Almost everyone appreciates the importance of having candles on hand during a power outage. However, not all candles are created equally, and many tend to burn a lot faster than we would like. You can buy special survival candles that are designed to burn slowly, or you can also make your own. In fact, it only takes a few ingredients to make your own supply of survival candles that can burn for up to 50 hours.
Preparing the Ingredients
Order a five pound bag of pure soy wax, a bunch of quality wicks, something to anchor the wicks in the candles and a large can or double boiler. You can use pieces of aluminum foil, paper clips, soda or beer can tabs or other similar items to anchor the wicks. You can use anything from decorative glass containers for the candles or you can use molds to form them into various shapes. Some people prefer to use toilet paper roll tubes as forms for the candles, and simply store the finished product in boxes for future use. The choice is yours, but just choose containers or molds that will serve their intended purpose during a prolonged power outage.
Making the Candles
You may want to consider using a #10 can instead of a double boiler due to the messiness of this project. In any case, dump the dried soy wax into the inner pot or can and place into a larger pot of boiling water. A #10 can will hold about 2.5 lbs of the wax. Let the wax start to melt down, reduce the heat to a low boil and stir frequently to prevent scorching while speeding up the process.
Add the wicks to your jars or molds as the wax is melting. They don’t need to be perfectly centered, but you want to make sure that they fall all the way to the bottom. The weight of the metallic objects you are using should be enough to keep the wicks from curling up. Slowly pour the melted wax into each mold or jar. You can keep the wax on a low flame to maintain its liquid state until all of the jars have been filled.
Take pieces of aluminum foil to cover each of the jars or molds. You want to poke a hole in the middle and feed the wicks through the bottom of the foil as you seal cover each one. This will hold the wicks in place as the wax cools and hardens. Allow the candles to cool at room temperature. You can remove them from the molds once they have hardened all the way through. Remove the foil and trim the tops of the wicks to about ¼ inch above the candles. Store as necessary.
The advantage of using jars is that they trap any wax that runs or drips off the side of a candle. Preventing that wax from going to waste can dramatically lengthen the time that the candle can burn. However, you can also make a series of portable candles that can come in handy under numerous circumstances as well. Consider making a few batches of various candles to give you the most options during an extended period of time without power. These are also excellent for camping or backpacking, and you can reduce fuel consumption or the need to keep a fire going just for some additional light.
Try this simple trick out for yourself. You will be amazed at how long these candles can burn, and they will quickly become an integral part of your survival lighting cache. They also burn cleaner and more efficiently than other candles, kerosene or other types of fuel.