Introduction: Terracotta Plant Pot Candle Heater

Picture of Terracotta Plant Pot Candle Heater

small space heater. I was after a heater for our VW transporter camper van. you can get diesel heaters that work off your fuel but they are EXPENSIVE! I have experimented with these quite a bit, still more to do but I have a working product that looks pretty good too.

WARNING: Be very careful when using candles, NEVER leave them unattended and always make sure you have the right tools to put out a fire! Even when careful accidents can happen and its better to be prepared than sorry!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

Materials:
12mm threaded bar (from wickes/tool station 50cmm lengths cut in half)

12mm nuts

12mm penny washers (can mix regular washers for the smaller pots)

terracotta plate/saucer (depending on availability for me on size.) I have 2 13cm-Homecraft.co.uk and 15cm-Homebase

terracotta pots 2 per heater. (again availability dictates size) Homecraft.co.uk cost a bit more and only have 3 sizes plus postage, home base is cheaper but has limited sizes different to home craft.

Tools:
mastic/caulking gun

liquid metal (or other adhesive this I had left over from chainsaw repair)

drill

tile drill bit 12mm would be perfect I couldn't got one so have a 10mm (masonry will do but you do get chipping on the back when going through)

Step 2: Drill the Holes and Cut the Bar

Picture of Drill the Holes and Cut the Bar

You need 1 hole in the centre of the saucer/plate - there is often a dimple in the saucer the centre is

And some holes in the top of the outter pot. I have yet to find the most efficient number of holes.

With the diamond edge tile drill bit you need to make sure you use water to keep it all cool.

Measure the bar, either in half 25cm or you can be more accurate so there isn't so much sticking out of the top. which would be 22cm (one cut or two, your choice!) I have a dremel hobby tool so cut the bar mostly with this and finished off with a little hacksaw, use a file to smooth off the end so there are no sharp bits.

Always use protective equipment when using power tools and follow safety instructions.

Step 3: Glue and Leave to Dry

Picture of Glue and Leave to Dry

Originally I used a hot glue gun but the base can get so hot the glue melts again so an adhesive that has some heat resistance is a good idea. I used some left over evo-stik metal adhesive to save costs.

When using the 13cm saucer the space for candles is tight so I didn't want anything on the top which meant drilling holes to use bots for feet was out. I also like the look better when there is only the bar coming through the saucer.

from the picture I used two stacked pots to sit my saucer on.

attach the bar to the saucer with one nut, don't let the bar stick out because that will make protrude more than the nuts for feet.
add adhesive around the bar at the top of the nut. so it sticks to the underside of the saucer. place the bar through the holes in the stacked pots an sit the saucer on top. now add the nuts as feet using the adhesive. keep in mind the need to be pretty level to avoid wobbles.

Step 4: Construct

Picture of Construct

once you adhesive has dried you can flip the saucer the right way up.

add a nut and washer on the bar, it will be hit and miss to get the right height. Just big enough to get the candle in and out, this candle is a bit taller than regular tea lights as they last longer (purchased these from lidl xxl tea lights)

I don't bother with a securing nut for the inner pot bit you can if you want to.

Then another nut and washer for the outer pot, for the 15cm pots you need the larger penny washers as the hole is quite big. Then secure the outer pot with another nut and washer.

There you have a small space heater. Done.

Step 5: Use and Enjoy.

Picture of Use and Enjoy.

We used it at a festival recently. we were lucky because the weather was quite warm for the time of year.
First night only had 2 candles going and that was perfect. Second night we had 4 and had to open a window as it was a tad too warm!

As I write this I have one running in the downstairs toilet which is always cold. if you put your hand over the top you can feel warm air coming out. I need to move the pots closer the the base in this Pic, they are a little too far away.

Which is why I think it is important to have the holes.

Just be careful as it can get really hot! including the metal bar.


WARNING: as always with candles and naked flames. do not leave unattended.

Comments

Bender Rodriguez (author)2016-01-28

There is a gentleman that makes these where I live, and he uses a metal stand to hold four or five pots above the candles/oil lamp and he doesn't drill any vent holes in the pots either. It gets so hot that he says that you have to use candles that are in jars or the candle will just melt away. This instructable is a much more utilitarian aproach to the same idea.

EmcySquare (author)2014-11-11

I tried that before and it simply can't work. The BTU spread by the 4 candles are just too few to add up to some wormth.

I tryed in a closed small room and in 2+ hours i just had 0.5°C up and down. The pot itself got to 80°C but the room (inside a building, not outside) did not even notice it

Many people insists it work. I can't see how or why

Gary1985 (author)EmcySquare2015-09-10

It does add energy in the form of heat to the room. It is literally impossible for it not to, due to the law of the conservation of energy. You are converting stored chemical energy in the candle to heat and light energy by lighting a candle. That energy doesn't just go away. Now it is a relatively small amount of energy and it is not a realistic way to heat your house, that's where people get it wrong, but using some candles is better than nothing in a case like a power-outage or a camping type situation. I live in the great white north, and in a power outage the one or two degrees of heat you can generate from some candles makes a big difference. At roughly 80 watts of power output, it would take 10-12 candles to raise the temperature in my entire house by 3 degrees. That is a big difference when you are trying to keep your pipes from bursting. What I am not sold on is the idea that putting the candles inside a couple of pots makes a lick of difference.

EmcySquare (author)Gary19852015-09-10

I agree with you that the pots don't make any sense (except for those that need some product to sell).

I agree with the chemical-to-thermal energy conversion. I just don't think it's enough to make any difference.

cv1284 (author)EmcySquare2014-11-11

really appreciate the positive comments! like I said I've used it in my camper van and it makes a difference. The holes in the top make a big difference to room temp.

paolobertoncin (author)2015-01-12

great job

thanks

paolo

stekahedron (author)2014-11-17

hi am looking forward to making one of these for the shed. what size pots did you use from homecraft?

regards
rich

cv1284 (author)stekahedron2014-11-17

I used the 13cm and the 9cm pots with the 13cm plate/saucer

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