The Candle that Never Dies

That’s not completely true, but it’s damn close.

Candle not nearly as cute in person

While living at the Occupy Toronto tent city, a couple friends of mine have taken playing with fire to a whole new level: They’ve created a warm and largely renewable candle with a built-in safety trigger (to keep us from burning down the Occupy Toronto encampment).

Half candle, half dragon

Okay, first I’ll tell you all about why this candle is awesome.

  • Most of the wax from this candle ends up solidifying after you put the fire out. This means that the candle takes a very long time to grow smaller.
  • The flame gradually grows to a huge fireball in the container. After a while of intense heat and fire, the wax begins to boil and drown the fire. Before the fire is completely drowned, the wax will cool down and the fire will bulid back up again. This will continue indefinitely. This keeps the fire from going out of control while letting it give you enough heat to keep you warm.
  • The heat given off this candle isn’t as hot as a campfire, but it’s quite an improvement to the cold you’ll find without it. It’s also much less likely to go out of control than a camp fire.
  • The Occucandle is very easy to make, and costs no more than $10 for about a 2 liter candle.

Want one of your own? Yeah you do. Here’s how we managed to throw ours together:

(WARNING: The Occucandle is NOT safe. Be very careful when you build this thing, and don’t ever leave it unattended. It will burn everything.)

Yeah, kinda like that
  • At first, go ahead and burn a few candles normally. Burn them inside a metal container to let the melted was accumulate (we used a large coffee tin).
  • While the wax is liquid in the container, add a few handfuls of shredded paper and let it sit in the wax as it hardens (you’ll have to play with the paper to wax ratio to reach the heat and flame size you want. That said, we did it at about a 2:1 ratio with the paper un-crumpled)
  • When the melted wax and paper wicks accumulate in the container to a good height, light some of the paper on fire, and let it burn. Like I said before, KEEP AN EYE ON THIS THING. It can turn into a huge fireball very quickly.
  • As the candle burns and is consumed, continue to add wax and shredded paper as needed. You will need to do this less often than you think.
  • Keep water and some kind of choker (we used a bucket) to control the fire if it does get out of control. You can also nudge container a bit with your boot, which will move the the liquid wax around and drown some of the fire.

You can also pour the liquid wax into smaller molds to make many candles, or to experiment with different paper to wax ratios.


Finally, if you do manage to lose control of the fire and burn down a neighbourhood…don’t get me in trouble xD.


Happy pyro-ing,

– Eddy

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