Picture of Tin Can Camp Stove

This Instructable will show you how to build your own camping stove using household items, and cook a simple lunch.

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Step 1: Gather the materials

Picture of Gather the materials
  • a large can (2L or 1kg)
  • a small can (tuna or pet food)
  • corrugated cardboard
  • wax: paraffin, crayon, or candle
  • string or birthday candles
  • tin snips
  • scissors
  • bottle opener
  • food to cook (suggestion: grilled cheese sandwich or eggs to fry)

Step 2: Prepare the burner

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  1. Cut strips of cardboard the same height as the small can.
  2. Tightly roll the cardboard strips and place them inside the can.
  3. Fill the can with rolled cardboard.
  4. Place string or birthday candles in various spots to use as lighting wicks.

Step 3: Melt and add the wax

Picture of Melt and add the wax
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  1. Heat a pot of water on the stove. Place the wax in a smaller pot, inside of the heated pot of water to safely melt the wax. There is no need to boil the water.
  2. Pour wax onto the burner, soaking all of the cardboard. Do not overfill.
  3. Set the burner aside to cool and harden.

Step 4: Prepare the stove-top

Picture of Prepare the stove-top
  1. Using the tin snips, cut a small door that flips up and out at the open end of the tin can.
  2. Use the bottle opener to cut six vents spaced out around the closed end of the can.

Step 5: Cook

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  1. Place the burner on a gravel or non-flammable surface.
  2. Light the wicks.
  3. Place the stove-top over the burner. The top of the can will heat up quickly, and make a great cooking surface for anything fried, like a grilled cheese sandwich, or an egg. You can also place a small pot or frying pan on the stove top. If you cook directly on the stove top, don’t forget to grease the cooking surface.

Step 6: Extinguish the burner

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  1. Use a stick or spatula to knock the stove-top off of the burner.
  2. Wearing oven-mitts, use the large can to put out the burner, or flip the burner can over onto the gravel and let it smother itself.
  3. Let the stove and burner fully cool before trying to pack them up.
LesS13 months ago

this is so good, many years ago when I joined the Scouts I was shown breifly this concept but I didnt realt get he hang of it then.Now I DO!!! .. This has to be the next Scout project for me and the Troop... Many thanks ,,, Old Scout Leader

You had my attention at GRILLED CHEESE! This is great. I'll be using it this spring when I'm RVing in South Fork Colorado.

DIY-Guy1 year ago


I can see the possibility of storing a few of the fuel discs inside this stove can while it's being carried in a backpack. Very nice.

old_alex1 year ago

As part of a survival weekend
our scouts made these (- fuel / paraffin), hobo stoves.

#10 can provides a larger / better cooking surface.

Context was storm destroyed all your gear improvise shelter
cooking and food.

Fished, filtered / boiled water, made stoves shelter and
equipment with what was around
(seeded some equipment, cans plastic bottles, plastic sheets, stuff that would
be around after a storm).

I don't do car camping!

Good one

thezapman1 year ago
best to make sure your can isnt bpa lined. many are.

Great photos and documentation :D

+ bonus points for making me crave a grilled cheese