Candle Powered Pottery Heater





Introduction: Candle Powered Pottery Heater

The instructables site is great at finding solutions to everyday problems. I've found that the best solutions are that those that can be built with items that you already have around the house and don't take all weekend to make. My goal is to make this instructable fit both of those criteria.

With Hurricane Sandy leaving many people without electricity and heat, I figured that I would share this option for generating heat. Hopefully, this can benefit someone impacted by the hurricane, as well as yourself the next time you are stuck without heat.

Keep in mind that this will NOT heat your whole home, not even close. However, you'd be surprised at how it will heat up a closed room and will keep you from getting hypothermia. Essentially it takes the heat from the candle that would normally go straight up and radiates it out once the terra cotta begins to retain the heat.

My garage isn't heated and I used this today to provide heat while I was working on a project.

Step 1: Materials

You will need the following:

- 3 different sized clay planting pots

- 1 large bolt (approx. 5")

- 6 washers

- 1 flat bracket

- 1 Candle in a jar (like a Yankee Candle)

- 1 Alarmed looking black cat (optional)

Step 2: Thread the Bolt

1. Thread the bolt through the bracket

2. Turn pot upside down

3. Thread the bolt through the hole in the bottom of the pot

4. Turn right side up

Step 3: Put Washer in Bolt

1. Put washer on bolt

2. Thread the bolt through the mediam sized pot

3. Secure with a washer and nut

Repeat this step again with the small pot

Note: be careful not to tighten too hard and break the pot (like I did)

Step 4: Light the Candle

1. Light the candle

2. Surround it with 3 large mason jars or other non-flammable items that will act as the stand to hold the pots in place

3. Set the pots upside down above the candle and...

You're Done!

It takes a few minutes before it feels warm to the touch because the inner pots heated before the outer pot will retain heat.

Keep in mind that the last thing you need in a blackout is a fire. Make sure all materials are on a non-flammable surface. One idea is to put all of the pieces inside a large cooking pot.

One candle will heat up pretty well. If you can get a glass jar candle that has two or three wicks even better!

Stay warm.

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    55 Discussions

    When I saw this I couldn't wait to show my husband who is forever survivalist-minded. He loved it! We're going into town today and are going to pick up the few things we don't have to make this. He also suggested to put water in the jars, just in case it worked well to heat the water in the jars. This shouldn't be a problem since these are canning jars and are built to withstand heat anyway. Also, I have a woodworking table outside in our garage and general don't get to work on my stuff during the winter because it's so frigid. Looking forward to trying this in the winter season.

    6 replies

    Thanks for the praise. Now is a great time of the year to pick up extra pots since they are on clearance in many nurseries.

    So we made the thing and tried it, but it didn't seem to get very hot. My husband said it may keep a cup of coffee warm. We used a large candle with only one wick though. We are going to give it another go when we can pick up a candle with more wicks. :)

    Easy enough to get a large flat dish and melt the remnants of old candles into it Just mount multiple wicks in the base of it... or if you cannot be bothered, place half a dozen tealights in a glass dish... Tealights are really cheap and you can often get a couple of hours out of each

    I bought a terra cotta pot last night and brought it home, set it on 3 bricks and lit 4 small candles. Less than an hour later the candles were melted!

    They get so hot you can't touch them- it would most likely boil your coffee- One wick should be enough but the pots must be room temperature and dry. Ones brought in from a cold wet garden take days to properly dry and get up to a decent heat. Feel free to join my facebook group for more info

    This is a good idea but if you want it to really act as a heater with some good heat output, be sure to put lots of metal in the inside core. For instance, when I made mine, I put a washer, a nut that was too big (so it slipped right onto the bolt without screwing - in other words, it was too big), then another washer before putting on the nut that fits the bolt. I did this same pattern between all three pots. This gives the core lots of metal that heats up to higher temperatures than the one you saw at instructables.

    Metal cans heat very quickly but once the candles have burnt out the cans cool very quickly. Terracotta retains heat for a good while longer. It is also much easier to construct than using cans... remember how easy it is to cut yourself on a sharp tin edge... especially seeing as this may be something you do during a power cut when light might be an issue.

    BTW, I once read about how toxic those Made in China candles can be. I wonder what good old American candle makers use so as not to poison us all. As Jeremy has pointed out, however, this is for short-term emergency use, and you needn't stand over it and suck in the air.

    I like the idea of loading up on bits of metal. How about starting the bolt from the bottom with the small pot right side up and filled with what have you. (This would require a longer bolt, but there are always work arounds when you're in the garage or basement. I keep lots of "junk" around, and always pick up washers off the street. They are always needed for something, and this saves a trip to the HD. A washer, BTW, is worth far more than an equivalent coin you might pick up.) I have tons of small flat metal bars from lighting kits, as you can usually reuse the existing one when replacing a fixture. Older ones I KNOW were made of real steel. I would attach a few of these to the top. I would like to use a platform of bricks which might also become warm without becoming incendiary. Perhaps replace the Mason jars with more terra cotta pots, or better yet, those tall, slim terra cotta wine coolers from the 70's (thrift shops!). They might warm up some, too. Sorry to be so ideas tend to expand.

    This would work excellent with a hobo heater! To make a hobo heater, you need a short can, such as an empty tuna can. (wash & dry it first of course) cut strips of cardboard about 1/4 inch shorter than the can. Tearing it is best to leave rugged edges (will be your "wicks)..

    Tightly roll up the strips of cardboard in a big single roll to fit rather tightly in the can. Its fine if its not too it will expand when you let go after tucking the roll of cardboard into the can

    Pour in melted wax...any kind works...old candles, canning wax, even old crayons etc...but try to leave a few of the jagged edges poking up.

    Your done. They put off enough heat that hobos use them to cook on or to heat up small spaces. each one burns at least a couple of hours or more...

    I would stick them inside another clay pot to burn and stick that under your creation of clay pots.

    thank you for sharing this candle powered pottery heater idea. I'm sure it will help a lot of people...

    I've been making these for a few days- a friend recommended taking a tuna tin and placing three shelled tea lights in- then add the melted wax of three more tea lights. Three wicks will be visible but you only have to light one or two. This way it burns for a LONG time. In my experience the original tea light wicks get burnt up before the actual wax does so I make my own wick holders and today made my own wick.

    3 replies

    Use fiberglass wicks! They last a LONG time. You can just buy the little metal wick holders too, instead of buying pre-made tealights. Buying the wax/paraffin would also save some cash.

    Yeah I added you :) The more the merrier so we can share ideas so if you know others that might be interested feel free to add them.

    Bear in mind that all this does is slowly store up then release the heat of one candle, which is most likely insufficient heat for a large space.

    The heat output of candles is well studied. In this case a rough calculation of the heat output of the candle would be about 262BTU/h. To raise the temperature of a room approximately 12 feet by 10 feet by 8 feet by 1°C (assuming good insulation), you would need 341BTU. You would need to add an additional candle, say a jar candle with multiple wicks, to the heating apparatus to raise the room temperature by a little more than 1°C over the period of 1 hour. So this is not a particularly good room heater for a bedroom or other decent sized room, but could work for a smaller room like a half bathroom.

    1 reply

    This is good information. Thanks. Wouldn't the candle put out the same heat without the pots and steel pieces? The heat is dissipated to the room through convection and radiation in any case.

    Stop with blankets and stop with sweaters in house.

    This winter
    the heating problem I solved with simple candles and my Egloo!