Wickless Alcohol Burner (Moonshine Candle)

WARNING:  Due to the nature of this project involving fire proceed at your own risk.  I am not to be held liable for any damages or injury to yourself your your personal property.  Always have a fire extinguisher near and use a clean work area anytime you work around an open flame.

With that being said alcohol is a very safe fuel source when properly handled due to its low evaporation rate.

You can use a small paint can or mason jar for this project. You can purchase empty paint cans at most any hardware store and mason jars are seasonal in most stores if you don’t already have dozens laying around.  Drill two 1/4″ holes in lid at about 3/4″ from center of lid. Bend a 1″ diameter loop in the middle of a 15-16″ (or double the height of the container plus about 5″ more) piece of 1/4″ copper tubing and bend the legs so they come straight down through the top of the lids holes like pictured below. You can use the handle of a screwdriver or 1″ dowel to bend the tube around if you don’t have a tube bender. Flattening out the top of the coil is not a problem and actually preferable to increase the surface area to catch the flame but try to keep the bottom where the coil will cross and the elbow to the legs from flattening out.


Wick (yea I know it’s supposed to be wickless)

Drill two 3/32″ holes in the bottom of each piece of your copper coil.  You will need a vent though to avoid pressure from building inside as the copper heats up so for this I recommend not sealing around the tubing at the lid but if you do leave a small gap in the seal around one of the legs or poke a pinhole in the lid with a nail somewhere on the lid.  Take a cotton ball and break in half. Stretch and roll each piece into a long wick to the length of the legs up to holes you drilled in the loop. Lightly dampen with your denatured alcohol to help feed into the copper legs using a twisting motion. This should fill the tubing but not be packed tightly inside.  Also it will compress some while feeding it and it should fill the legs just short of the holes you drilled and should not be visible at all through them.  It should hopefully stop somewhere around where the legs meet the lid. The alcohol will evaporate very slow and the jar or container will slow evaporation even more simply by not allowing air exchange.  These things can sit for a really long time without losing a noticeable amount of fuel. Once cool simply block off the jet holes with a cotton ball which should fit perfect inside your loop.  You can also cut a round toothpick in half and cut the tips back a bit so that it will securely plug the holes if you prefer.

Jet Holes

Jet Holes

Now we are ready to fill container with denatured alcohol and seal lid.


Now hold a flame to the copper at the jet holes and once the coil heats up vapors will come out of the holes and ignite. The flame will now continue to heat the coil itself assuming you lined your holes up correctly that you drilled in the coil. The holes should be near the center at the bottom and the holes should point across each other so the flames will cross like below.




Finally here is a pick of one made using a pint mason jar and 15″ of copper tubing.



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