3 DIY Free Alternative Sources of Heat

1. Tuna Can Heaters

These heaters can last for 2-5 hours depending on the cardboard and wax. Place them under a ceramic flower pot to harness the heat, place it in a rocket stove, use to cook under a #10 aluminum can, or use open for light.

Supplies: tuna/chicken cans, old cardboard boxes, pencil, duct tape, old candles for wax,

First save your old tuna or chicken cans.

When you’re ready to make your heaters, cut long strips of cardboard (just from old boxes) that are the width of the can. You’ll want the cardboard to stick out just a few millimeters.

Next curl them around a pencil or pen. At some point you’ll need to add another strip. Place a small piece of duck tape on the roll so that it doesn’t unravel. You want it tight, but not so tight that wax can’t get in between the cardboard.

Add it to the can. Add any additional strips needed to fill out the can.

Melt wax in an old pot. I save old candles that have wax but can’t be burned anymore.

Pour the wax onto the tuna can cardboard. Let it dry and then pour a second coat. The second time will need less.

Save the lid to be used to put out the flame. You can add wax on it every 30 minutes or so if you want to keep using the cardboard.


2. Newspaper Logs

Newspaper logs are extremely easy, very affordable, and environmentally friendly. These are used best in a fireplace or pit, and just for heat and light. If you don’t get the paper regularly, ask and friend or school for old papers. When using old copy paper, you’ll need to make the logs thicker. (use the DIY fire starters with these to help them light evenly)

Supplies: Newspaper and duct tape

First, using 10-15 sheets at a time, roll the newspaper into “logs.”

Add a little duct tape to keep it from unraveling.

The trick here is to keep some spaces in between your layers. Try twisting these in the middle to keep them together better.


3. Egg Carton Fire Starters

I make these fire starters regularly and use them all year long. They burn for 15 minutes and are really easy to make. I keep mine in a gallon zip lock bag with our camping supplies.

Supplies: card board egg carton, string or duct tape, lint from the dryer, old wax candles

First cut a cardboard egg carton into individual egg squares.

Snip the four corners so that they can fold into the center.

Add lint from the dryer into each center. Pour some melted wax onto the lint.

Next fold the four corners in and place a small piece of duct tape onto the fold.

Drop the entire thing into melted wax and pull out with a fork. Do not put your hand in the pot… remember it’s HOT wax (not that I’ve messed this up before haha). An alternative is to tie a string around it and then dip the ball using the string. Tying the strings were driving me nuts so I usually skip that step.

Let the wax cool and then dip a second time.

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