Power outages are a common occurrence, whether they are caused by severe weather, utility companies cutting lines during construction, or heat-related power glitches. Candles are one of the basic items you should have in an emergency kit. Purchasing large, long-lasting candles can be quite an expensive undertaking. But with a few simple ingredients and resourcefulness, you can make your own candles for a fraction of the cost. Some of these don’t even require burning anything at all.
Five Simple Methods for Making DIY Candles
- Crisco candle: Insert a string into a full tub of Crisco, leaving about a quarter-inch of the string above the surface. This creates an instant light source that will last eight hours a day for up to 30-45 days.
- Butter candle: This is a much smaller variation on the Crisco candle. Cut off a lump of butter and poke a hole into it with a thin screwdriver. Put it in a dish, push in some cotton string, and light it.
- Orange peel candle: Cut an orange in half so the center stem is on the bottom and remove the fruit. Cutting it this way ensures that you will have an indentation in which to place the wick. Fill the orange peel with olive oil and light it.
- Solar walkway candles: Take the top off a solar light and bring it inside. In an emergency, this makes an excellent temporary source of light. More expensive ones have an off switch so you can use them only when necessary. Leaving the lights outside all day and bringing them in at night will provide a near limitless source of powered light.
- Flashlight and water jug candles: Take a small, bright LED flashlight and amplify its brightness by shining it into a clear partially full plastic jug of water. If it is a small, keychain-type flashlight, you can poke a hole into the top of the water bottle cap to support the flashlight. The water creates a diffuse, larger source of light, albeit dimmer than a flashlight alone. You can also shine a headlamp into a water jug for the same effect.
Place homemade emergency candles into storage along with matches, lighters, or fire-starters. Off the Grid also suggests using mirrors or reflectors because the use of reflective material with candles helps increase the amount of light output, in addition to generating a little extra heat from the candle itself. Remember to never leave any burning candles unattended.