DIY Emergency Lighting

diy-emergency-lightingWe’re in the middle of tornado season right now – from April to July – depending upon where you live in the country.  It will overlap with the hurricane season, which runs from June through November – peaking in August and September.

Every winter, some areas of the country are subject to crippling ice storms and blizzards.  The Pacific Northwest gets hit with tsunamis now and again, and every day of the year is earthquake season!

All of these natural events can and do take out the power.  Without power, you’re without light.

What do you do when the whole, “Boom, Boom, Out Go The Lights!” hits?

Most people dig through a drawer and pull out a flashlight.  If they’re lucky, the flashlight has batteries.  It seems like more times than not, you’ve got no batteries, or the ones in the flashlight have corroded and the flashlight is a total loss.

What then?

Having some sort of emergency lighting available is crucial both to your safety as well as to your mental state.  If some storm outside is creating havoc, having a reliable source of light can have a calming effect – especially if you have children with you.

We’re big believers of PACE around here:  Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency.  Having back-ups for your back-ups.  Assume that in a critical situation something will not go as planned, but you still need light, food, water, fire, defense, hygiene – whatever.

In that spirit, we present for you three options for emergency lighting.

Emergency Candle


I have made a number of these, and they are amazing.  Unlike the person in the Instructable, I got my wax – paraffin to be precise – for FREE at a garage sale.  About 20 pounds of the stuff.  The lady just wanted it gone!

Scout out garage sales and look for the box of candles almost all of them seem to have.  Ask their price – and if it seems crazy, offer them a couple of bucks to haul it away.  Most will bite at your offer.  Be sure to retain the wicks in any of the longer candles, as you can re-use them as well.

I use butcher twine (NOT the stuff used in the garden) for the wicks, since my blocks of paraffin had none.  I just pre-dipped some of the twine into the melted wax before constructing the candles.

Last point:  These are great to keep in the car.  As odd as it seems, the heat given off by a candle can actually help warm you up, or at least take the chill out of the air.

Emergency Mason Jar Lantern


I like this a lot, and intend on putting a couple of these together.  Why not just go out and buy an oil lamp?  Conservation of resources (money).  I’ve got more Mason jars than I know what to do with.

I also like the idea of making something that is very useful with my own hands.  When you’ve got skills, I find that you can often re-apply them to other aspects of your life, and get yourself out of a jam.

BTW, you will need to download the PDF instructions, as for some reason, the parts list and “how to” info wasn’t included on the webpage.

While you’re at that aforementioned garage sales, look for lamp oil while you’re combing the piles looking for your wax.

Note:  While most lamps will but kerosene, it’s not recommended, as the soot is significantly greater than with the clear lamp oil.  But when you’re in a pinch, you do what you gotta do…

Here is a link on Lamp Oil FAQs.

Oh, and DO NOT use one of these in your car to “take the chill out of the air” like you can with the emergency candle.  These consume too much oxygen to be safe in a confined space.  You’ve been warned – don’t be stupid.

Ultrabright LED Emergency Light


I’m going to make one of these for one primary reason (other than as an emergency lamp) – I have few skills with electronics.  Start talking about ohms and volts and watts and I turn into a mouth-breathing, bubble-headed dolt.  I’ve got no clue.

I need to fix that, and this is as good of a place as any to start.

This simple, 5-minute project has a lot going for it:  It’s cheap, it’s quick, it re-purposes stuff, it’s multi-purpose and it is re-usable (re-chargeable).  While the guy in the video got on my every nerve, his process was sound.  I’m likin’ this….

Now go forth, and shine a little light!


Read BoomerPreps Disclaimers In Case You Decide To Do Something Dumb


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