Alcohol Burner





Introduction: Alcohol Burner

Don't have a bunson burner? Don't feel like paying too much for fuel? Parents don't trust you with a bunson burner? Have some alcohol to burn? Than build yourself an alcohol burner for about a dollar or even free!

WARNING!!! I am not responsable for any damage caused by this, even though it is pretty safe.

Step 1: Materials/Equipment

Most households will have all of the materials and equipment required to create this alcohol burner.

- A jar with lid, preferable a glass jar with a metal lid
- Alcohol, I used rubbing alcohol
- Paper Towels
- A drill bit, I used a 3/16 inch drill bit
- A drill or drill press
- Scissors

Step 2: Prepare the Jar

First drill a hole into the lid of the jar, preferable near the center, but it really doesn't matter.

Step 3: Create a Wick

Fill up the Jar with the alcohol about 7/8's the way up, just leave room for your wick.

To create the wick you have to cut a strip about 1 inch wide of a paper towel the long way.

Then dip the strip into the jar with the rubbing alcohol.

Next fold the paper towel in half (so that it's half as short, not thinner)

Twist the paper towel.

Step 4: Force the Wick Through the Jarlid

The title of this step pretty much explains it, have about a quarter of an inch sticking through the lid.

Step 5: Screw on the Lid

Screw on the lid

Step 6: Flame On!

Light it up!

Step 7: Saftey and Trouble Shooting

Heres just some facts about this alcohol burner

- Snip off burnt parts of the wick

- Glass breaks when it gets to hot, the glass won't break in this burner because the alcohol cools it.

- Whenever your outside with this it's extremely hard to see the flame, but it's still there.

- right after you blow out the flame the wick is warm to the touch, usually it's not hot enough to burn you.


The wick just burns up - You either didn't soak it in the alcohol or the alcohol evaporated.

Glass Shattered - You dropped it, shot it with a gun, put it in an oven, etc.

Enjoy your new alcohol burner!



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    if you used plastic it might melt

    Oh okay, I've only waited 2 years for a reply.

    Not to be mean, but if you see what he made and neede to ask that, how are you still alive? Darwin should have already taken you out. I am not saying you should die, but , can I use plastic bottle.......

    at least you got an answer, be happy

    Some safety issues need to be addressed about this lamp design.

    made the lamp. But, it "exploded" in a fire plume at periodic intervals violently enough so that the glass jar I was using almost tipped over. I suspect the oxygen in the lamp mixed with the evaporated methylated spirit vapour I was using and when the flame on the wick burnt down low enough the heat caused the mixture to ignite and explode. The methylated spirits then began to evaporate again until the mixture was the right proportion of air-alcohol at which point it exploded again. This design is not safe unless you can prevent air leaking in through the wick hole. I REPEAT, the wick hole must fit very snugly and be soaked with alcohol to prevent further oxygen entering the jar and also to stop the wick burning too low down. Also I advise to keep the jar mostly full at all times to limit the amount of air-alcohol mixture that can exist within the lamp body, thus reducing the risk of explosion. Also the liquid
    alcohol will diffuse faster up the wick and keep it from burning down
    too low.

    1 reply

    You over pressured the bottle, with a proper wick it doesn't happen , a true explosion would have truly hurt/killed you. If I take a pipe cap one end, then fill it with water then cap it and ross in a roaring fore, eventually it "explodes", due to vapor pressure, not oxygenated calories in a REDOX senario. reduction oxidation, can be real fast (bomb) real slow (rusting), alky stoves , JUUUSSST RIGHT

    This sound just a bit dangerous. I would use a professional type of alcohol lamp from a scientific company.

    Here is a picture.

    alcohol burner flame.jpg003.jpg004.jpg
    1 reply

    That has a wick of somekind, I did my post b4 I saw this , thanks but still url?

    Also I thought of reducing the risk of a fire so I bought a wickless flameproof alcohol burner from a scientitic company too. This is quite good and I think there could be some improvements here too.

    1 reply

    can you put a picture of it or a url link so we can see one?

    This is fine as is, a proper wick is cheap and better, but I am curious to see what you found.

    Alcohol stoves and their fuel can not "explode", but a leak that catches fire can not be seen at all in very bright light, so there are bene's for other methods. That said a simple out of control alky fore can be put out with water or a wet mop or a water soaked towel, and you can get a mild woosh, but not an explosion or the woosh from say a gasoline fire. You can make really cool Alky stoves see, if you use a wick system using carbon fiber, you get something that will last an extremely long time, and can ge used with other toys as a stove to make a hot coco. or fry an egg, or cook a burger. I used to make a 2-3 egg omelets with spinach and ham and cheese,one plus hot tea /coca for my kid an a single cop of real coffee for me on the road. (little tiny pan, with home made domed lid, 3 alky stoves, 2 home made). I also have done corn cake with apple pie filling, powder sugar topped, in a 3 rock dutch oven using camping cook set.

    Now that I have seen digitizer101's vids on how he makes the continuous fill wick burners, I am ready to bake. This guy with Zelph and Hiram Cook and Benniblueyes just to name a very few of the many, I have learned so much about combustion and fun stuff.

    To the Gent who did this

    Bravo molto buona

    spark's a flying

    Hello again I just bought a wickless alcohol burner from Prolab. It was fairly expensive.

    Again the flame can be up to 4-5 cm and it generates a lot of heat. I always for SAFETY clamp down the flame unit. Shown in picture.

    flame test 3.jpg

    Well... I did exactly like the steps, and it did not work. It only burns the alcohol a bit on the paper towel and the paper towel just burns. It's the second time stuff on instructables did not work. Looks like you have to be an american to do all this things.

    simple and it works two items to offer use yellow bottle of HEET or any methlye alcohol NEVER use rubbing/isopropal alcohol since they tend to soot up and smell even. If you can get AIRBRAKE LINE ANTIFREEZE, it is pure denatured (methly) alcohol . SLX brand alcohol (from paint sore) works. The same maker has a really nice , but more expensive mix JUST for babies like this, it has a higher rate of ethyl in it so more calories per burned oune, with no additives and is sold in a green labled can (paint stores/big box stores)

    second alcohol stove never explode. Over heated they pop (shatter if glass) that is due to pressure. You then can get a fire ball, but alky stoves usually just burn up real fast if they pop open, and this is dangerous, especially in day light hours when seeing the flames is near impossible.

    Coleman fuel/white gas/gasoline butane/propane stove cannister can be detonated rather nastily, not true of an alky burner.

    like this article

    see for more flammable fun, beware though you can die playing with fire , rather painfully. So I say play , but I mean use wisely for pleasure.


    would the flame ever reach the jar to make a potential explosion? Good Instructable Two thumbs up.

    2 replies

    you can make a shim out of aluminum foil if you are worried. I don't think that'll cause an explosion though because it's not in an enclosed space

    yes, the alcohol would not explode, it would begin to burn, but not explode.