Preparedness blog

How to Make a Candle Out of Anything

By Ready Expert
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Knowing how to make candles in an emergency is a great skill to have. With the right knowledge and skills, you can make a candle out of a wide variety of different objects including fruits, crayons, shotgun shells or even old candles.

Check out these tutorials below to see how you can make candles and become even more self-sufficient.

Early colonists would use berries to make candles. However, it wasn’t the most efficient processes - you need a lot of berries for it to work. With about 4 pounds of berries you can get about 1 pound of wax. Boil bayberries in water and cover. Once the water is boiling remove from heat and allow to chill. A thin layer of wax will form on the top - which you can scrape off and use to create the wax for your candle. Run the wax through a cheesecloth and allow to melt again if needed in order to form into your mold.

Olive Oil CandleOlive Oil
Since olive oil is a fluid, it’s harder to “stick” a wick in of it. Flatten out a paperclip and form it into a shape that will hold onto the wick and the side of a jar. Then fill your jar with olive oil - allowing the oil to spread onto the wick.

First, locate a large orange and cut it in half. Gently pull away the peel so that it stay in one half-circle piece. You’ll have two orange peel halves - one with a little orange core attached to it. Add about a half inch of olive oil into the base of the orange peel half. Make sure the core gets soaked with olive oil too. Allow the oil to settle for a while and make sure that it’s crusting on the core. Light the “wick” and you’re set to go!

Add a bunch of crayons into a bowl of water. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Collect cookie cutters or any other type of molds you would like. Spray the molds with non-stick spray. This will allow you to easily remove the wrappers from the crayons. Place 10-15 candles in a container that you don’t want anymore. Place the candles in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until they are smooth. Quickly pour the candles into the form that you’ve created because it will harden fast. Let the candles settle for 5 minutes and then place the wick.

Old Candles
Once you’ve used your wax candles, don’t throw them away. You can reuse the wax to create new candles with new wicks that you buy. Make sure there are no wick pieces in the wax and cut the wax pieces into smaller chunks. Spray the inside of a shot glass or other mold lightly with non-stick spray. Set the pre-waxed wick at the bottom of the mold, extending to the top. Now that the mold is ready, set up your melting device (or a double boiler). Set a sauce pan inside of a larger pan filled with water and melt the wax inside. Once the wax is melted, pour into your mold and allow to set and cool.

making shot gun shell candlesCrisco
This might be the easiest candle to create. Simply shove a candle wick (or a piece of string) into the middle of an open tub of Crisco. You’ll want to use a long stick or skewer to push it to the bottom. Hit the tub on a hard surface to settle the contents. Not only will the gigantic candle burn, but it will burn for 45 days.

Shotgun Shells
It’s probably a given: ONLY use shotgun shells that have been used and are empty. Do not light active shotgun shells.

Add wax to a double boiler - or into a sauce pot that is sitting inside of a larger pot of hot water. Turn to medium heat so the wax is melted but not burning. While that is melting, use an old toothbrush to clean and brush the inside and outside of the shotgun shell. Pour the melted wax into the empty shell and place the wick. Once the wax is cooled and settled, remove the plastic outer layer of the shell with an exacto knife and keep the wax candle on the metal base of the shell. Light-a-way!

We’ve even see someone make a candle out of lipstick! Just twist the lipstick out as far as it can go and lay sideways on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut a slit in the side of the lipstick. Lay the wick into the slit and slide to the middle of the lipstick. Roll the lipstick back into it’s tube and light it up.

What lights your fire?
So, what have you used? Comment below to share your knowledge and what you’ve seen candles made out of. Knowing how to make candles in an emergency is a great skill to have. With the right knowledge and skills, you can make a candle out of a wide variety of different objects including fruits, crayons, shotgun shells or even old candles.

12 years ago
12 years ago at 7:35 AM
I learned the following information from "The Little House Books." Place some lard, Crisco or oil in a saucer. Wrap a button with a scrap of fabric tying the edges together with string. Place the button "wick" side up, in the middle of the saucer - creating a Button Lamp. Those pioneers were resourceful!
12 years ago at 8:32 AM
Make sure it's not a plastic button before you make a button lamp. Buttons in those days were usually made of shell or bone or metal.
12 years ago at 7:50 AM
when making berry wax candles do the berries need to be edible? if they are edible can you use the leftover berry mush after removing the mush to make jam or pie filling? What berries work the best?
12 years ago at 11:03 AM
Where do you buy candle wicks?
12 years ago at 9:29 AM
Dennis, you can get wicks at any craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Good luck, I'm going to try the crayon trick. We may be in a not so good situation but no reason we can't be colorful.
12 years ago at 10:04 PM
Candle making supplies are also available on Amazon and are very inexpensive.
10 years ago at 6:15 PM
u can burn a crayon just as is... i tried it before... 30 mins the most and make sure u still have the paper things on the outside
10 years ago at 4:09 AM
Good advice about only using shotgun shells that are inert. Unfortunately, I DO know that there are some people that would just dump the shot out and then try to use them as a candle. I'm sure, too...that we all know "at least one" nimrod that would do this...;)
10 years ago at 5:28 AM
Ones that I've tried are using a tuna can with coreagated (?) cardboard rolled up and put inside . Make sure you have the top of the cardboard about t he same height as the can. Put the wick in center and pour heated oil into can.Make sure to have the lines of cardboard going up and down. That way ya have more oil in there and it will last longer. Works like a charm. The other one is to save old cooking oil. After frying fish , fries , etc. Yep its gonna smell BUT you'll have a light if needed. Do it just like the Olive Oil directions above. Also on the leftover cooking oil one I just put the oil in the old cooking oil bottle or can.
Lynn H.
9 years ago at 8:34 AM
Kay: That was a good one. I am going to try all of these. I have tried some.
9 years ago at 11:31 AM
Sand candle instructions might be helpful.
9 years ago at 8:02 AM
Hey! Remember those 'floating' wicks from years back? They still sell them. I keep several packs around. Awesome idea...just pouring some olive oil (or whatever oil/fat/grease you have and plopping the floating wick on top. Lighting it, it doesn't melt the 'floating' part....burns a very long time.
3 years ago at 3:23 PM
I still do this. In fact there were a few nights in the winter that this really came in handy for supplying a little extra heat for my room.
3 years ago at 3:39 PM
Don't use fresh cooking oil for lamps/candles - use up oil that's gone rancid as it's more frugal not to waste. For fragrance stir in a few drops of essential oils into light bodied (lighter than olive oil which has it's own scent) lamp/candle oils. Lemongrass or citronella oils added can help keep mosquitoes away when used outside with oil lamps/candles.