Introduction: How to Make a Torch for Less Than a Dollar

Picture of How to Make a Torch for Less Than a Dollar

With only a few "household items" you can make a torch that's relatively safe* that can last for up to an hour.

with the end of the world coming you might just need a steady source of light and heat.

*I am not responsible for anything you do with the information provided in this guide ... not that you couldn't figure this out on your own or anything ;)

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

For this project you will need an piece of 100% cotton cloth* (I used an old under shirt) a sturdy stick or a scrap piece of wood a stapler a hammer and tiki  torch oil or kerosene

*Has to be 100% cotton (or Kevlar ) materials such as cotton blend/polyester/rayon ect will melt when heated up and cause huge problems  (think melted plastic 1-3 degree burns ! )  

Step 2: Wrapping the Torch

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the first thing you want to do is get a rag that's about twelve inches wide and roughly twenty four inches long
Now fold it width wise until its about seven inches wide, and staple one end to the stick with a few staples

*You can use wire or wire mesh to affix the cloth instead of staples ( I used staples cause I had them and it took the least time to use) Do not use zip ties unless they are metal core. (the wire mesh will also help keep the ash together when the wick starts charring.)

Step 3: Tightly Wraping Torch

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You want to make sure you wrap the rag tightly around the torch so when it burns the rag doesn't fall off . to keep the rag taught put staples every two inches or so as you wrap. also try to tuck in the "frills" it will burn longer.
the tighter you wrap the wick the better it will hold up during burn time.

Step 4: Soaking the Torch

Picture of Soaking the Torch

You want to soak the torch in the tiki® torch oil or kerosene about ten minutes or more before use to make sure all of the fabric is covered with the fuel.  

any dry portions of the fabric will result in charring and early failure due to burning of the wick material.

Step 5: Lighting the Torch

Picture of Lighting the Torch

The torch can be lit many ways including sparks or embers 

*pro tip !   light from the tip of the torch and let the flames do the work by tilting the torch. 

Step 6: Now Go Crazy , Not Too Crazy

Picture of Now Go Crazy , Not Too Crazy

The torch can now be used for most any of your lighting and heat needs !

it's a great tool for lighting stubborn bonfires.

Be very careful using in enclosed spaces as an open flame can not only pose a fire hazard but also puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning and even death .


wolfgang64 (author)2012-12-15

An old farm trick. If you use cotton fabric, pork or beef fat (poultry fat burns too fast) use a hardwood stick and wrap it in iron bailing wire you have a much better torch. Dip the top quarter in the fat and light. and you have a solution that goes back to the middle ages. It will burn for hours. with no petro chemicals.

iman (author)wolfgang642012-12-16

That is a great idea thanks for the tip ! and that would be another way to find fuel in case of the apocalypse haha

If u use wax it's better because it can be carried without a bottle
It is slot easier
Trust me

LordSchoenfelder (author)2013-01-22

How long dose it last?

arynn mckenzie (author)2012-08-17

I have been looking for an economical torch for my brides maids to carry. This is probably the one. How quickly does it go up? Is there a way to make is makes it flare up quickly?

iman (author)arynn mckenzie2012-12-16

sorry for the late reply , you can light them easily by putting them straight in a fire or with a blow torch.

ARVash (author)2006-10-23

Could be useful for when the power goes out and zombies attack :D


How do you kill something that's already dead? O_O

rocksalt2342 (author)mushfiqc2009-05-05

UH you shoot em in the head.

Lance Mt. (author)rocksalt23422009-05-06

Repeditivly untill you cant call it a head, then you work your way down

rocksalt2342 (author)Lance Mt.2009-05-07

You only have shoot them in the head. or use a chainsaw.

just as long as the brain is destroyed-- shoving a crowbar through the eyesocket and using a swirling motion will suffice. haha, there should be a list of "zombie prevention" instructables.

why would you prefer a crowbar? yes, its good in survival situations, but if a zombie running is at you, I think your knee-jerk response would be to keep it as far away as possible. So the best thing would be to use a semi-auto rifle of some sort strong enough to pierce the skull to the brain, like a M1- Gerund or the Henry .44. wow, A zombie-education rant. Doesn't happen on this site too often, does it?

Gerund man?, Garand

Tayl90mm (author)rocksalt23422009-07-25

as i stated earlier, guns are nice but they require ammunition. if you read "the zombie survival guide" by max brooks you will be very well prepared.

rocksalt2342 (author)Tayl90mm2009-07-25

so, a gun isn't better or worse then a club, or vice-versa, it's all in the situation really. If you're being attacked by a horde of zombies, like 20 or more, then you don't want to go charging with your crowbar. you'll just get surrounded. but if it's a small group, or individuals, then hack them away. shooting them will waste ammo. unless if it's a really big zombie.

toogers (author)rocksalt23422010-06-18

the best would be a crossbow with a string tied to the arrow, and the other end to the crossbow. no need for extra ammo, yet it's effective from a range.

datgnat (author)toogers2012-05-24

Various weapons fill various needs. I need clothing made out of lots of different weapons--ouch; they're sharp and scrapy and hot--best to wear my bacon underwear beneath!

a zombe elephant

trevor3693 (author)rocksalt23422010-04-20

you would be suprised at all the zombie rants.

cwallace3 (author)monkeydavis-12011-07-16

shenrie (author)mushfiqc2011-03-02

they are "dead"

extrordinary1 (author)mushfiqc2009-05-12

Blow it's head off so it can't see ya!

Shut Up Now (author)ARVash2009-04-17

you may wanna sharpen the end like a spear for when the zombies attack. Not IF. i said WHEN!!! AHH!!

Kush_Slayer (author)Shut Up Now2009-05-05

sharpen the end like a spear? shotguns are used for the zombies

Tayl90mm (author)Kush_Slayer2009-07-25

shotguns require ammo and ammo is to heavy to be lugging around. the best weapon anyone could use is a katana.

Yah but a katana takes training

First of all..... close range/mele weapons are terrible to use against zombies.
Imagine you've got an open wound on your arm from the time when you killed a tank with nothing but plasma grenades/socks filled with explosives covered in grease and you're chopping off zombie heads with a broken beer bottle. suddenly zombie blood splashes into your arm. then you become  zombie and thats no good.
i mean, have you ever seen Kill Bill? when people get any kind of injury they seem to spray blood like fountains and i know thats exactly what real life is like because movies dont lie. i'd immagine you'd get blood all over you hacking zombies up with a fancy-pants blade. unless of course you're blade from the movie Blade. he kills like, 50 blood covered vampires in a room that has blood all over the floor and walks out without a single drop on him. amazing really.

Second... Zombies aren't real. Duh.

shenrie (author)needs_more_to_do2011-03-02

Yes they are too real, ever heard of rabies?

letstormdufield (author)shenrie2012-08-21

Or mad cow disease

Why aren't melée wepons great?!? Guns don't last forever and trust me I wish they did but blades don't need reloading or bullets if a zombie apoclypse ever happend you would be the first to die because you'll be shooting and run out of ammo and be like I wish I had a melée weapon while your being eaten!!!!

dla888 (author)needs_more_to_do2010-05-08

My child I think it is time you learned that Movies are not always right or truthful. Don't you watch mythbusters?

Also Zombies(if they existed) do not have a circulatory system. They are dead. SO that way their blood can't spray. It can splatter.

needs_more_to_do (author)dla8882010-05-18


shenrie (author)Tayl90mm2011-03-02

yeah because anyone can use a katana and it keeps you at a distance from zombies

Viaticus (author)Kush_Slayer2012-12-14

No...shotguns make too much noise and attract more zombies!

AJMansfield (author)2012-02-26

I made a torch like this using a piece of metal window screen mesh, and used lighter fluid for the fuel. It worked ok, but it dripped sometimes, any ideas how to make it work better?

nrork (author)2011-10-27

Reminds me of the ones I used to make when I was a kid. Except I used toilet paper instead of cotton-- I'd kinda twist it and wrap a whole bunch of it around one end until it looked like a huge cotton swab, and then I'd drench it in whatever cooking oil my mom had.

Lots of fun, I lived in the country so it got nice and dark at night. They burned pretty bright, I don't think they burnt for a full hour, but long enough to have fun with it for awhile.

iman (author)2006-07-26

not realy three or four dollars a bottle

mach9 (author)iman2006-11-07

The conversation seems to be focused on fuel...but wicks are made of fiberglass...wouldn't fiberglass sheeting make a better material and last longer. Can be picked up at most auto and boating stores.

shenrie (author)mach92011-03-02

What are you even talking about?

Entropy512 (author)mach92010-05-24

Fiberglass allows for a reusable torch (since it doesn't burn), but it isn't too absorbent so couldn't hold much fuel in this design of torch.

The real Tiki torches use a fiberglass wick dipped in a reservoir of fuel (similar to an oil lamp) - It doesn't result in nearly as large of a flame or as much light as a fuel-soaked rag, but it's fully reusable, just refill the fuel.

lemonie (author)mach92007-01-16

Glass fibre insulation is good. I recommend over-wrapping either cotton or glass fibre with wire mesh. This protects from damage & helps keep your wick on the stick. It's also good for 'footballs' i.e. packing a wire mesh ball. (be aware that glass fibres can cause skin irritation)

bloodymess (author)mach92006-12-02

actually, I think the wicking you're talking about is made out of kevlar.

electrician13 (author)iman2010-08-13

if your talking about an arizona iced tea can there $1 in new jersey, USA, for that matter probalbly $1 all over the USA

shenrie (author)electrician132011-03-02


electrician13 (author)iman2010-08-13

also it a can

Dr. Pepper (author)2011-01-17


electrician13 (author)2010-08-13

for a soaking can an arizona ice tea can would probalbly work best

Nykus79 (author)2010-04-22

use it to torch witch on the stake

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