How to Light a Candle Without a Lighter or Matches

By Chris Deziel

It's a good idea to have several candles on hand in case of a power failure, but they aren't much good if you can't light them. Never fear -- there are at least three easy ways to light a candle when the power is off, as long as you have a few essential survival supplies. If you do have power, and you simply want to light a candle without a lighter or match ... well, that's easy.

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Use a Resistive Heating Element

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If you're at home and you have power, you can use any appliance that supplies heat by electrical resistance to light a candle. Suitable appliances include room heaters, toasters, stoves and ovens. Simply turn on the appliance and wait for the element to get red hot, then touch the candle wick to the hot element and it should instantly ignite. You only need to light one candle -- once it's burning, you can use it to light any others you need. Don't forget to turn off the appliance as soon as the candle lights if you don't need it otherwise, or it will turn into an expensive fire starter.

Focus Light with a Lens

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Survivalists usually carry a magnifying glass to start fires -- if you don't have one, you can use a pair of binoculars or even a broken transparent lightbulb filled with water. Hold the magnifier between the sun and a crumpled piece of dry paper -- tissue paper works best -- and move the magnifier until you see a bright, well-focussed pinpoint of light on the paper. Ignition doesn't take long -- usually no more than a few seconds, and once the paper is burning, you can use it to light your candle. Don't forget to extinguish the paper once the candle is lit.

Heat Tin Foil with a Battery

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The magnifying glass option only works during the day, and you usually need candles at night. Three other items you commonly find around the house -- a battery, tinfoil and scissors -- can get your candle going when there's no sun to help. Cut a 3/4-inch strip of tinfoil so it's about twice as long as a AAA, AA, C- or D-cell battery,; fold it in half and shape the folded end into a point a little less than 1/4 inch wide. Unfold the tinfoil, and hold one of the ends to one of the battery terminals and the other end to the other terminal. The narrow section in the middle instantly gets hot enough to light your candle.

Get All "Davy Crockett" with a Flint

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If you're out in the wilderness and you brought only the minimum amount of survival supplies, you hopefully remembered to pack a small piece of flint. Assemble some paper towels or toilet paper into a small pile and rub the flint against anything made of iron, such as an ax blade or a non-galvanized metal tent stake. Rub the flint vigorously in the direction of the paper; the action releases shards of iron that instantly turn into sparks and should eventually ignite the paper. Once the paper is burning, use it to light your candle.