There are times when I need to light a candle, but I don't have a working lighter and I am out of matches. I need to create a makeshift match (or at least something to produce fire) so I can light the candle. I would use a gas stove to light something from one of the answers on this question, but I don't have one. So, What is a good way to light a candle without a match or a lighter?


I did a Google search for "battery paperclip fire" finding many entries one of which is >> here

Take an AA, AAA, C, or D size battery. With a knife cut the circumference of the battery at the negative terminal one-sixteenth of an inch from the end, remove the covering, and expose the terminal. With the tip of the knife separate the terminal a little bit from the rest of the battery, just enough to insert the end of a paperclip or staple. Insert the small of wire into the opening. It will begin to get hot. Move for maximum effect. Because it will not be hot enough to light the candle, light some tinder such as extremely fine wood shavings. When there is a flame on the wood shavings, use that to light a small stick of wood, then use the stick to light the candle.

Another good article is >> here listing six ways. A 9V battery and steel wool looks good.

To get the candle lit, in each case a small fire will have to be made, a stick lit in the fire, and the candle lit from the stick.

  • Additional to your second link: You can use the convex curve of a water bottle instead of a magnifying glass. – Alex Mar 4 '15 at 10:15
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    This is absolutely awesome! – michaelpri Mar 4 '15 at 14:24
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    Very good answer, although it seems easier to me to always care for a lighter or matches being available at home, those are very handy tricks... – Laurent S. Jul 8 '15 at 11:43
  • So... like this? – Origin Jul 8 '15 at 12:07
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    No. Do not slice open a battery to light a fire. The 9V battery and steel wool thing is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but slicing a battery open is extremely ill advised. – Unionhawk Jul 8 '15 at 12:12

When I don't have a lighter or matches to light up a cigarette, I usually use the heating part of a toaster. Not sure if you can reach it with a candle...

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    Welcome to Health SE. This is a very interesting answer, but to me, it doesn't seem very safe. Could you say anything about its safety? – michaelpri Jul 10 '15 at 13:18
  • To keep your fingers further from the toaster, light a twig using the toaster and use that to light candle. – Scott Sep 28 '15 at 3:33
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    This really doesn't seem safe, but neither are cigarettes. – jawo Sep 28 '15 at 12:52
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    @michaelpri I think that with a disclaimer that this is an uncertified use of a toaster, the answer would be fine. But I'm no expert... – yo' Oct 14 '15 at 19:41

You can use a dry spaghetti noodle placed on hot oven (some people also suggest Doritos), when it start burning try to light a candle. You can also use a hot charcloth (See: lighting candles with charcloth and How to make charcloth?). Then the procedure is to catch a spark at one end of the charcloth roll, then place the seam of the charcloth roll against the candle.

If this won't work, you can light candles, by placing them in a microwave oven.

Here is video demonstration by Survivaltek: How to light candles with a microwave oven (be careful as it can damage your microwave or create a plasma ball, if it's too long inside or the power is too high).


If you have an electric cooking plate, you can use that to ignite some paper napkins. Beware though, a single napkin will be gone in a flash, so you should use more in a bundle.

Source: Own experience, where I left a single ply napkin on the cooking plate and accidentally brushed the switch to ON. After a while I smelled smoke, turned to the oven but couldn't see the napkin. I became intrigued and placed another one to the same spot, only to see it rise in the air and ignite mid-air in a flash of flame. I haven't tried that since then, of course.


If you have an electric stove, set it on high, wait for it to glow red, touch a Q-tip to it, wait for it to ignite, use to light your candle.


If you have an electric stove that is too weak to light up a napkin (or you get smoke before), try dropping a bit of sugar or flour on a red-hot surface, while holding the napkin close. Best soak the napkin in oil beforehand.

  • This is not to be recommended. If an electric stove is glowing red, you're on the verge of changing the metal structure of the heating element/burner/hob. Adding something onto it, it only gets worse. – holroy Sep 24 '15 at 0:15
  • If one ever fried something on an electric stove, one would notice that the neighboring burners get sprayed with all kinds of organic matter. At red-hot temperatures, it all reacts with oxygen to produce H2O, CO2 and very small amounts of other substances. If this advice were any dangerous to the burner, they wouldn't last long on normal usage. Where does the link between red glow and verge of changing metal structure come from? – Leo Nov 10 '15 at 3:19

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