How to Make a Lantern Out of an Aluminum Can (And a Candle Out of Bacon Fat)


Presently, lighting up your campsite or backcountry getaway ordinarily suggests flicking on an LED headlamp or flashlight. These contemporary torches are undeniably handy and effective, but in some techniques they can not hold either a metaphorical or literal candle to an old fashioned lantern. Lanterns not only throw light in numerous directions rather than concentrating it in a single beam, but they also have an alluringly warm glow.

Lanterns conjure up pictures of old railroad days, covered wagons, and lengthy-forgotten cabins. They’re romantic, trusted, and a supply of heat — a thing that the ideal headlamps could by no means offer. You can nonetheless effortlessly locate old-fashioned oil lanterns in most sporting goods retailers and on line, but these can be bulky, plus you have to haul about oil.

Alternatively, you can make a lantern your self with a bare minimum of tools and components.  

Generating a lantern out of an aluminum can is an simple evening or weekend project, and there are lots of distinct types to pick from. The version shown under is a single of the simplest, but also most productive, mainly because of the way it reflects ambient light and concentrates heat towards a focused location. And if you do not have a candle or do not want to incorporate them in your pack, I’ve incorporated a “recipe” for a bacon fat version.

It is rather entertaining to see what outside/survival supplies you can make with household things. Here’s how to MacGyver each a lantern and a candle from the remnants of typical meals and drink. 


Lantern Components

  1. Aluminum can
  2. Candle
  3. Marker
  4. Razorblade (or scissors or sharp knife)

Bacon Fat Candle Components

  1. Bacon
  2. Cedar bark (or other cordage) 

How to Make an Aluminum Can Lantern

Step 1: Reduce the Can

Use a marker to draw a massive sideways “H” on the can. The top rated line must be at the shoulder of the can, exactly where it angles toward the mouth. The bottom line must be about an inch from the bottom of the can. The legs of the “H” must extend about halfway about the sides.

Use a razor blade — or scissors or knife — to reduce along the marker lines.

Step two: Open the “Wings” 

Fold open the can and bend the wings that you created with the cuts. Each and every wing must be practically perpendicular to the curve of the can, but not really.

Step three: Flatten Bottom of Can

Use your thumb to depress the raised dome at the bottom of the can. This will give your candle a flat spot to sit.

Step four: Insert Candle

Location a candle inside, light it, and adjust your wings till they reflect the maximum quantity of light. Bonus tip: use the empty mouth to hang your can lantern up from a tree branch or hook.

How to Make a Bacon Fat Candle for the Lantern

But what if you do not have a candle? In a survival situation, you may be left with a random assortment of things that do not make sense collectively or look beneficial. But, if you have a can, a knife, some bacon grease, and access to a cedar tree, you can cobble collectively a can lantern that supplies hours of light and heat:

Step 1: Cook Bacon! Yum!

Reduce about half a pound of bacon into significant chunks. Cook more than low-medium heat till all the fat is rendered.

Step two: Harvest Bark

Harvest a piece of bark from a cedar tree. Appear for pieces that have the consistency of twine and peel off the tree like string cheese.

Step three: Weave Bark Into a Wick

Separate the bark into thinner strands, and then weave them or twist them collectively to make a single uniform piece of cordage. This will be your wick. It is also worth mentioning right here that you do not have to use cedar bark. Any thin cordage that will absorb bacon grease will do the trick. 

Step four: Eliminate Can Tab

Eliminate the tab from the top rated of your can and tie your wick to it.

Step five: Saturate Wick

Eliminate the cooked bacon from the pan and saturate your wick in the grease. Set the wick aside.

Step six: Pour Grease Into Can

Let the grease cool for at least a handful of minutes and very carefully pour it into the bottom of your lantern.

Step 7: Set the Wick

Set your wick in the bacon grease (you do not have to hold it) and wait for it to harden. As soon as the bacon grease has hardened, trim your wick if essential (you do not want it extra than an inch or so larger than the grease) and light your new candle. 


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