Introduction: How to Make Waterproof Matches

Picture of How to Make Waterproof Matches

This instructable will show you how to make waterproof matches using a candle and non-waterproof matches.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need

You will need:

A candle


Step 2: Light the Candle

Picture of Light the Candle

First, light the candle and wait for some wax to melt.

Step 3: Blow the Candle Out

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Now blow the candle out after there is enough molten wax to dip the match tip in.

Step 4: Dip the Candles in the Wax

Picture of Dip the Candles in the Wax

Next dip the tips of the matches in the molten wax. This will create a waterproof barrier against the water.

Step 5: Let the Wax Set

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Finally to make them fully waterproof let the wax set making sure they don't stick together.

Step 6: How to Use

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To use scrape the wax off the match and light it like normal.


funtogether made it! (author)2015-08-20

I made it using crayon wax instead of traditional candle wax. This is an amazing instructable! It inspired me to make this instructable. Thanks for the inspiration!

Conor M (author)funtogether2015-08-22


alcion (author)2015-05-04

good idea thanks!!

quet (author)alcion2015-07-07


quet (author)2015-07-07


friedlifresh (author)2015-04-16

hmm, i don't like the idea of wax. breaks very fast, and in sunlight it melts... i made matches with NAIL LACQUER. The lac endures time, temperature and pressure.

Conor M (author)friedlifresh2015-04-16

It's not the best but is better than getting all your matches soaked

Nrgdragon (author)2015-04-12

Just a heads up,step 4 said "Dip The Candles In The Wax".It should be "Dip The Matches In The Wax".

Conor M (author)Nrgdragon2015-04-13

Thanks will fix it

harmonious1 (author)2015-04-06

I wonder why you couldn't just stack them, as you dip them, into a block and let them stick together and then break them apart only as you need to use them? I wonder if that would increase the water-proofiness as well as keep them all together as a unit, so that if they were dropped say, into the lake, they would be easier to find and grab back up?

IstvánS (author)harmonious12015-04-07

If you broke them up after the wax dried it'd crack and peel off of the other sticks.
Especially true if combined with your other idea

harmonious1 (author)IstvánS2015-04-08

BUT - maybe the wood would have absorbed enough wax already to make them water repellant anyway? I'm going to try it and see.

harmonious1 (author)2015-04-06

Good idea and good instructable!
I think I would put the entire match into the wax, stem and all. That way if they were exposed to long-term moisture, like high humidity, or even being dunked for a while, it might prevent the moisture from climbing up the stem and saturating the wood, thus ruining the top of the match from the inside.
Not very clear, but you know what I mean, the match stem might wick moisture like a candle wick.

kiệnj (author)2015-04-06

really? I have to do it now

macgyver71 (author)2015-04-05

Old Cooper - that gave me (pleasant) memories of my time camping at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco (yes, the same place they filmed Friday the 13th....when I was 8. next year at camp there with many a sleepless nights LOL). I STILL keep a box's worth of those "firestarters" in my bag.

epplebear (author)2015-04-05

Got MY STRICK ANY WHERE MATCHES AT A Army Navy store. I take floss and tie 10 together, leave enough floss to dip into wax.First I dip heads let dry then the 10 together. Called fireflies. Ours burned 8-10 min. Great for camp fires.

Old cooper (author)2015-04-05

A good old Boy Scout trick. I like the candle wax idea as it is a bit easier than melting canning paraffin like we used to do. As boy scouts, we used to make "fire starters" by dipping whole match sticks in the wax, and tying about 8 or 10 head to tail with a bit of string, maybe even dipping the whole thing back into the wax. You could light by scratching or with another match, but you could generally get a carefully planned fire going, even if some of the wood was damp. As someone said, the wax was just added fuel.

And one last "scout" trick, a few ounces of vegetable oil, even used oil, can be a big help in getting a fire started, again, even in damp conditions. Beacon grease is also good, but I have heard that bears love beacon and will come a running for dinner.

- Old Cooper

Conor M (author)Old cooper2015-04-05

I like all of these ideas
I might even make a instructable on it

Old cooper (author)Conor M2015-04-05

Please do if you feel the information is worth it.

Old Cooper

allen.benge (author)2015-04-05

As a former Boy Scout, camper and hunter, I assure you this is not nonsense. If you are ever in a survival situation, waterproof matches can save your life. I know several other ways to start a fire in a survival situation that I would trust to help survive and help rescuers find me. People die every year because they get lost or their vehicles break down in either snow country or other inhospitable place. It is a good idea to research and find all you can.

bd5 (author)allen.benge2015-04-05

No, you misunderstand me. 'Nonsense' is not selling those matches in the state. This wax idea is nothing short of brilliant.

jmood (author)2015-04-05

+bd5 "I don't want to know any more." — The first step to ignorance.

You hide behind a three character pseudonym, yet I use my name, traceable to my Facebook account, using my real name.

If you don't want to know more, why are you seeking knowledge by reading the fine content on "Instructables"?

If you aren't aware, the government in SOME states has placed regulations on some of the most innocuous (and formerly ubiquitous) products because someone may have injured themselves, somewhere... And some crybaby said we have to protect people from themselves. Common sense was good enough for all the preceding generatiosn in my family, but they were good enough to pass on some native intelliegence and common sense, not ignorance.

When in fact, in other countries, there's no warning on the edge of a cliff, other than a chain and a danger sign. it's understood that if you go past the chain, you do so at your own risk... if you go to a professional baseball game, you do something known legally as "assuming the risk" (You might get beaned by a foul ball or a line drive.). Which is what we do when we use our brains and research and learn and experiment. We would not have AC current had Nikola Tesla not been willing to think outside the box.

Please,bd5 , stick your head in the sand, you may find there's a use for sand.

baecker03 (author)2015-04-05

how well do they light after wards?

allen.benge (author)baecker032015-04-05

They light excellently, especially with the strike anywhere matches. The wax coating seals the match head from moisture, but do not interfere with the function of the match when needed. This method is much more economical than spending $5 for twenty waterproof matches bought commercially.

allen.benge (author)2015-04-05

Another good old boy scout trick is the step after matches. Save the cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls and fill them with lint from your dryer's lint trap Build your fire kindling over the tube and light it with your match. This works amazingly well, even with damp kindling.

LarchOye (author)2015-04-05

ACTUALLY, the best method for doing this is to use Strike Anywhere matches (since the probability that your striking surface will wind up getting wet and being unusable is fairly high), which you can light by simply striking two matches together.

As far as the candle wax goes- it's actually a lot easier and faster to use a nice wide candle, and let it melt down the sides of the candle so that you make a nice large puddle of liquid wax. Then, you can simply leave the candle lit- and just quickly dip the matches in the wax. Also, it only takes a micro-thin layer of wax on each match to totally waterproof them [I've tested this by submerging the finished matches in a dish of water for over 5 days, and they still always fire right up the first shot!].

An interesting note about this method, is that the wax is actually the Fuel of a candle- and it also functions as a fuel/fire starter for the waterproof matches, which is really nice if you're ever trying to light them in the wind, or if you're down to your last match or two- as these are almost guaranteed to light up and burn all the way down- AND, the wax actually helps the matches to burn longer than they normally would by themselves [which is great for starting fires]!

jmood (author)LarchOye2015-04-05

I've been looking for "Strike Anywhere" matches for the same reason you state, and I'd LOVE to know a source.... It seems the Nanny State or liability lawyers have hosed it for us old school folks.... Maybe an instructable on how to make them!

Snidely70448 (author)jmood2015-04-05




jmood (author)Snidely704482015-04-05

I WILL be using the link, thank you so much. I may give it a whirl.... If ya can't buy it make it.

spark master (author)jmood2015-04-05

what state? wehave them in NY and I have seen them in PA/MASS/NJ while camping.

billbillt (author)jmood2015-04-05

Yes, strike anywhere matches seem to have quietly all but disappeared..... The camping section of WalMart here still has them(for now)...

Conor M (author)jmood2015-04-05

Sorry don't know how to make strike anywhere matches.

jmood (author)2015-04-05

No they don't in SC... some nanny state rule I suppose. They'll sell you a thousand other things that are WAY more dangerous, but you can't seem to get strike anywheres in SC...

travcoman45 (author)2015-04-05

Try Ace Hardware for the strike anywhere matches or Hy Vee Grocery store if you have one. They can also be ordered on line but are rather expensive that way.

malc in Spain (author)2015-04-05

Yep! I read this and immediately recognised a good idea.

I have an emergency haversack for the "Just in Case"

I do have a fuel lighter, but this is a good reserve idea,much better than placing matches in a polythene bag as humidity can dampen them.

So thanks.

A good Instructable.

malc in Spain

AngeloMagbanua (author)2015-04-01

nice ♥♥♡♡

BruceE3 (author)2015-03-30

This is great! Thanks for sharing.

Skwurlito (author)2015-03-28

nice. You might try strike anywhere matches. Might be good to dip past the tip a bit. Pick up a rock. Strike. No wax removal. Yay strike anywheres.

Greenthorn (author)2015-03-27

Cool life hack..... clean and easy ☺

eshagh.kazemi.9 (author)2015-03-27

very easy,very nice!!!!

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