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Crisco Candle Success

I decided to try make my own Crisco candle the other day. I was surprised at how easy it was to make and, more importantly, how long it seems to last. I actually let the candle burn two separate times for a total of about seven hours and it barely made a dent in the level of the Crisco. Granted, it’s not the brightest of lights but if I can get many dozens of hours out of it, I’m not complaining.

I did choose to use materials made for candle making, specifically candle wick and wick tabs, both of which can be had quite inexpensively from Amazon. I think I got both for less than $15 shipped and I can easily make 150 of these small Crisco candles if I wanted (I would need to buy the cans of Crisco, of course). Maybe I could use cotton string and skip the candle wick holders (or makeshift something in their place) but I figured why not buy the right stuff?

Anyway, it was fairly easy to do. I followed the simple directions here, but I should warn you that the video shows the Crisco to fairly viscous, which was not the case when I made my candle:

Here are the parts that I used (click to enlarge):

Obviously, I need the Crisco, and in the middle you’ll note a strand of candle wick (cut to about 1/4″ longer than the height of the Crisco can using the small scissors shown), a small wick tab (used for holding the wick in place at the bottom of the can), and a pair of pliers to crimp the wick tab, a lighter, and a screwdriver that I intended to use to push the wick down into the Crisco (it didn’t work out like that).

This is what the wick tab and candle wick look like when put together (click image to enlarge):

Simply insert the candle wick into the wick tab until flush and crimp with a pair of pliers. Then, push the wick tab into the center of the Crisco until is sits flush with the bottom of the can. The video made it look really easy; he must have heated the Crisco somewhat before doing this because it didn’t work out for me like shown. I had to push the wick tab down with my fingers because the Crisco was not cooperating and, thereby, made a big mess and a gaping hole in the middle. I then had to fix the hole by mushing Crisco around to fill it while holding the top of the candle wick. Like I said, I made a mess.

After seven hours this is how much of the Crisco was used (click to enlarge):

From the measurements taken, I used about 1/2″ of Crisco over 7 hours of use, which is barely a dent in the 3″ tall can. If I extrapolate, I could easily get over 40 hours of light from this single small can and that’s being conservative because I know the Crisco didn’t fill completely to the top and I had actually used some when baking saltine crackers the other day. In reality, I would imagine I could get 50-60 hours using a single wick with this can.

The cool part is that if you choose to use a large 3 pound can of Crisco (the can I used in this experiment was a 1 pound can) you could get 100+ hours of burn time without a problem. That said, the light was fairly dim. In order to use this light effectively, you would probably want to use multiple wicks which, of course, would reduce the burn time. All-in-all I would say the experiment worked out pretty good. I’m not sure if it’s worth the cost and effort to make dozens of these considering that you can still purchase candles fairly inexpensively, but at least I know I can do it.

Damian Brindle

Blogger at reThinkSurvival
Blogging about all things survival and emergency preparedness, including experiences with DIY projects and ideas, gear reviews, living frugally, cooking in unconventional ways, and more! All while linking to the best videos and articles each day to help YOU get better prepared.

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7 comments to Crisco Candle Success

  • Lux18

    After thinking about this shortening candle thing I tried it and with enough birthday candles I was able to boil water and I was able to add some rancid corn oil to use as a fuel also since I can not eat it. So I did an instructable on cooking with fats (as a fuel):

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Cooking-With-FatAs-A-Fuel/?ALLSTEPS

    Lux

  • Lux18

    This would be good for cooking. For lighting I prefer a good long run time flashlight:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Flashlight-Mod-Increases-Run-Time-36X/?allstep

  • Lux18

    This reminds me of some experiments I did with cooking with a single candle flame. I was able to heat up a can of ravioli. I also preheated some water and then got it boiling with a propane stove. By preheating the water I was able to reduce the propane needed to boil water (about 8 oz I think) by about 40 percent. The next set of tests were going to be boiling water with multiple candle flames but I never got around to it. This has me inspired to try it out using birthday candles stuck in shortening. This would be very useful in a survival / emergency situation because you could add oils to the top of the shortening candle as needed which are no longer fit for human consumption such as rancid oils. You could probably use bacon grease also.

    Lux18

  • Prudent prepper

    Wonder if you could just shove a few old candles down in the Crisco. This is one way to utilize shortening that has a slight rancid taste. I noticed yesterday that Crisco still has the metal can while the store brand is now plastic covered cardboard. Something to think about.

  • 101st Airborne

    I’d rather fry my chicken in the dark.

  • Use salt and borax and cotton string to make the “real” candle wick that will burn properly. There are sites that explain it. I never thought of just using a Crisco can. Good job.

    • I’ve looked into making my own candle wick but what I found didn’t involved salt and borax… that sounds simple. Regardless, buying candle wick from Amazon was inexpensive enough and since I can literally make a hundred or more such candles, I figured why not buy the real stuff and save it if/when I need it.

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