Your prepping gear would not be complete without multiple ways to start a fire, and having waterproof matches is indeed an essential addition to any preppers kit. In this article, I will show you 3 simple ways to make waterproof matches at home.
How to Make Waterproof Matches, that Work
Have you ever been camping, and couldn’t get your matches to light because they where damp? Normal matches don’t mix well with wet or damp conditions, and sometimes, when outdoors, these conditions are hard to avoid. You leave your backpack out in the rain by accident, knock your tackle box over into the stream, whatever the case, accidents happen, and this could put an end to your trip if you can’t get the fire going to cook, or purify water if in a survival situation.
You are able to buy matches that are waterproof, but these can be expensive, so I am going to show you how to make waterproof matches at home, which won’t cost an arm and a leg.
1. Nail Polish
A great way to make waterproof matches is by using nail polish. It helps the flame burn, and it can withstand a good bit of ware and tear.
Step 1 – Dipping the Matches
Dip the head of the regular match, and part of the stick of into the nail polish bottle. Allow it to soak for a few seconds before removing. If you are borrowing nail polish, and don’t want to contaminate the bottle with match bits, you can use the paint brush and paint the nail polish onto the matches. Give it a few coats, allowing time in between to dry. Make sure to do this over a newspaper, as it can make a serious mess of carpet or your bench.
Step 2 – Drying
You can tie some thread onto the matches before dipping them, and then hang them over the newspaper to dry them, or else hold the match in one hand, and use the hair dryer to gently dry the matches. Don’t hold the hair dryer too close to the matches.
Wax is a great waterproof coating for anything, but is specially good to use on matches, as it is waterproof, but also it burns well. The wax will hold out any moisture the matches are exposed too, but this is not as durable as using nail polish, as the wax can break off if you don’t store the matches in a match container.
Striking the matches on a striker will peel away any wax layers, and expose the match head to the striker, allowing it to ignite. Overall, wax is a great way to make waterproof matches at home.
- Candle, or candle wax
- Regular Matches
- Heat Source for melting the wax (stove, lit candle…)
Step 1 – Melting the Wax
There are a number of ways you can melt the wax for this process. You can simply light a candle, and wait for the wax to melt, then pour it into a container and put it on your heat source. Make sure you cover everything in newspaper, as wax is very hard to remove from carpet, and even work benches.
Step 2 – Applying the Wax
After you have a pool of wax in you container, on the heat source, it should be in liquid form. To apply the wax to the matches, simply dip the matches in the wax pool so about half to three quarters of the stick is covered, and allow them to soak for a few seconds. Remove the match, and allow the wax to dry. You can then apply another coat, but don’t over do it, as this can make lighting the matches hard.
Step 3 – Drying
To dry your new waterproof matches, you can place them on the edge of the match box, or use a bit of thread like I mentioned above and hang the matches. If you want to speed up the process, use a hair dryer at a distance.
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Turpentine is the quickest, safest and easiest way to make waterproof matches at home. You can buy turpentine at most local hardware shops, or even an arts and crafts shop, or buy it online here.
Step 1 – Pour the turps into the glass
First off, lay out some newspaper and set your glass jar, or cup on it. Turpentine can strip paint from nearly any surface, so be extra careful. Now pour the turpentine into your glass or cup.
Step 2 – Soak the match
Dip the match into the turpentine and soak about three quarters of the stick. Let it soak for 5 minutes before removing. The turpentine will soak into the match stick, all the way to the other end.
Step 3 – Dry the matches
After removing the matches from the turpentine, spread them out on the newspaper, and let the air dry, or if you want to speed up the process, use the hair dryer, again, from a distance. Matches treated in this way will remain waterproof for several months.
If you want to save some money, these 3 methods of making your own waterproof matches at home are great. Once you buy the initial products, you can make hundreds of waterproof matches. Give it a shot!
Bonus – Make a Mini Fire Torch
You can use paraffin wax and a small bundle of candles that are tied together with some thread to make a mini torch, and also waterproof matches, that can burn for around 10 minutes.
Step 1 – Melt the Paraffin Wax
Melt the paraffin wax over a stove, and make sure you have the area around the stove covered with newspaper incase any spills or drips.
Step 2 – Tie the Matches
You will need to get some thread, and 5 or 6 matches, tie them in a bundle like the image above, and make sure they are tightly bundled. Wrap the thread around the from the middle of the matches, to just below the tip of the head of the match. You can apply a few layers to make them burn slightly longer.
Step 3 – Apply the Wax
To make your matches waterproof, and burn for a long time, you will need to dip them in the paraffin wax. Dip them in to where the thread ends, and soak them for a few seconds. Then remove, and let the matches dry.
There you have it, a mini torch made from waterproof matches.