill your large pot about one-quarter of the way full and bring to a gentle boil before turning the heat down to low. Place the smaller pot inside of the larger pot, add wax, and stir until wax is fully liquefied. Be careful not to spill or splash water into the wax. Note: If you have a soy allergy, do not use pots that you cook with. Use pots that you have specifically designated for crafting purposes. If there are no soy allergies, it is safe to reuse the pots for food after washing with hot, soapy water.
  • Pour the melted wax into your spouted container, then use it to fill the jars until the wax is about three-fourths of an inch to one inch from the rim. Center your wicks and allow for the wax to cool completely and harden.
  • After the wax has completely cooled, trim the wicks to a quarter-inch above the wax surface. At this point you can place the lids on the jars for easy storage. Make sure to store them in an easily accessible space in case of emergency.

The larger your jar (or candle) the longer the burn time you will have. In our sample, the estimated burn time for an eight-ounce jar was approximately forty to fifty hours. For the twenty-four ounces produced by a five-pound bag of wax, this should give you about 120 to 150 hours of candlelight for just a small fraction the cost of a commercial survival candle of the same endurance.

Substitutes can be made for ingredients, and for those wishing to create all-natural candles, beeswax is available, though the cost of production is slightly higher than our sample above. Another effective method is making candles from liquid parafin. These alternatives have approximately 100 hours of burn time, but the liquid and shorter wicks may be a drawback for certain families, particularly those with small children.

Maximizing Your Emergency Candles

When placing your homemade emergency candles into storage, ready for use when needed, be sure to include with them something to start the fire (matches, lighters, or fire-starters), as well as items that may help enhance the use of the candles, such as mirrors or reflectors. The use of reflective material with your candle can help increase the amount of light output as well as generate a little extra heat from the candle itself. Try to consider every possible scenario and keep your supplies together and organized to eliminate a frantic rush to find your emergency supplies in the event that you need them.

©2012 Off the Grid News

© Copyright Off The Grid News


  1. What about using solid paraffin? We use it in canning jellies, etc. and it is readily available in retail stores!

  2. We love to recycle everything we can. Our emergency candles are obtained by reusing scented candles that have lost their scent. We purchase scented candles to enjoy in our home but we never light or burn them. Instead we use a small electric candle warmer ( miniature hot plate) that liquefies the candle wax and allows the scent to fill the house. We don’t like to have candles burning in our home for all the reasons you can think of and with the warmer we have absolutely NO worries and NO soot and the scent will last longer with high quality candles. With candle warmers we can leave the house without the worries associated with burning candles. We place the candle on a candle warmer in an inaccessible location to children and pets, plug it in and let the scent fill the house. We leave our warmer on 24 /7/365 without any worries. We purchase a high quality locally produced candle that sit’s perfectly on the warmer. Once the candle has lost its scent (4-6 weeks) we replace it and allow the candle to solidify. This candle that has lost its scent now becomes one of our emergency candles as all of the candle wax and the wick remain intact. Candle warmers (low to high quality) are available just about everywhere and are relatively cheap. Just make sure the candle you purchase will sit correctly on the candle warmer and will completely liquefy the candle to release the scent properly. In short fashion you can accumulate a good supply of emergency candles.

  3. Be careful of using regular (Mason) jars for candles. Even the tempered glass in a candle holder will break if it’s heated too hot–I’ve had this explosion happen to several of mine! If you’re going to use candles and want to use jars, please do yourself a favor and use the heat-tempered ones! They’re a bit more expensive, but it cuts down on the fire hazard and safety issues.

  4. Good ideas especially the Crisco one, here are a few of my own. Because I live in an area with more than abundant pine cones, I collect them and store them until my craft time. These are of course fire starters. However, the collection of wax and how I melt may be of use. I go to a ton of yard sales and many times people try to sell their just started to burn or even half burned candles, I will pick them all up in a collection and of course they look dismal thus the person selling will practically give them away, in fact I have picked up free candles this way. Next, when I melt them I will do it in the garage or a safe covered area, I use a hot plate that is designated for this purpose on a covered table. I use a metal coffee can that you can bend a spout on and I make sure I have a grungy old pot that is bigger than the can. These can be used repeatedly. I fill the can with chunks or broken tapers in a your double boiler style set up and wait. Once the wax is fully melted I dip a pine cone and let is dry on newspaper. These pine cones are good fire starters done this way, however I have also used old muffin tins than I pour some wax in, then the dipped pine cone, and last a piece of wick that is of course from the old candles. The wicks end up at the bottom of your can so you will need a designated pair of tongs. I recommend you pick up the tools you want at yard sales or thrift shops, don’t use for anything else. These kind of fire starters are a nice gift item for people that have a fireplace or wood burning stoves. When piled high in a container, they will give off whatever scent they came with. Now these are for fire starters but I am guessing these can also be emergency candles. I have gone so far as to include my kids junky crayons, pieces of canning wax and so forth. Note: When pulling out the wicks, place on newspaper and stretch them out, you can then cut to desired length. This project is one of the ultimate in recycling. Please remember, keep an eye out for safety, I also keep a milk jug of water next to the table to add to the double boiler and to have in case of an accident, however, in the over 15 years I have done this, not so much as a spark.

  5. I did some experiments cooking with a single candle flame. I was able to heat up a can of ravioli. I also preheated some water and then got it boiling with a propane stove. By preheating the water I was able to reduce the propane needed to boil water (about 8 oz I think) by about 40 percent. The next set of tests were going to be boiling water with multiple candle flames but I never got around to it. The Crisco candle thing has me inspired to try it out using birthday candles stuck in shortening. This would be very useful in a survival / emergency situation because you could add oils to the top of the shortening candle as needed which are no longer fit for human consumption such as rancid oils. You could probably use bacon grease also.

    This would be good for cooking. For lighting I prefer a good long run time flashlight:

  6. You can also use vegetable oil as a candle. Fill the jar about ¾ full of water add a small amount of oil and place a floating wick holder on the top and light. Remember the old “Un-candles”? This is what they are. Here is a how to guide . You can find the floating wick holder at craft store and on line

  7. Can you use any other type of shortning besides Crisco to make the candles. Can you use a shoestring for the wick? Barb.

  8. OOPs allrady posted that.

    How about micro-solar for under $50 incuding the car battery?

  9. Get a 1/2″ small piece of copper and solder two end caps on it. Drill and hole in the top and use strand of a mop and fill it with baby oil.

  10. I personally had been searching for suggestions
    for my very own website and located your post, “How To Make Your Own Long-Lasting Survival Candles – Off The Grid News”, will you mind in the event I really use a handful of of your own points?
    With thanks -Roseann

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  11. This candle that has lost its scent now becomes one of our emergency candles as all of the candle wax and the wick remain intact. Candle warmers (low to high quality) are available just about everywhere and are relatively cheap.

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