Author Topic: inquiry-emergency candle formula  (Read 5058 times)

Offline lroberge

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 11
  • Karma: 1
inquiry-emergency candle formula
« on: February 27, 2010, 07:04:40 PM »
Greetings!  I have read recently from one survival book, the formula to make emergency candles (usually these are candles will have LONG burn times for emergency lighting needs).

Ok, the formula required parafin melted and mixed with fine sawdust, mixed and then as it cooled, packed into a container and then insert a wick by sticking a screwdriver or some other item to make a hole to insert the wick into the wax.

Several questions come to mind:  Is the sawdust necessary? 

Does it slow the burning of the wax? 

Wouldn't the sawdust burn along with the wax?

Also, is parafin wax necessary? 

Can other waxes be used such as beeswax? 

Wouldn't a parafin and beeswax mix make the wax last longer as a candle?

Finally, I was thinking about using metal coffee cans (I have a lot of them) for candle containers.  I thought I could fill with the wax, insert the wick, and then use the plastic cover (originally used for the coffee can) as a cover to keep out moisture and dust, until the day that I needed to burn the candle.

Would metal coffee cans work, folks?  OR would the metal coffee can build up heat as the candle inside burned and become a fire hazard?

Finally, if this works out, does anyone have a formula for making citronella candles? 

Where do you get the citronella oil and how much do you use to mix in with the wax to make an effective citronella (mosquito repelling) candle?

I would appreciate and welcome any and all comments and suggestions.

Thank you.

Best wishes.


Offline grog

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 46
  • Karma: 1
    • The grog blog on wordpress
Re: inquiry-emergency candle formula
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 08:55:35 PM »
First with a small weight at the bottom of the wick, in the mold or container, Would be a good start, and conservation of resources as you could preset the wick to the container.

as to mixing of waxes sources, not so sure, as to the chemical and burning properties of each wax. You could blend, make some note and go from there, however I do not think this would be viable( you may have more resources I am not aware off.)

There are a few posts in various forums that suggest Freezing of candles BEFORE use may help to improve utilization.

Sorry , but that is all I have at this time.

Excellent subject, Thanks.

Offline Dawgus

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1818
  • Karma: 89
Re: inquiry-emergency candle formula
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 06:38:58 AM »
 for making "emergency candles" honestly just use used regular old candlewax. Have friends and family gather and/or save used candles that they don't want and melt them down. They aren't pretty by any means, but for just emergency use, who cares. You just need to melt them down and remove the wick and metal wick holder that was at the bottom.

 You can make candlemaking as simple or as complicated as you want. My wife makes candles of all types, and has molds for different styles and sizes, but also enjoys making plain hand dipped ones.

 For the hand dipped, you can get by with just buying the wicking from a craft store and nothing else, Heat the wax on the stove inside a coffee can, supported by something underneath, inside a pot of boiling water. My wife uses either a canning ring or a small empty glass dish. Don't let the melted wax sit directly on the heat or it will burn.

 Cut the wick a little over 2x the depth of your pot with something for weight tied at the ends. (I've used 3/8 nuts) use a clothespin or something similar at the top to keep them from touching(or just use two fingers),dip into melted wax, and hand over a horizontal stick or rack to dry between dips. Doing more than one pair at a time keeps the process going. Keep dipping and drying in rotation, watching the amount of wax in the pot, adding more and waiting for it to melt if necessary. It takes a few dips for it to even start to resemble a candle as it starts off as a wax covered string, lol, but after dipping over and over, the candle starts to form. I made a simple rack of 2x2 uprights and two dowel rods horizontally across the top. Two about an inch and a half apart keep the hot wax from touching and sticking together. Dip-let dry-dip-let dry...over and over and over.

 Avoid using used candles with a heavy clear coat since  some are wax, but some are a spray coat that will melt in the wax and cause it not to bind well when re-using. Larger candles that are white with a colored outer layer will work, but I prefer to shave off the colored layer since it's always a lesser grade of wax that doesn't always mix well.  Using scented is ok, just keep in mind you will be combining the scents of all the ones you have used. You could end up with pine-lavender-christmas cookie-vanilla emergency candles, or something that smells like awful 70's avon perfume. (hey it may work on mosquitos lol)


  • Guest
Re: inquiry-emergency candle formula
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 04:45:33 PM »
I do have experience with candles.  Have made my own for years and made the cardboard-parrafin ones in tuna cans.  Be careful and do NOT use the cardboard or sawdust ones with parrafin inside the house.  I have had them going with fire up 2 - 3 feet high.  I made a three WICK large-tuna-can candle - with perfectly good wax - and used it in my homemade rabbit wire burner with a pan on top to heat H2o while cleaning in house all day, and the actual wax caught on fire - was too enclosed.  Wax got too hot. In an outdoor camping situation, the can burners of 3 and 4 wicks do not overheat and are great for keeping the coffee hot all morn.
For real light, you are best off with a taper candle.  Most of my tapers that are really good I have bought at yardsales for almost nothing.  I buy those glass medium size open ended hurricane tubes and use them on a glass dish with the actual taper candle in metal or glass holder as they can burn forgetfully and very protected in another room.  The biggest danger of candes in the house is the wax overheating.  Heck, I occaisionally, when I feel paranoid, burn a candle in a jar sitting in a soup bowl with water in it. I have cats that sometimes get a mind to go where they know better not.  Try to get to yard sales and buy readymade, even half burnt for almost nothing. Goodwill sometimes have really nice candles for a song. I buy pre waxed and wired wicks - the one thing I do pay for willingly.  They are good. When melting wax be careful not to overheat.  Hope this helps some.  C.

Offline tech132

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 47
  • Karma: 4
Re: inquiry-emergency candle formula
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 08:57:48 AM »
I learned my lesson when hurricane Hugo struck the Carolina's in 1989. It was hot & humid, and I was miserable with out electricity for 6 days. I had to wait in line to go to a store and buy stuff to fix to eat. They only let in 10 at a time. That is not something I want to repeat anytime soon. So prepping does equal comfort. Since I live in an apartment I am limited to what I can store. Right now I am about the 90 day mark. I still am refining the process and will continue prepping no matter what happens.

Offline SteveandTracyinKY

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 912
  • Karma: 18
  • Survival Chef
    • The Hen House
Re: inquiry-emergency candle formula
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 10:50:44 PM »
This is something I have thought about a lot. I have seen the "100 hour" emergency candles in the past and never understood what made them any different.

I was assume that the sawdust would hinder the wax melting, but would not expect all of the sawdust to burn, maybe on what came in direct contact with the flame.

What is the difference in the thick round candles and a taper candle? Why do the taper candles work better for "real light".

I have been looking at USO's candle lanterns. We sell several of them and the newest one is the mini candle lantern that burns tea candles. Heck with a few of those and a bag of tea candles you could have all kinds of light. I may try to drag one out of inventory this weekend and review it.

Why would you want to use beeswax over parafin, and what is the difference?

A little all over the place, but thats my thoughts.

Offline Dawgus

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1818
  • Karma: 89
Re: inquiry-emergency candle formula
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 05:20:49 AM »
 Check your local thrisft stores, yard sales, flea markets, etc for candles. Our philosophy is there's no such thing as too many candles. My wife does make them, but we have several boxes full that we picked up dirt cheap from the above sources. Not long ago I stopped at a rummage sale that had a "fill this bag for $1.50" sale. I jammed one with every candle I found inside, probably over 50. The kitchen buffet has a drawer full, in my prep room there are at least 2 milk crates full, and there are at least 50-60 in the living room display cabinet.
 We've made candles in lots of things before we had actual molds. We've used cleaned pop cans with the top cut off, plastic cigar tubes and coffee cans. Most craft stores carry a decent amount of candle making supplies. We stock up on wicking quite a bit, which is less expensive by the roll rather than pre-cut in packages. My wife prefers making hand dipped over molds, and uses an old metal coffee pot on the stove inside a pot of water, like a double boiler. (keeps the wax from burning) She just cuts wicking at 18-20" long, ties a 3/8 nut on each end and starts dipping. I made a wooden jig from scrap lumber that keeps them roughly 3" apart so they don't stick to each other, and it has a stand that they set on while drying between dips. It's time consuming, but makes great candles.
 Beeswax is better for candles because it burns cleaner and slower than parrafin. We have very few beeswax candles, cause, well, it's more expensive than parrafin. We get by just fine on regular paffafin candles, and have plenty of them. I've never heard of mixing sawdust into a candle, but we have tried mixing in dried herbs. It made the candle burn fast and irregular.