Introduction: Least Cost Outdoor Stove

Picture of Least Cost Outdoor Stove

it's really easy to build a stove for use out- or indoor.
This one is very lightweight and easy to use.
It tooks only two minute to build and the weight is about 10 gramm.

Step 1: Candle Lights

Picture of Candle Lights

you need two candle lights

Step 2: The Cups

Picture of The Cups

take away the candles, we need just the cups

Step 3: Fold

Picture of Fold

We have to fold one cup in such a way that it becomes little smaller on the upper side.
We can use a tang or just your fingers. One or two millimeters are enough.

Step 4: The Burner

Picture of The Burner

Put a piece off clothes in the smaller cup.
You can take a piece off your old jeans or something else but take no syntetic.

Step 5: Close the Cups

Picture of Close the Cups

We must put both cups together and they should fit smooth.

Step 6: Cut

Picture of Cut

Now must we cut some hole in the upper cup.
First smal holes on the outer circle and then smal holes on an inner circle.
Finally cut two lines in the centre.
Open the four triangle in the middle.

Step 7: Use

Picture of Use

Just fill some Tenol or methylated spirits in the cup and light the fire.
The stove will heat two cups off coffee or soup for you easily.
Never use gas or other stuff, only methyated spirits.


IdahoDavid (author)2007-06-07

For the benefit of Yanks, methylated spirits are called denatured alcohol over here. Don't use rubbing alcohol. That has water in it and it will put out black smoke. You can also use the product called HEET in the U.S. -- it's used to remove moisture from auto gas lines -- but only use the kind that comes in the red bottle. Regular denatured alcohol can be found at hardware stores in the paint section.

the gizmoman (author)IdahoDavid2007-07-16

i use rubbing alcohol with 91 percent alcohol in it. any lower then it is a pain in the rear to light

IdahoDavid (author)the gizmoman2007-07-16

True, and it will tend to blacken your pots. I use denatured alcohol nearly exclusively. It gives me the hottest, cleanest burn.

mondaymonkey (author)IdahoDavid2008-03-27

In the caribbean, there is only 70 percent. So I am left with using Lighter Fluid.... lots of fun making pillars of yellow flame

mkslocomb (author)mondaymonkey2011-11-09

try "salting" your 70 percent. might work better. i looked it up here on instructables... good luck

the gizmoman (author)IdahoDavid2007-07-17

my pot that i use for camping (over night backpacking) is black on the bottom now that I think of it

a trick i learned to is rub the bottom of the pot whith a bar of soap be for cooking on it. it makes cleaning the pot alot easer

blodefood (author)IdahoDavid2009-03-29

In the paint section of your local hardware store it is calledMethyl Hydrateand it says "alcohol stove fuel" on the label.

benhudson (author)IdahoDavid2007-06-07

So denatured alcohol is really just the same as meths?

Estwald (author)benhudson2008-09-07

The term "methylated spirits" refers to ethyl alcohol (the kind that can be drank) that has has methyl alcohol added to it to make it unsafe to drink. The benefit of denaturing the ethyl alcohol is that is it is not taxed as beverage spirits. To get an idea of the difference, compare the price of the same amounts of Everclear and denatured alcohol.

IdahoDavid (author)benhudson2007-06-08

I believe so. If I recall correctly when you look at the ingredients on the red container of HEET is says that it contains methanol -- whihc is methylated alcohol. The yellow containers and rubbing alcohol contain isopropyl alcohol. "Denatured" refers to the process used to make this kind of alochol (as well as ispropyl) unfit for human consumption. You can use any liquid with a high alcohol content in these stoves with better or worse efficiency. You could even burn whiskey, vodka, brandy or Everclear. It would just be a very expensive -- and tragic -- waste of consumable alcohol.

the gizmoman (author)IdahoDavid2007-07-17

cool a use for those bottles of wine my parents keep buying to drink in front of us kids every so often(they drink it more or less once a month & boast about about being able to drink it and & we cant;)

benhudson (author)IdahoDavid2007-06-10

Thanks for the info :) It's true about the alcohol, though perhaps with the exception of Hungarian cooking brandy and the like....

chuckr44 (author)IdahoDavid2008-08-21

While 70% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) will burn (I've tried it) it will also leave soot on your pans, which is why methanol (or methyl alcohol) is recommended. If you must use isopropyl alcohol, try to get the highest concentration you can. 70% often does not work well, as it is 30% water.

Broberg (author)2010-12-26

I have found that a good hand sanitizer has high amounts of alcohol in it usually around 80-90% and will boil water in a quick using a lid as a holder to keep in place. The original package is great for transport and it is dual purpose as well. I like the idea of having the top on it to direct the flame more. Good idea!

KittyF (author)2010-11-04

this isn't really a stove, it's a burner. if you put a pan directly on it it would go out. you need to include some method to support the pan before you could actually call it a stove. but it's a cute burner, and I'm sure it's very light. worth a try. (author)2008-03-10

This is the easiest homemade method I have ever seen

also the smallest.

amniup (author)2010-03-25


just to share some experiments I've done... this is a variation of the stove: only one ring of holes, only 10 holes, and the central large "cross" hole is folded INSIDE so I can put a coin over it after filling with alcohol.

Put some alcohol over the coin to speed up lighting

Well, it probably is the simplest "penny stove" clone ;-) with a nice flame pattern

And, as the flame never go inside, probably cloth padding will last more

amniup (author)2010-02-05

Just tried, really nice!

I've done some modification:
- I've done the small holes with a push-pin: faster & better holes
- I've put the top cup INSIDE the bottom cup, because in the original project some little flamed alcohol leaked from the "folder" near the bottom, now it's ok
- I've used rockwool instead of piece of clothes: the flame I've got seems a little more "pressurized" than the one in your photo (but I'm not sure it is for this reason...)
- Lighting it from the top require 2-3 minutes in order to get the stove to full power; it will go to full power in few seconds instead if "primed" wetting the bottom of the stove with few drops of alcohol and then lighting them

- I can fill it with max 14 gr of ethilic alcohol (half ounce), with this amount of alcohol it will boil half liter of water in 9-10 minutes, and die a minute later...

- Really smart and simple-to-build micro-stove! ;-)

Side note:
- I'd like to build a so-simple stove with little more capacity to make more complex "cooking" with it, but don't know how to find similar but bigger cups, and don't want to use a can-stove; ...any idea?

daeda (author)amniup2010-02-05

thanks for your comments. It's great to get some positive response.

Rockwool works surely better and longer than clothes which burns after some time.

The top inside the bottom is really a good idea and the only right one.

If you want to try a bigger one maybe a Altoids mint can works (yes, that hurts) or use these smaller Red Bull can, or hairspray can ...

empty one after use!
Good luck

arirang777 (author)2009-07-23

-"C'mon babe light my fire, c'mon babe light my fiiiiireeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEE"- I just went camping with some folks that seem unable to disassociate "camping" with "propane BBQ" and I had to carry a 20 lbs tank all the way from parking to beach thru high sand dunes (not to mention the cooler, portable Coleman BBQ, folding chairs and hammock). I could see a discrete grin in everyone at the beach while I was passing by, each time. Then of course, the return trip. I'll pay them back: next time I am going to ask them to get the "stuff" while I carry the "stove", and when they have carried all the props, I will come with a shoebox full of this little burners... Or maybe just some sandwiches. I like the k.i.s.s. approach. Good job Daeda!

chotii (author)2008-12-26

I fiddled with this even more, today. 91% rubbing alcohol leaves a terrible amount of soot. 10ml burned for 9 minutes and brought water to 190F. Still, no boiling.

awang8 (author)chotii2009-01-30

Really? Rubbing alcohol burns clean. Well, the isopropanol kinda does

If you got the ethanol rubbing alcohol then that's understandable. Also, try the 60% kind. It burns even more clean.

chotii (author)2008-12-24

I fiddled with this today, making several versions. I poked the holes around the edges with a thumbtack rather than using a knife. This sits on a can-lid, which catches the dribbles from filling - which, when lit, provides the heat to pressurize the little cooker, and the flame to light the fumes as they escape. That works very well. I filled it first with 15ml 91% rubbing alcohol. It burned for 10 minutes and heated 2 C of water (beginning at 68F) almost to the boiling point. I filled it second with 15ml of HEET. It burned for 3 minutes, heating 2 C of 68F water to 130F. My husband complained of the smell of the fluid. If I wanted water just to drink and warm me up, HEET would work adequately for fuel. If I needed to sterilize water by boiling it hard for several minutes - or to warm up water from a much cooler starting temperature, this would not be adequate, although maybe a second filling would prove adequate. Both fuels put a LOT of carbon on the bottom of the 'cooking can'.

cowtipper97 (author)2008-08-22

I tried this and when it lit the top blow off and flew 5 feet in the air.

same thing happened to my friend...not enough holes and too much fuel=pressure

ScarletWitch (author)2008-06-21

we had the icestorm a few years back (ohio) my children and i had 3 hot square meals a day. i had gotten a tealight candle burner that oddly enough looked like a freestanding grill with a place to put a tealight in the middle. it was big enough for a pot, so i flipped over a small pan underneath and placed 9 tealights around the one in the middle of the tealight candle lantern. took a piece of sheet metal i had laying around and made a windbreak/ heat focus. this set up was just big enough for a medium sized pot. yeah there was alot of black smudge on the bottom of the pot. but where others went to shelters or went hungry. we had hot food the entire time. this just brought to mind why go through all this when ..well, i had plenty of tealights. in fact over a weeks time i used the initial 10 tealights and didn't require anymore. though i am printing this out just for reference mind you! :D knowledge is power. TY!!

cooltogo (author)2008-06-11

For the gizmoman: wine has a top alcohol content of 13%. Good luck trying to get it to burn! Better to milk your folks for other useful information than envy them the wine drinking. Wine is no good for a stove like that. You need higher alcohol concentrations. Now, if you want to use up large quantities of your folk's wine, find an instructable on distilling spirits :)

blodefood (author)2008-04-08

You should always use methyl hydrate which is found in the paint section of your local Crappy Tire or hardware store. This burns the cleanest. The reason it is in the paint section is that it is also used to thin shellac. I would recommend some means of extinguishing the flame, say a cover that fits over the whole thing and MAKE SURE YOU fill it carefully so there is nothing spilled around the unit or you could have spreading flames.

blodefood (author)blodefood2008-04-08

Hey, I just tested this! I used 15 ml of methyl hydrate -- or stove alcohol -- which is really the max capacity of the candle moulds, using cotton batting on an open fondue burner holder. It heated 500 ml in a small stainless steel pot with lid to the point of just too hot to hold your finger in it in 5 minutes.. This is adequate for an emergency tea-for-two or whatever. Not bad! One could maximise this if one used fibreglass batting (so it doesn't smoke when the fuel runs out) and sheltering the burner to keep the heat in. A small can (tuna, cat food) should be adequate for an extinguisher.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-06-07

!? are thos just thos lil crappy candels you can buy 100 for like 1$!?!?!? Sweet! But could i use a mix of rubbing alcohol-zippo fluid for gas?

Zippo fuel is called "Naptha" which is a parafin, which is also known as kerosine. I was working today with some of that, and to tell you the truth, it was only designed to be a bright flame to light Lanterns. It does not burn as hot as Menthanol. Lighter fluid btw works okay, not as good as Methanol but better than parafin.

daeda (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-06-08

First question yes, second one no. We have a famous swedish company which sells tables and chairs for students and other homeworkers. But i guess they earn most money with these crappy candels. Many times they have'nt furnitures in stock but everybody buys at least 500 candles. Its very tricky with these fluids and names. Many travellers have problems with their stoves in foreign countrys. We use methanol/ethanol 30/70 but you can mix it in your own style. But IdahoDavid is very smart in this area.

pinoymale (author)2007-10-21

Just curious, what is the effect/advantage of a stove with a covered top compared to one with an open top?

mondaymonkey (author)pinoymale2008-03-27

The idea is for the intial flame (pilot) to heat the fuel to its boiling point. It then turns into a gas and rises through the small holes where it then gets burned nearer to the pot. this allows for a bigger flame, because obviously there is a lot more Oxygen in the air than in a confind spot. It also allows for a more complete fuel usage. All the fuel in the resivoir is used. Also, it is easier to put out, just have to smother it. If you see no flames, then there is no fire.

daeda (author)pinoymale2007-10-21

I agree with you. It works also without the top. But there are some reasons for the top. -burningtime -effect -safety without the top the burningtime is round five minutes, and with top nearly 15 minutes. The effect doesn't seem to be much more without top. I think that the liquid becomes hot and the gas comes out through the holes. On this way the gas mixes with the air and burns with high effect. Without top isn't enough oxygen in the middle and the gas burns not complete. Without top the liquid becomes hot and maybe cooking and sprinkling over the table. If you need to extinguish the flame its really dangerous without top and I would surely spread everything over myself and burn down. And at least the flame burns much more equally even if its windy with the top.

gover57 (author)2008-01-21

cotton balls... then they can be used, even if wet, with a spark to make a camppfire in an emergency... cotton will burn even if wet with a spark - just have to wring it out so it isn't soaked, then stretch it out so that air can pass betwen the fibres, toss in on your tinder pile (or birch bark !!!) and spark away. it WILL light.

gover57 (author)2008-01-21

or seal the holes with the wax from those tea light candles.... then when lighting, the wax would melt off, and the burner should start....

IdahoDavid (author)2007-06-07

Also, if you are into the homemade camping stoves this is a good site to check out:

rebladkins (author)IdahoDavid2007-11-10

methylated, denatured, and ethyl, alcohol are all the same thing. denatured and methyl alcohol are ethyl alcohol that has been intentionally poisoned with benzine or other chemical unsuitable for consumption. it is the governments way of insuring that all drinking spirits get taxed so that they get their money.

Eye Poker (author)2007-07-20

I used this as a model and subsituded a round Altoids tin and 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. A 1/4 filled tin lit with a loud pop, was hot enough to scramble eggs and lasted for 35 minutes.

Timmymtd (author)2007-06-24

Ive tried this, It lights for about 10 seconds then goes out, Im useing rubbin alcohal. Any suggestions?

daeda (author)Timmymtd2007-06-24

Hi, I don't know exactly what kind off stuff you use. I found something at Wikipedia and they write about rubbin alcohol: "It is unsuited as a fuel in alcohol stoves because of the relatively low vapor pressure of isopropyl alcohol." Hm, try something other.

lemonie (author)2007-06-07

That's a really good flame. How long will this burn on a 'full tank'? L

daeda (author)lemonie2007-06-08

I just had breakfast and did some messurings. This stove will fix half liter of water till cooking and this will take about 15 minutes. Thats the max burntime with the tank fulled with 10 gramm ethanol. So dont try to cook spaghetti aldente. if you invite your new girlfriend to a romantic pasta diner use something other.

lemonie (author)daeda2007-06-09

You could always use two, or three I suppose? 15 min is pretty good, I like this. L

benhudson (author)2007-06-07

Dayum, that's neat. I'll make some up and glue-gun them shut so I can stick them in my survival kit.

tiuk (author)benhudson2007-06-07

If you're going to put them in a survival kit you might want to keep the spirits in a separate bottle or something, so they don't dry out.

benhudson (author)tiuk2007-06-07

Would that happen if they were sealed? The idea is that I would seal them and ignore stage 6 so they are airtight, until I needed to use them obviously. Nice pictures by the way :)

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