Instructables

Make a Butter Candle - Emergency Candle McGyver Style!

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Picture of Make a Butter Candle - Emergency Candle McGyver Style!
Most people wouldn't think of butter as a flammable substance, but in this project they are!  We're making emergency candles that burn for hours .. using some toilet paper, and a bit of butter!

Find more projects like this at: www.thekingofrandom.com
 
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Step 1: Watch the Video!



WARNING: An open flame poses a fire hazard.  Do not use near any flammable or explosive material.  Use of this video content is at your own risk.

Step 2: Materials You'll Need

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This is about as simple as it gets.

1. Butter
2. Toilet Paper
3. Something to poke a hole

Just find some butter (Margarine will probably work as well) and a small piece of toilet paper.  (Paper towel will also work fine).

Step 3: Prepare Your Materials

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You can cut the block of butter into as many pieces as you want.  

As a rule of thumb, I've found that 1 Tablespoon of butter will burn for about 1 hour.  I used a 4 Oz bar of butter (8 Tablespoons) and cut it in half to give me two 4-hour candles.  (4 Tablespoons each.)

Cutting the bar with the seam at the top will help minimize the paper from ripping as you cut through the block.  Also, the colder/firmer the butter is, the cleaner your cut will be.

If you're trying what I did, you should have 2 halves with the exposed butter side facing upward.  

Take something like a skewer or toothpick and poke a hole in the top at the center.  The hole should reach all the way to the bottom.

Next, take your piece of toilet paper and twist it tightly.  

I put a bend at the bottom so that when it stands next to the block of butter, only about 1/4" is exposed at the top. 

Your butter candle is now ready for assembly.


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I'd love to see it if you do!
shortw1 year ago
As soon as I read the headline, I knew where you are going with it.
It is a very good instruction.

Butter and toilet paper, ....a must keep for emergency situations.

As kid's we used butter and toilet paper to boil water.
Take 3-4 sheets of toilet paper. Butter your toilet paper like you would butter your bread (very thin). Then roll it up like a honeycomb beeswax candle or cigar.
Then you are ready to light it.
Put rocks or bricks around the toilet paper cigar so you can set your pot of water on it.
There is enough burning time/ fuel to boil 2-3 cups of water.

I showed this to my kids years back when we where camping.
This will also make a good firewood starter.
The King of Random (author)  shortw1 year ago
That's incredible! If you make a video of that boiling water, please share! Maybe even a video response to this one? I'd love to see it!
mooster1 year ago
I read in some women's magazine years ago that you can do this with a jar of Vasoline. I think they suggested sticking a birthday candle in it for the wick, but of course the tp idea would be even more readily available. Thanks for the informative video!
linny mooster1 year ago
What do you think, could you stick a birthday candle into butter, too, instead of a wick??
The King of Random (author)  linny1 year ago
Yep! That would be even easier!
The King of Random (author)  mooster1 year ago
Cool idea! I tried Vaseline yesterday and it seems to work just fine, so I think the claim is credible. Thanks for your comment and compliment!
shibuza1 year ago
I use a pack of paper matches, take the cover off & roll it tightly and push the end into a suitably sized metal nut. then place it into a bottlecap and fill with fuel. Wax will burn 3-4 hrs. Animal fat, mineral oil, vegatable oil,even grease will burn with varying degrees of efficacy. I generally use wax so I can carry 2 face to face in a pocket to start a fire under adverse conditions. Have used them in snow cave shelters & Adirondack lean-to's, they're just susceptible to errant gusty breezes.
The King of Random (author)  shibuza1 year ago
Is that right? Very interesting. By chance do you have a video or a tutorial to check it out?
Treknology1 year ago
Thibetan monasteries have lamps that are kept burning 24/7 with Yak butter.
The King of Random (author)  Treknology1 year ago
Nice! Where do you get this information?
I'm eclectic. Thibetan tea starts off as a red-colored resin which is boiled for days and is then flavored with rancid Yak butter.
The King of Random (author)  Treknology1 year ago
Very cool :) The idea of flavoring with rancid yak butter sounds like an acquired taste? :)
From what I've read, it's a VERY acquired taste!
The King of Random (author)  Treknology1 year ago
lol
IamTheMomo1 year ago
Butter is for delicious eating. A wick in a can of shortening will last far longer as an emergency candle. This prepper says it will burn for 45 days!
http://greatnorthernprepper.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/how-to-make-an-everlasting-candle-from-crisco/

The King of Random (author)  IamTheMomo1 year ago
Thanks :) Yes, I learned about the Crisco candle after I made this but I've never seen anyone prove it will go 45 days. That's quite a claim. Have these results been confirmed?
well, according the the creator, he burned it for 20 hours and was down an inch. so take 20 and multiply that by the depth of the can and that's how long a continuous burn would be. in hours obviously.
I would believe that burn rate based on my results. It would still have to be a pretty deep can to get 45 days out of it though :)
yeah, i'm tempted to believe it wasn't running continuously to have that kind of burn time.
I read the instructions on the crico candle. They are not talking about continuous burning . It will last a long time if you burn it for maybe an hour a day.
I used this method using a string wick and it tends to burn it's self out. Use the toilet paper wick and it will work.
Excellent. Thanks for sharing your experience!
natis4131 year ago
cool i watch you on youtube now i can find more details on here i'm the the one the only natis413
The King of Random (author)  natis4131 year ago
Perfect! I'm glad you found me here as well! Thanks for your comment!
itbedave1 year ago
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT A CANDLE! :D
The King of Random (author)  itbedave1 year ago
Haha
I make candles for a hobby - this is fantastic!
I posted your link on my website which leads to this page - you can see it here...
http://www.everythingguru.com/index.php/that-s-a-great-idea
Thank you so much!
That's great! I checked out the link, and appreciate what you've done! :)
dropkick1 year ago

Useless information (that many of you probably already know and the rest don't care about):


The wick in any type of candle shouldn't burn much except for when you first light it. The wick only acts as a conduit to transport the oil/wax/paraffin up to the flame and as a pre-heater for that fuel.


The liquid or solid form of almost every type of fuel doesn't burn, it's the fuel's gaseous state (or fumes from the fuel) that actually burn -so it needs to be warmed enough to turn to a gas, which it does while being pulled up the wick to the flame.


The usual reason a wick won't work is because it doesn't pull the fuel fast enough to give the flame time to heat the fuel to a gaseous state. Occasionally this can be remedied by having more of the wick out of the fuel, or by keeping the wick burning with a match long enough for the pre-heating action to start, or by doubling the wick to provide more surface area.


 


P.S. Margarine is hydrogenated vegetable oil (Crisco) with butter flavor added

The King of Random (author)  dropkick1 year ago
Thanks for the extra info dropkick :) As an example of your last paragraph, I tried lighting a match, and sticking the matchstick right into the butter for a minimalist approach. Unfortunately the wood fibers don't allow the fuel to be wicked fast enough to support the flame, so it didn't work, for all the reasons you suggested :)
Instead of butter I used Crisco and it works great.
I believe you. I've seen that life hack right after I made this video. They claim 45 days .. have you ever tried it that long?
Brilliant!!
Thank you!! :)
Hey...this is really cool. Thanks for the idea. Sometimes we forget where we put our candles and this would work great. Very, very simple. Thanks for the information.
I'm really glad you liked it Claudette! Thank you :D
How about the smell? Or the smoke? I figure it should smell like donuts or some greasy hot stuff. Also, it should put out some smoke too, butter isn't ment to burn smokeless. While it's good for emergency (just in some weird case you have no light but you do have butter) , it's certainly bad for ambiance...
I didn't notice much of a smell actually. If anything, I suppose it was a faint smell of popcorn but honestly nothing overwhelming enough to catch my attention on it :)
Oh, ok then :-) Popcorn sounds fine. Except if you don't have butter and use cooking fat instead... THAT smell will stick to anything. :-)
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