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Crisco Candle Revisited (And Attempt at Radiant Candle Heating)

I decided to revisit the crisco candle that I tried a few weeks back as I was curious about what I could have used from around the house to still use it as a candle yet not have to buy wick and wick holders to do it. So, I tried the following (click image to enlarge):

In the background is the original Crisco can with the wick I had used in the middle. In the foreground are four potential options for replacement wicks that I had. From left to right: jute twine, paracord, nylon twine, and a wood shim… yup, a wood shim.

In order to test it faster, I put all of the potential alternative wicks in at the same time (click image to enlarge):


Although I tried to cut each alternate wick to size before placing them in the Crisco, they were still a big too long to work properly (or so I thought) so I tried to cut them down while they were inserted into the Crisco. That didn’t work too well but I eventually got the alternate wicks to where I wanted them–usually about 1/4″ above the Crisco–and proceeded to light each of them on fire.

Guess what the ONLY alternate wick was to stay lit?…

The wood shim.

Unfortunately, the nylon wick had a hard time staying lit and very quickly shrank into oblivion, never to be seen again. I gave up as I didn’t have much hope for it in the first place. I had more hope for the jute twine, which stayed lit but didn’t want to stay upright and relatively quickly folded back upon itself and snuffed out in the Crisco; if I could have got it to stay upright it might have worked ok. Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much from the paracord either and found that the inner strands burned down rather quick and then I was left with melting the outer jacket… again, with no flames.

Like I said, the wood shim was the only thing left burning and stayed that way for hours on end. In fact, it rivaled the original wick in brightness until…

…until I decided to split the wood shim into four separate wicks, assuming that four would be better than one. This didn’t work out as planned; as you can tell from the above picture the original wick is much healthier and brighter than the four wood shim wicks (the bottom wick isn’t even lit). Perhaps the wood shim split in two (not four) pieces would have worked out ok but I think I’ll stick with the original wick and tabs from now on.

I also remember reading a post (or was it a video?) about being able to place a #10 can upside down over a candle to create a radiant heater; the belief is that this would somehow increase-or perhaps better distribute–the heat given off from the candle. To make it, I simply drilled holes in the top and bottom of the can for airflow (you can see one at the top and two at the bottom in the following photo) although I could have probably used more.

The result? Don’t bother. While the can definitely got hot to the touch I didn’t feel that I got better or more uniform heat from the idea. If anything placing the #10 can over the candle did the exact opposite of what I wanted AND it severely reduced light output. The ONLY thing I can say is that this idea could possible be implemented to make using a candle indoors a little safer, but there are far better ideas for that.

The conclusion?

As much as I like the idea of makeshift [fill in the blank] sometimes it’s just best to rely on the devices that were created for their intended purpose, such as lanterns for light. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying. ;)

4 comments to Crisco Candle Revisited (And Attempt at Radiant Candle Heating)

  • L.A.

    I have some chicken fat in my freezer from when I poured off the juices and fat from roasting a chicken. I should try using that and some wicks and see how well that works out. I have a few half pint canning jars. I’ll have to try chicken fat and compare that to crisco in a side by side trial comparison.

  • T.R.

    I wonder if lard would work ?

  • Gadabout

    It would be easier to get a few solar garden lights and bring them in at night for light inside your house.

    • That’s a plan I have as well but I always like to know what is possible so experimenting before I need to know was the plan with the crisco candle.