DIY Waterproof Matches: A Practical How-To Guide

Every person with an interest in survival preparation—whether it be for disaster preparedness following a cataclysmic event or simply staying alive during a lengthy camping trip—needs to have a set of DIY waterproof matches that won’t become ineffective if they should get wet. While “waterproof matches” may seem like a conundrum, they are actually quite easy to make. All you’ll need is a few simple, low-cost items which you likely already have handy in your home.

DIY Waterproof Matches:

The Tools

  • 1 wax candle
  • “Strike anywhere” matches (can be found in stock at online camping or survival stores)
  • 1 sheet of parchment paper
  • A fire-retardant work surface
  • See? I told you it was likely to be stuff you already had on hand!

The Trick

DIY Waterproof MatchesLight your candle and allow it to burn on your fire-retardant work surface until the wax begins to pool. I like to use tea light candles, as due to their small size the wax melts and pools quite quickly. Once a sufficient amount of liquefied wax has accumulated, extinguish the candle and take each match and dip the head of the match into the liquid wax, making certain to cover the head of the match entirely with wax (and then some!) in order to form a good seal. Allow any excess drippings to drip off, then lay the matches out on a sheet of parchment paper to dry and harden completely.

DIY Waterproof Matches Tip: If you are creating a large batch of waterproof matches, the melted wax from your candle will likely begin to congeal and harden again shortly after you extinguish the candle flame, making it difficult to work with. Be prepared to re-light and re-melt the wax several times if you are creating ten or more matches at a time. Remember to extinguish the candle before “treating” your DIY waterproof matches—you don’t want your DIY waterproof matches going up in smoke before they have a chance to be useful to you!

To Use

To use your DIY waterproof matches, simply scrape a bit of the wax coating from the tip of the match with a fingernail or pocket knife and strike it against any rough surface (a rock, a sidewalk, a concrete block—you name it). That’s all there is to it!

Storage Tips

Keep your new DIY waterproof matches in a cool location when not in use in order to avoid compromising the wax coating. Since the wax coating makes these DIY waterproof matches actually waterproof, there is no need to have a box of matches with a strike plate taking up room in your drybox. These can be used anywhere, and stored anywhere they will stay reasonably cool (I like to keep them inside a survival knife for easy access).

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Leave them in the comment section below

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