How to Make an Aluminum Can Stove




Posted in OutsideSurvival

Introduction: How to Make an Aluminum Can Stove

I show how to make a very simple alcohol burning soda can stove. It can be made with two aluminum cans, something to make small holes with like a nail, some alcohol or fuel and a coin. A beverage-can stove, or pop-can stove, is a do it yourself, ultra-light, alcohol-burning portable stove. The design is made entirely from aluminum cans, lending itself to countless variations. I chose to show this design because it is one of the simplest to make which makes it more useful than the more complex designs.

The bottoms of the cans are cut at a desired height usually around 2 inches and holes are made in one of the pieces. The small holes are made around the rim of the bottom of a can section and some holes made in the center. The two cans are then put together and some heat resistant sealant can be used on the joint to ensure no leaks. Sealant is not necessary if it is a tight fit. Fuel is then added into the top which will drain down the hole in the center. Ignite the top and let the can stove heat up and ignite the side, flames should start to come out of the holes in the top.

The aluminum Can Stove is popular in ultra-light backpacking due to its low cost and lighter weight than commercial stoves. This advantage may be lost on long hiking trips, where a lot of fuel is packed, since alcohol has less energy per weight than some other stove fuels. Of the available fuels, methanol delivers the least energy, ethanol somewhat more, butanol is hardly ever used, and isopropanol delivers the most. All but isopropanol burn with a smokeless flame; it can provide both light and heat.

Step 1: Materials

-two aluminum cans

-Box cutter/Scissors


-Nail (Or something to poke small holes with)

-A coin

-Alcohol or fuel

-Ruler or measuring tape

Step 2: Watch the Video

(The video may not show up for mobile viewers)

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what fuel do you use!!!!!!????????

I misread as Austrailum...


You need to be aware that Boy Scouts of America have banned the use of homemade liquid fuel stoves on camp outs. There were too many incidents of burns and explosions from improperly made stoves. Commercial stoves using liquid fuel are still allowed.

I'm in Australia, and our scouts are very responsible. We also gave them a good safety talk.

could you use hydrogen peroxide orrr....?

I'm assuming rubbing alcohol?

Pretty much an impractical, useless item....unless a pyromaniac might find a use for it. A Hobo stove at lest could be used to cook on.

Instructions sounded like they were made by a seven year old

I made several of those last year and gave one to my cousin.

with two soda burners, I placed a little amount of alcohol in both and
lighted them. With a pair of iron tongs, I placed one on top of the
other while both still burning. The top burner had burned like an
upward blowtorch until it ran out of fuel.


I made several of those last year and gave one to my cousin.

with two soda burners, I placed a little amount of alcohol in both and
lighted them. With a pair of iron tongs, I placed one on top of the
other while both still burning. The top burner had burned like an
upward blowtorch until it ran out of fuel.


This isn't exactly new. It is a minor variation on the "Hobo Stoves" we were making when I was a kid (to cook our dinosaur stew).

2 replies

that's interesting? What I know as a Hobo Stove is made out of a food can with a side cut open and is ostensibly fuelled with wood (twigs) which is a very different device. I wonder if it's a regional thing? :)

Like I said, A minor variation. Wee used to use two cans; one inside the other. Fuel is fuel. They were fun though and alcohol would be quicker to light.

works great with grain alcohol! and when camping in the state parks if some splashes in you mouth so be it

I was wondering about the orange flame, since I know alcohol burns with a blue flame. What kind of fuel did you use in this stove? You said the camp fuel wasn't as good, why not? (Less efficient, smell, etc?) Thanks - good build!

4 replies

Camp fuel does not burn as clean....that is why its orange. Alcahol burns complete and clean thats why it burns blue. During the day its a little safer to burn camp fuel because you can see if the stove is lit. Either way you should use caution when using a stove like this. It gets hot and will burn you if miss handled

Hi, pardon my denseness, but what is camp fuel?

Camp fuel is white gas.

Nice remake!

many alky burners burn yellow at the start then heat up and burn blue. Methyl or Ethyl alcohol is what you want.

NEVER EVER use isoproply, unless you desire soot, stink and low power output.

Do not use indoors, yu can use alcohol sold in paint department, or you have a speed shop that sells methyl out of 100 gallon jugs but it very cheap from them. The Yellow bottle of HEET that you put in a car's gas tank , is fine, The RED bottle is isopropyl and useless to you.

If you want to make and see really cool ones go to, there is also an Italian site (I can't remember the URL ).

mind you, if you like to play with stuff, these things can be very very addictive, and then you learn to cook with them. But most Back Packers just use them to boil water for boil bag type meals. You can do any thin meats or eggs(over easy or fried dead, or a nice scamble. You can make a very usable lid for a One Egg Wonder, which will hold 2 jumbo eggs scrambled then added ham/spinacchio/cheese. That happens to work out to a perfect fit for a kaiser roll, as would a hamburger)

Using two of them at a rest area in CT on 91 I made jumbo eggs in omelet with goodies and hot coffee, and hot tea and cocoa, for me and one of my kids. On lookers looked hungry, one gent asked if he could buy a sandwhich I had to turn him down (I only had 4 eggs ;-( )

I used a stove for mine , and while you call yours a stove it is a burner. The stove supports the pot/pan. I know that is mincing words, but I have been corrected so may times I adjusted.

resist the urge to put any other fuel in this thing or you will take a chance to win a Darwin Award!