Mini Project #4: DIY Match-Torch Fire Starter





Introduction: Mini Project #4: DIY Match-Torch Fire Starter

About: Hi I'm Alex and I love to make stuff! I mainly work with different metals but I also love to explore new (to me) materials and dabble in woodworking, jewelry, knife making, design and many more.

Hi Instructables Community,

as promised yesterday I'm publishing my Mini Project #4 today. This time we will be looking at making a slightly more complex fire starter that I call the Match-Torch or Morch. Although it is relatively simple to make it will take a little longer than previous projects.

Please note that the video and this Instructable differ in a number of steps so I recommend you watch both. The video shows one of my first tries to make this fire starter whilst the Instructable is based upon an advanced version.

If you like this Instructable please vote, fav, share, subscribe & comment. You can also check my YouTube, Facebook and Twitter sites for current and upcoming projects.

Take care & stay safe

Cheers Alex

Step 1: What Do You Need?

You will need the following materials:

  1. 40-50cm / 8-12 Inches cotton wick (I used two gun cleaning wicks with each being 20cm - 8 Inches long)
  2. 1 Fireplace match (10cm - 4 Inches long)
  3. 7 strike-anywhere matches
  4. Petroleum jelly
  5. Candle wax
  6. Wood glue
  7. Short strip of masking tape (Not on the picture)

You will need the following tools:

  1. Side cutters/wire cutters
  2. A small pot
  3. A heat source (I'm using a gas stove in my shop)

Step 2: Prepping the Core

The core of the fire starter consists of a bundle of matches which are the main source of ignition and also fuel.

  1. Start by measuring and marking the length of a strike-anywhere match (SAM) on the fire place match. The match heads have to touch each other.
  2. Add a small drop of wood glue to the point you just marked.
  3. Place the SAM on the glue and press together firmly. Hold the match in place for a few minutes
  4. Continue by gluing more matches around the fireplace match. I used a short strip of masking tape to hold all matches in place until the glue has dried.

Step 3: Preparing the Wicks

Like in a candle the wicks will provide a steady flame burning the wax and petroleum jelly (PJ).

  1. I added some PJ to my hand and lubricated both wicks until they were thoroughly soaked.
  2. Next you start wrapping your wick(s) around the matches until you reach the match heads. Do not cover the match heads.

Step 4: Waterproofing

  1. Melt your candle wax on low heat on your heat source.
  2. Dip the fire starter into the wax ensuring that the whole fire starter is covered. Repeat this 1-2 times to ensuring all has been covered whilst allowing the wax on the fire starter to cool down in between.
  3. Check if all match heads and the wicks have been covered.

Step 5: Finishing

  1. Use your wire cutters/side cutters to snip off the end of the fireplace match behind where you started wrap the wicks around.
  2. Your fire starter is ready for use.

To use the fire starter you can scratch off some wax from the match heads (although I was successful igniting the matches with the wax on). Now scratch the fire starter with the strike-anywhere matches over a dry surface that offers some friction. If you are for whatever reason unable to ignite the fire starter with this method you can unwrap the wicks and use them as tinder with a ferro rod and they will catch a flame quickly.

Although the fire starters are waterproof I suggest you keep them separate in a plastic bag to avoid damaging them.

Happy making.



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    14 Discussions

    Awesome Instructable!!!For how long does it keep burning?

    3 replies

    Hi Manolov4, depending on the size of the fire starter and the environmental conditions one can burn between 5-10 minutes.

    Cheers Alex

    Thank you very much for the information!

    Always a pleasure never a chore :)

    What is the shelf life on these? From personal experience, wax dipped matches last about 2 months before the wax softens the strike heads making them useless. I would imagine the addition of the petroleum jelly would wick its way up the wood and dissolve the heads much quicker.

    1 reply

    Hi Lexton, to be honest I never stored one that long since I always used them after a few days. Your point makes sense to me and I will add a note to the Ible. Luckily they could be still used by igniting the cotton wicks through other methods.

    Thanks for your suggestion.

    Cheers Alex

    Hey there! I like this idea! I also did something similar. Check out my "wind-proof matches" instructable and read the comments section . I'm sure they'll help you improve on this concept.

    1 reply

    Hi MadScienceHacks, thanks for your comment. I read your Instructable before and liked as a way to make a hot burning strike anywhere fire starter. My idea for this one was to make a fire starter that burns slower, longer and can be ignited with alternative methods (e.g. ferro rod).

    Thanks again for taking the time to read & comment.

    Cheers Alex

    If you dip your franken-matchs in turpentine rather the coat them in wax they'll remain waterproof but you won't have to worry about them melting on you and potentially ruining bits of gear you store them with. Cheers mate. You really hit the ground running, huh?

    1 reply

    Hi 4WantofaNail, thanks for taking the time to read and comment yet another of my Instructables. I will definitely try your suggestion to use turpentine for waterproofing matches. For this fire starter however the wax is essential as a fuel for a slower burning flame which is why I recommended to to store the finished fire starters in a plastic bag to keep them separate from the rest of your gear.

    Cheers Alex

    you could also use a storm match instead of the fireplace match but awesome 'ible!

    1 reply

    Hi TheMadArcher2312,

    you are right but I would not recommend it as the fire starter would burn too quickly. The petroleum jelly & wax coatings will make the fire starter wind proof to some extend (although not as much as a commercial storm match). I will try to make a fire starter with a storm match for a burn time comparison to be certain.

    Cheers Alex