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.
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