How to Make a Torch for Less Than a Dollar




With only a few "household items" you can make a torch that's relatively safe* that can last for up to an hour.

with the end of the world coming you might just need a steady source of light and heat.

*I am not responsible for anything you do with the information provided in this guide ... not that you couldn't figure this out on your own or anything ;)

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Supplies

For this project you will need an piece of 100% cotton cloth* (I used an old under shirt) a sturdy stick or a scrap piece of wood a stapler a hammer and tiki  torch oil or kerosene

*Has to be 100% cotton (or Kevlar ) materials such as cotton blend/polyester/rayon ect will melt when heated up and cause huge problems  (think melted plastic 1-3 degree burns ! )  

Step 2: Wrapping the Torch

the first thing you want to do is get a rag that's about twelve inches wide and roughly twenty four inches long
Now fold it width wise until its about seven inches wide, and staple one end to the stick with a few staples

*You can use wire or wire mesh to affix the cloth instead of staples ( I used staples cause I had them and it took the least time to use) Do not use zip ties unless they are metal core. (the wire mesh will also help keep the ash together when the wick starts charring.)

Step 3: Tightly Wraping Torch

You want to make sure you wrap the rag tightly around the torch so when it burns the rag doesn't fall off . to keep the rag taught put staples every two inches or so as you wrap. also try to tuck in the "frills" it will burn longer.
the tighter you wrap the wick the better it will hold up during burn time.

Step 4: Soaking the Torch

You want to soak the torch in the tiki® torch oil or kerosene about ten minutes or more before use to make sure all of the fabric is covered with the fuel.  

any dry portions of the fabric will result in charring and early failure due to burning of the wick material.

Step 5: Lighting the Torch

The torch can be lit many ways including sparks or embers 

*pro tip !   light from the tip of the torch and let the flames do the work by tilting the torch. 

Step 6: Now Go Crazy , Not Too Crazy

The torch can now be used for most any of your lighting and heat needs !

it's a great tool for lighting stubborn bonfires.

Be very careful using in enclosed spaces as an open flame can not only pose a fire hazard but also puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning and even death .

The Instructables Book Contest

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest



    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest

    144 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    An old farm trick. If you use cotton fabric, pork or beef fat (poultry fat burns too fast) use a hardwood stick and wrap it in iron bailing wire you have a much better torch. Dip the top quarter in the fat and light. and you have a solution that goes back to the middle ages. It will burn for hours. with no petro chemicals.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    That is a great idea thanks for the tip ! and that would be another way to find fuel in case of the apocalypse haha

    arynn mckenzie

    7 years ago on Step 6

    I have been looking for an economical torch for my brides maids to carry. This is probably the one. How quickly does it go up? Is there a way to make is makes it flare up quickly?

    1 reply
    imanarynn mckenzie

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    sorry for the late reply , you can light them easily by putting them straight in a fire or with a blow torch.


    12 years ago

    Could be useful for when the power goes out and zombies attack :D

    13 replies

    just as long as the brain is destroyed-- shoving a crowbar through the eyesocket and using a swirling motion will suffice. haha, there should be a list of "zombie prevention" instructables.

    why would you prefer a crowbar? yes, its good in survival situations, but if a zombie running is at you, I think your knee-jerk response would be to keep it as far away as possible. So the best thing would be to use a semi-auto rifle of some sort strong enough to pierce the skull to the brain, like a M1- Gerund or the Henry .44. wow, A zombie-education rant. Doesn't happen on this site too often, does it?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    as i stated earlier, guns are nice but they require ammunition. if you read "the zombie survival guide" by max brooks you will be very well prepared.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    so, a gun isn't better or worse then a club, or vice-versa, it's all in the situation really. If you're being attacked by a horde of zombies, like 20 or more, then you don't want to go charging with your crowbar. you'll just get surrounded. but if it's a small group, or individuals, then hack them away. shooting them will waste ammo. unless if it's a really big zombie.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    the best would be a crossbow with a string tied to the arrow, and the other end to the crossbow. no need for extra ammo, yet it's effective from a range.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Various weapons fill various needs. I need clothing made out of lots of different weapons--ouch; they're sharp and scrapy and hot--best to wear my bacon underwear beneath!