Altoids Tin Alcohol Stove

Prepping is all about having options. Taking the ten minutes or so to fashion together an alcohol stove from an Altoids tin is just one more option when it comes to heating up a meal or even just some water for coffee.

What you’ll need for this project:

Altoids tin
Window screening — any old screening will do
Perlite — found at any garden center
Denatured alcohol — get this from the hardware store, stick to 91%

For those not familiar with perlite, it is often used as a soil amendment because it helps prevent soil compaction. It is a white substance, looking somewhat like small rocks, but very lightweight.

Ok, so here’s what you do. Wipe out your Altoids tin so it is clean inside. Open the tin and turn it upside down on the screen and trace around the tin with a marker. You’re only concerned with the open part of the tin, not the lid.

Using scissors, cut around your marked line.

Fill the tin with perlite, all the way to the top. Shake it slightly so as to keep it all level. Fit the screen into the tin on top of the perlite. You may need to snip and trim here and there to get it to fit nicely. You want to tuck in the edges between the perlite and the tin. A thin ruler may work well for this.

When you’re ready to use the stove, pour alcohol over the perlite. About three capfuls should be sufficient. Light it with a match and you’re good to go. Remember, alcohol burns hot and the flames are nearly invisible, so be careful.

When you’re done, flip the lid of the tin closed to put out the flame and let it cool down before handling.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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