Introduction: The DON Stove - Alcohol Stove

The Durable ObvallateNemophilist Stove

..... or it could just stand for my name.

** Don't do this! There are sharp edges and you may get hurt. **

I wanted to make an alcohol stove that was durable, versatile, used no chemical sealants, and was made out of readily available recycled materials and this is what I came up with.

It is a double walled, can stove, made from two cans. The exterior can (top) being an aluminium soft drink can bottom, and the interior, a soup can bottom. I chose a soup can because of it's diameter, strength, and the ridges in the side of the can. The ridges provide rounded edges for the aluminum can to stretch over and seal against.

The stove body construction, itself, is the main reason for this Instructable. I have included a couple of stove designs and accessories for ideas.

BONUS side effect..... perhaps - The base if ferrous and will stick to magnets, which may be useful for storage or securing it in place, in a wind screen type setup.


1 each 284 ml/10 ounce soup can
1 each 355 ml aluminum soda pop can

1 each felt tip marker for marking cuts and holes
1 ea pair of crappy scizzors (what I use), or other device, for cutting cans
Utility knife if req'd
1 ea thumb tack, or similar device, for poking holes.
Drill bit, or other device, for enlarging holes as req'd


Remove any label adhesive from the exterior of the soup can and rinse out pop can to remove any syrups.

Mark soup can, with fine tip marker, about 3 to 4 ridges up, as shown.

Using the ridges as a guide, cut the soup can to the mark.  Being careful to leave the smallest diameter edge possible will ease insertion into the pop can.

Using the cut soup can as a guide, mark the side of the pop can to the same height as the soup can as shown.  Cut the pop can to height. 

To aid in fitting the cans together, flare the edge slightly, by stretching it over the base of the soup can, as shown.

CAREFULLY, and with even pressure, fit the open end of the pop can over the open end of the soup can... (this will take patience)... and CAREFULLY press the two together, as shown, until the cut edge of the aluminium can meets the flared base of the can.  Any leftover label adhesive, or syrup, will make this step much more difficult.  Ensure cans are clean before sliding them together.

*This is a good point to note that all cans are not created equally and that inner and outer diameters vary, ever so slightly, between brands and manufacturers, and that playing mix and match may provide a superior fit.  Different styles and sizes of cans, such as Rock Star, could also be used for more possibilities.

We now have the basic stove body, which is sufficiently self sealing.  The double walled construction gives it extra strength, making it durable as well as making it easier to drill and poke, and otherwise manipulate the top of the stove, while allowing the aluminium can to better maintain it's shape and structural integrity. 

Make stove type and accessories, such as pot stands, as desired.  See examples shown.


With the body of the stove assembled, it is time to decide what to do with it.  As is, it makes a fine tea light candle holder.  

No holes, or other stuff, required.  Works as is.  See picture if required.

In case you want more than a candle holder, I have included links to Zen Stoves, which provides much better information on various types of alcohol stoves, their operation, and plans, than could be detailed here..... by me.



Mark and make holes, as required, with thumb tack or similar device and enlarge, if necessary.  See Pictures.


Mark hole, as shown. 

Cut out and remove disc.  To do this, I scored around the perimeter of the concave disc, as marked, with a utility knife.  Once the score is deep enough, which may take several passes, it can be popped out in much the same way that the top opens when the tab is lifted.  Once a tear is started, carefully apply pressure, to continue separation, keeping the fissure following the score, until completely separated.

Smooth any sharp edges. 

See Pictures.


This is a hybrid of a jet stove and an open flame stove.

First, make a ring of jets, in the same way as the jet stove, but larger.  Then, cut the disc out of the centre.  Doing it in this order, I have found, helps the aluminium can, better maintain it's shape during the jet making process.

Step 7: LID

As not all cans are made the same, either are their bottoms.  I have found that some can bottoms nestle well over, or into, the shapes of others, whereas two cans of the same manufacturer do not, as the inner and outer diameters of any contours get in each others' way.  That being said, a lid can be fashioned, for an Open Flame Stove, from the base of another soda can whose angles align for nestling.  Simply cut the bottom off, around the outer edge of the base, smooth edges, and press/fit together.  Some fit better than others, producing loose and tight fits, whereas some don't fit at all.  Some experimentation is required to find best/desired results. 

See Pictures.

Step 8: STANDS

Taking advantage of the strength and shape of the soup can base, I used bolts/screws to make a stand, by screwing them, vertically, though the jet holes and anchoring them snugly into/against the outer, or inner, ring in the base of the soup can, producing a very strong and secure support for heavy pots.  Individual holes could be made for the bolts/screws, but I conveniently used ones of the same diameter as the jets in the stove on hand at the time.  They were, also conveniently, the exact height required.  The bolts/screws also transfer some heat back down into the stove, helping keep the jets pressurized, until all the fuel is burned.  See picture.  (Screws may also come in handy at camp, for other purposes, moreso than a single purpose stove stand would.)

Another uses coat hanger wire standoffs that also wedge into the base of the soup can for stability.  See Picture.

I also made a stand that fits snugly around the exterior of the stove, simply by bending some coat hanger wire to form four legs, which can also be used to hold the lid on, for storage, when the stove's not in use.  See pictures.

Finally, I made one that uses coat hanger to create brackets that snap snugly over the edge of the lid to hold it in place.  Useful for storage, perhaps.  See Pictures.