Introduction: Ultralight Alcohol Stove

About: Hello everyone, I am autumsawesome. I have made bread, jam, omelettes and even an alcohol stove out of pop cans,


this is an Instructable that shows one way to construct an alcohol jet stove. I have experimented with a few different designs and this one best suited my needs. It is designed to quickly boil a large pot of water and be lightweight. I based this design off of different tutorials that I found online, as well as watching YouTube videos of people constructing different alcohol stoves. I suggest you read multiple articles on how to build one of these before you begin.

I built a simple pot stand out of a section of 1/4 inch metal mesh and a wind screen using flashing, generally used for roofing. Lastly I use a metal lid from a circular tin as a priming pan. After testing multiple times I have found that the priming pan is crucial to get the stove burning properly.

Zen and the Art of Alcohol Stoves is a very useful resource that has many techniques, tips and explains how the stoves work in depth.

DIY Alcohol Stove from Soda Cans uses fiberglass insulation which is different than my design. Nevertheless it is an easy-to-follow guide.


Lightweight - When compared to commercially available stoves.

Simple - No valves or fuel canisters.

Cheap - It only costs a few cents to build one stove.

Relatively Durable - No fragile pieces.

DIY - Do It Yourself.

Easy to use - When compared to stoves you can buy.

Boils Water Quickly - Half a liter of water is boiled under seven minutes.

Reliable - It has worked every time I have used it.

Quiet - You can't tell it is a stove from a distance.


Invisible flames - You have to be cautious when handling it after extinguishing it.

Cold sensitive - May be less reliable in cold environments.

Step 1: Materials

Materials for the construction of the stove:

2 aluminum cans*

Tools needed:


Push Pin


Sanding Block



To use the stove once it is built you will need:

90% Isopropyl Alcohol

A coin

Wind shield

Pot Stand


*The construction works best if the cans are the are the exact same size and thickness.

**Short and sharp scissors work best for a clean cut.

***The thickness of the book plus one centimeter will equal the overall height of the stove, I used a two centimeter thick book. The stove should be between three and four centimeters tall, any taller would not work because it would be too far to conduct the heat from the flames. Too short would not have enough space for the alcohol to vaporize.

Step 2: Draw and Cut

First I drew a line all the way around the can and rested the sharpie on the book to get a perfectly straight line.

Then I cut along the line I just drew and did the exact same for the second can.

Step 3: Stretch the Outer Can

At this point I stacked each of the pieces right way up and pressed them together, this stretches the can (white) on the bottom to prevent tearing.

Next I cut slits about half way down the side of the other can (green), three or four slits should work.

Step 4: Assemble

I pressed the cans together, keep in mind which can you stretched, that one should be the outer can, and the can with the slits is the inner can.

Step 5: Plot and Punch Jet Holes

The placement of the jet holes really depends on what you are going to use this stove for and how big your pot is.

The first picture shows where you would punch the holes if you had a small mug like this one.

The second picture would be for a larger pot like this one.

And the third shows something in between.

I have found out that the design with all the holes on the outermost rim of the can boils water the fastest. This is probably because the flames heat the thick aluminum ring which then conducts down to the bottom can and vaporizes the alcohol.

Step 6: Punch Jet Holes

Once you decided which configuration you will use, mark them first with a sharpie and then punch the holes with a pushpin. Punch three to four holes in the center for pouring in the fuel.

Important note: the can with the jet holes should be the outer can (white), as shown in the pictures.

Note: in the pictures I punched holes for a smaller pot.

Step 7: Sand and Seal

Lastly I sand the corner where the sharp aluminum is exposed, with some pressure it seals the two cans to prevent them from leaking when in use.

Step 8: Test

Finally it is time to test out your stove. I use the can indentation on the top as a sort of unit of measure, I know three to four of those full of alcohol boils the mug in the picture (which holds about 530 milliliters).

For a windshield I have used a bit of aluminum foil with success, it is preferable to have a completely vertical piece of sheet metal like the flashing.

My metal mesh pot stand works very well, you can also use a piece of wood with three nails pounded in, or three tent pegs pushed into the soil.

It is crucial to have a priming pan to heat the cans and alcohol.

Step 9: Share

If you build an alcohol stove please share a picture of it in use in the comments below! Thanks for reading my Instructable!




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