Fat Candle

About: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started writing poetry in high school over thirty years ago where I ...

Pretty much everything that lives produces fat, fat is fuel for the body and your lamp or stove, rendered animal fat has been used as a fuel since before recorded time. If you have ever seen a grease fire in a kitchen you have seen the destructive potential stored in fat, but it’s not all bad news.

Rendered fat remains edible for a long time it was used to preserve meat before refrigeration and although I wouldn’t eat it, an oak barrel full of butter, estimated to be roughly 3,000 years, old was found in a peat bog in County Kildare in Ireland.

In places like the Artic it is still used as food and fuel today the ultimate survival tool.

Step 1: Supplies

For a fat candle you want fat or oil, pork fat, beef fat, lamb, or any lard will do, fish oil, fowl fat, and vegetable oil will fuel a fat candle, so for this fat candle I am using bacon fat.

For a wick I am using a 100% cotton shoe lace but any cotton or hemp string or cloth will do, and to hold the wick in place I am using a pencil however anything like a stick will work.

For the container I am using an aluminum pop can but any heat tolerant container will suffice.

Step 2: Making the Candle

Tie the cotton string to the pencil.

Cut the top off the pop can and suspend the string in the center of the can.

Then render the fat you can do this by cooking the bacon in water and then separating the fat after the water cools or since my boys like there bacon crisp I cook the bacon until almost all the fat is rendered and then pour it into the can and let it cool.

When the fat is cool and congeals remove the pencil and trim the can to about ¼ of an inch above the top of the fat.

Step 3: The Finished Candle

Although the candle will burn like this as you can see the fat melts and the wick can fall over putting the flame out. To prevent this you need to make a boat to float the wick this can be made of almost anything that floats but heat tolerant material is best for my boat I used aluminum foil.

If you want to use corn oil or the like you will need a wick boat to float your wick and for those of you that have ever wondered where the term came from, “Whatever floats your wick.”



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16 Discussions

Claire Johns

2 years ago

Wow. Amazing, well it smelled so good, i ate it. Is that bad for my health?


2 years ago

Can you mix fats. ie. beef, pork, chicken, turkey? I have made a candle with all these fats. The candle always goes out. I have tried several different wicks with no success. I fasten the wick to the bottom. I will try a #10 wick next. It seems fat candles need large wicks

1 reply
Josehf MurchisonRLRein

Reply 2 years ago

Yes you can mix fats.

Don't go to large of a wick or the fat will burn out of control.

What king of wick did you use?


3 years ago

Every fat based candle I've ever made has lost it's wick during burning. Thanks for the wick float idea. I'm going to try that the very next time I make a lard/tallow candle.

2 replies
metqaJosehf Murchison

Reply 3 years ago

Thanks. I don't use vegetable oil, but that's good to know. I've got a tub of rancid lard to experiment with, no good for eating but perfect for candles. It occurred to me just now looking at your wick float, that it would be a feasable to cut out the bottom curve of a soda can and punch a hole into it to pull the wick through. it would float when the fat gets hot enough to liquify, and it might actually preserve the wick because it'd sink as the fat is burned away, pushing the wick down with it instead of the exposed wick burning away. Don't know if that would actually happen but it'd be fun to try and observe.


4 years ago on Step 3

I have some bacon fat left over from the bacon on Kendall's "grocery list" I'm going to try this out.

Almost seems cruel to put that intoxicating bacon smell in the air without any bacon reward to those who come down to investigate!

1 reply

It was an old trick at the barn to use bacon fat to cover wounds on the horses. Does anyone know where this "logic" comes from and if it works?

I am surprised it doesn't smell like bacon when burning; that's good though or I would be craving bacon all the time...!

1 reply

5 years ago on Step 2

Creative way to make a candle. bravo!. However, I would like to know whether does it produce any smell while burning?

1 reply
Josehf Murchisoncandlemaker

Reply 5 years ago on Step 2

I was out for the weekend so I am replying just now.

There is no smoke and there is no smell.