Waterproof Match Box (Shotgun Shells)




About: Friendship is like a mirror, it gives you back what you are. You make a friend by being one.

This is a cool way to store/carry your matches on your outdoor adventures. Its waterproof and you can even pack some firelighting tinder into it as well. But the best bit is that its made out of shotgun shells.

What you will need:
2 Shotgun Shells (used!) 
1 Box of Matches
1 Candle 
1 Knife
1 Pliers
1-2 Cotton Balls
1 Sticky Tape

Shotgun Shells are easy to come by, if you don't shoot, you could contact a gun club, they should be able to supply you with as many as you need.

Step 1: The Striking Card

Open the box of matches and flatten the outer sleeve. With a knife or scissors cut through the box, removing the striking surface and a flap of card. This flap should be the same size as the striking surface. Fold the flap over the striking surface and tape it closed. There should be no striking surface exposed (if there is it may cause the matches to ignite in transit!).
Place to one side. 

Step 2: Trim the Shell

Unless you are using extra-long matches you will need to trim the shotgun shell down to size. You can do this by cutting off the crimped (open) end. To get an idea of how much you need to trim, measure the striking card against the side of the shell. Be careful not to cut too much off, too big is better than too small as you can always pack more cotton wool in the gap. 

Step 3: Pack the Matches

Start by packing a ball of cotton wool down to the bottom of the shell, this will help stop the matches rattling around in the box. Then fill the shell with your matches. Place them in head first. When it is nearly full, pack the striking card into the shell with the matches (this is why it is necessary to cover all the striking surface).

Step 4: Pack the Gaps

There will still be some gaps around the matches and striking surface. Start packing in more cotton wool to plug these gaps. The cotton wool stops the matches moving around too much. If you have enough cotton wool packing, the matched will stay in the shell when it is turned upside down.

Step 5: Take Your Cap Off

Heat the brass cap at the end of the second shotgun shell over a flame. After a wile this should melt the glue connecting the plastic sleeve. Holding the brass cap with the pliers you should be able to, with a bit of twisting, pull off the plastic sleeve. 

Step 6: Cap the End

Place the cap on a work surface (not plastic as it will be hot) and pour in a small amount of melted candle wax. While the wax is still liquid, fit the open end of packed shell into the cap with the wax. You should now have what looks like a 'double ended' shotgun shell. When the wax hardens it will make a waterproof seal.

When you need a fire, you just twist off the cap and inside you have your matches, a striking surface and some tinder (cotton wool) to get your fire going. 



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest

    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    can you still do this with unused shells that have been emptied?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Heating the shell might cause primer to explode even after powder and shot are removed. Not recommended!


    Reply 3 years ago

    I sure you could, I have never tried. You would need to make sure it's completely empty as you will be heating the cap with a candle.


    4 years ago

    This is the first 'ible that addresses accidental match ignition as well as a real emergency fire starter. Its sealed in a way that prevents novel use as a "cool match box." Nicely done

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    May I give a small suggestion maybe you can rub vasoline on the cotton and press it firmly into little balls and coat them in candle wax I made hundreds of them very useful fire starters what I do is push a match stick through one strike it and cover in paper I find it nearly fool proof

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks natis413, that's a good idea, I will try it out.