This is a quick and easy method that we learned from our friend Alban Cambe – on how to Build A Buddy Burner from home using cheap recycled materials.

The main purpose of a buddy burner is it acts as a sustainable flame that doesn’t go out fast.  And is very useful in many “emergencies” or “off the grid” situations such as for camping, outdoor cooking, keeping warm, lighting a dark room, making a lantern, etc.

It also can be stored away, and reused. This is an excellent little tool that is a lot of fun to make, and can maybe save you a little money on candles or for when the lights go out.  The steps are outlined below.

Tools and objects to build buddy burner

Tools & Objects You’ll Need

– Empty Tuna Can (Make Sure It’s Cleaned Well)

– Corrugated Cardboard

– Unscented Candles or Paraffin Wax

– Scissors, Lighter & a Marker

Step 2 cut strips

Step #2

Place your can on it’s side, and draw a line the same height as your can.  Make sure you draw a straight line across as this will be your cutting line.

IMPORTANT! make sure that you cut the strips so that the Corrugated lines of the cardboard are running “up & down” if you are holding the strip lengthwise horizontal to the floor.

You can roll the can along with the marker to ensure you get a straight line.  Make sure you cut out several strips.

step #3 - Roll Strips of Cardboard

Step #3

Prep the end of each strip by bending one end of the strip.

Roll each Strip of Cardboard semi-tightly, (meaning it should unravel a tiny bit) – and continue adding strips one on the outside of each previous strip rolled.

Continue adding strips until you have filled the interior space of the can.

Fill the can with cardboard

Step #4

Take the rolled up group of strips and fill up the tuna can, pressing down on the cardboard until it packs down to the bottom.

This next step is optional, but will catch any wax-drips from getting on whatever surface the can is on.  You can lay down some parchment paper, foil, etc.. to prepare for the next step.

You can put a small piece of cardboard sticking up or a candle wick in the middle to help start it.

step 5- Pour Melted Wax Over Cardboard

Step #5

If using a big candle, can light it, and then angle it over the cardboard until it drips over the cardboard in can.  Make sure you fill all the cracks & crevices.  The problem with this method is that it can take a long time, and get messy.

A better method is melting down 1 or 2 unscented candles in an old pot or sauce pan on very low heat, never leaving the pot unattended. A preferred method is to use a double boiler.

Fill the can with wax

Step #6

After the wax has melted down in pot or double-boiler, proceed to pour the wax over the cardboard-stuffed can.

Make sure you fill all the cracks & crevices, saturates the corrugated cardboard and fill it to the rim. Let it cool down. And when ready to use just light it up!

How To Build A Buddy Burner

DIY “Buddy Burner” Potential

These little babies burn for a long time, produce a large flame, and give off quite a bit of heat.  So the potential is endless.

Knowing how to build a “buddy burner” can potentially save lives in some kind of “off-the-grid” scenario, emergency disaster, or major crisis were to occur in cold winter Months.

It would be a good idea to make Make a few dozen of these ‘buddy burners’ for your preparation arsenal.

These make for ‘excellent little cookers‘ for frying pan meals or placed under a grill instead of charcoal.  Can be used for many other different things such as: use as a lanternkeeping you warm, camping, or roasting marshmallows for the kids.  Can also serve you well for storing a few of these in your car.

Here is an awesome video of more potentials of these cool little babies done by Bev Volfie from OurHalfAcreHomestead

Summary and Safety Precautions

WARNING: Use of all content displayed on the page is at your own risk.

If you liked this post, you may like one we just did on how to start a fire with sticks.  We show you how to start a friction fire from scratch like Tom Hanks did from Cast Away.

Make sure to light buddy burners in a safe place far away from anything flammable. These can produces a lot of heat and the flame can reach up to 8 inches high.

Do not set it on the floor where it can be accidently kicked, or small children or pets can fall on top of it.  Best to set it on concrete blocks or bricks, and/or set it on a table or a stand.

If using indoors make sure set it far away from anything flammable like carpeting, rugs, wood floors, curtains, sofas, chairs, etc.  Make sure you have adequate ventilation, so open a door, and/or window(s) in your house., especially if cooking with it, as it will produce a bit of smoke.

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Filed under: DIY Emergency and Survival Tips, Techniques & Tactics

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