Fire "Beacon"




These are two Beacons which make a bright flame and can be used for anything you need that uses a bright flame but I use them as a replacement for lamps while camping. They are light and easy to make and fire is always more comforting than a propane light. They will go for at least
three or four hours and you can also cook on them if you don't mind dirtying up a pot or two.


Step 1: Things That You Will Need and Probabally Already Have

You will need:
1) A can of some sort (if making a cooking one use a tuna can).
2) Wax can be any kind of wax but candle wax is best. Keep in mind that you will use about the same amount of wax as the volume of your beacon so you might need a lot.
3) Cardboard. Can be any kind of card board but I will be using corrugated card board.(again if using it for cooking use card stock)
4) Newspaper. (it gets messy)
5) Something to melt the wax in as melting wax in cookware probably is not good for you and at the very least it will make cleanup easier.
6) an assortment of tools (tape measure, hack saw, pliers)

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Can

Now we need to measure and cut the can, I chose two inches but you can successfully go plus or minus half an inch.
The trade off is between duration (being too short) and being too heavy and not burning all the way ( too tall).
Cutting a can can be frustrating as putting it in a vice bends it and holding it means you might not get a straight cut but I found a way to fix that in the next step.

Step 3: Round the Edges

If you made a bad cut in step two you now have a chance to redeem yourself.
I found a way to round the edges and correct any cutting errors you may have made in one easy step.
Use pliers to bend the edges in and then crimp them down solidly. Bend the edges more where you cut too high and vice-versa where you cut too low. This will also move any sharp edges away from you and leave a nice rounded feel.

Step 4: The Cardboard

next measure cardboard to the height of your beacon and coil it inside your can.
I did it in several strips and I let the strips uncoil on their own so that there are many spaces for the wax. I built these before and I packed in as much cardboard as possible and they slowly went out because of ash build up from the excessive cardboard. the cardboard will act as a giant wick for the beacon and will let it get hot enough to melt the wax.

Step 5: Melting the Wax

Now it's time to melt the wax. Spread out the newspaper because melted wax is nasty stuff and does not clean off anything easily. You can melt the wax any way you like but I suggest to use a double boiler in which you put your jar in a pot with a bit of water in it and boil the water. This stops the wax from boiling and possibly catching fire. As the wax melts put more in so you can do the melting process fewer times as it takes a while to melt all the wax. Use the stick to stir the wax and push unmelted pieces to the bottom to get melted.

Step 6: Pouring the Wax

Pour carefully and let it overflow slightly to ensure the can is saturated.
I put candle wicks into my beacons because there was a long wick in the candle I melted down and it will be easier to start.

Step 7: Last Step

You are almost done!
Now to finish up you can pack some extra wax which over flowed into the beacons.
Now you are done and can go out and enjoy your very own Beacon.



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    71 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Use parafin. It works best. And wind as tight as you can. It will go through the holes in the cardboard anyway.


    7 years ago on Step 7


    If you freeze wax, it becomes extremely brittle & will easily come off of anything it can not soak into. IE: clothing it will soak into & you will never ever get it all out. but porcelain, glass, etc., it will come off easily(usually anyway) after it's been in the freezer.


    7 years ago on Step 4

    ok, a double boiler is used for safety when melting wax as you well know(or should anyway)....

    what about doing this outside(so you do not burn down the house), and have the can sitting atop a candle warmer, which will keep the wax in its liquid state as you continue to fill the can?

    My reasoning behind this is to saturate the cardboard INSIDE the can....

    Or is my idea just plain wacky?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have yet to figure out how it can be done, but I was thinking about soaking the cardboard in the wax till it's saturated, then rolling it up & placing it in the can....

    But like i said, I don't have all the details worked out yet... :0(

    I'll have to work on that... ;0)


    12 years ago

    I made something similar just with a kiwi shoe polish tin. Works well becuase you have a lid/snuffer.

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    If tou light it, let it catch, then put on the lid, it would stay warm for a while, kind of like some kinds of hand warmers. ???Maybe???

    Matteo Ljeffconnelly

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    melted wax = not very nice

    good idea but i think it would be tricky making a heat resistant water tight lid

    another idea: put some cotton swabs in the tin instead, and put some kind of cooking oil in ex.olive oil,corn oil,etc... and then light it. then it is easier and quicker to refill and you dont dont have to melt wax and all that. but then it would not be as portable because there would be liquid inside it.

    2 replies


    And, it would burn up a lot slower producing a lot less brighter flame, making it hard to see if you wanted to read at night.


    if you can get a tuna sized can with a air tight lid, it would make it more portable.....


    10 years ago on Step 6

    I tried this for a hot air balloon experiment but it wasn't creating hot enough air. When I asked my teacher she said that by putting holes in the side, not quite sure where (most likely the rim), it would increase the amount of oxygen going into the flame allowing it to get much hotter. Although when i thought about it, it might not work because the cardboard would be right against the edge so it would block flow anyways. Maybe yours worked better because the cardboard was above the rim of the tin?

    3 replies
    El ManoGonazar

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    If you did use holes, you would want them at the bottom part of the can, allowing them to suck air up into the flames (which would both feed the flames and project them higher).

    SIRJAMES09El Mano

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    there's just 1 small problem with that idea...

    gravity has a tendency to pull things(liquids & solids both) downward. meaning, wax is going to be at the bottom of the can so even if you did put holes at the bottom, it would have to be done after the wax is added & then the wax would still impede the flow of air.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    the "holes" that exist in corrugated cardboard, naturally create a vacume sucking in air as the thing burns creating a bright light....

    when exposed to the wind, makes it even more bright because of more air getting to the heart of the flame.

    Most definitely. Pine pitch would actually be cheaper, but prolly more work....

    Personally, I like the pitch would serve as a stronger flame, brighter flame & the smell of pine...I love the smell of pine. :)

    Captain Dyson

    10 years ago on Step 7

    nice would saturating it with paraffin of something then putting it in a freezer bag work better thought. non the less I will be using a variation to this as a fire starter in the near future


    10 years ago on Step 7

    How long do these burn?