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How to Make Light in a Power Outage

7 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Make Light in a Blackout

Image Source: StockSnap / Nicola Fioravanti

Power's out and in a pinch to create some lighting ASAP? Don't panic (yes, I know, easier said than done when the world suddenly becomes pitch-black and eerily quiet) — with these makeshift lighting solutions, you'll be able to safely move about your surroundings in no time. So instead of aimlessly rummaging through that drawer where you could have sworn you stashed a flashlight, shed some light into your darkness by checking out these surprisingly simple ideas below!

  • Glow sticks: Not only are glow sticks a great source of long-lasting light, but let's face it, they're also pretty fun. They can be propped in corners, tucked in shirt pockets, or attached to objects and will immediately provide hands-free, ambient light. My advice? Stock up on these items after Halloween. That's when they're almost always on clearance.
  • Shining sardines: As strange as it might sound, check your pantry for cans of fish packed in oil. You know, cans of sardines, tuna, salmon, or anchovies. Once you have your can in hand, poke a hole in the top with a screwdriver. Make sure to spread the oil through the top of the hole. Then, insert a wick, light it, and voila!
  • Image Source: StockSnap / Evan Kirby

  • Glowing crayons: Who said crayons were just for kids? Because crayons are basically colored wax, these items can be quite resourceful when it comes to power outages. Simply break off the point and light the paper label at the end of the tip. As the wax begins to melt, this hack should provide you with about 30 minutes of crayon-candle light.
  • Jug lamps: Of course, headlamps are also helpful to have on hand in case of emergencies. But if you want to take this makeshift lighting solution to the next level, grab a water-filled plastic jug (or any other clear container filled with water) and invert the headlamp, strapping it around the bottle. By having the headlamp face inward toward the bottle, the light will refract through the liquid, transforming your jug into an illuminating glow-lamp.
  • Kindling Crisco: When it comes to an unexpected blackout, Crisco will also have your back. Just as with butter, place a wick into a can of Crisco, light it, and bam — light will be shining bright. The best part? This candle hack will have your back for at least a month. Yes, you read that correctly: 30 days! To get the best burn, make sure to smear a little bit of Crisco on the top of the wick.
  • Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

  • Burning butter: If you're lacking in the candle department, turn to butter. Yes, butter, aka the simplest candle you'll ever come across. All you need to do is cut off a rectangular chunk of butter, insert a wick, and light it. Although this hack couldn't be easier, remember to always place the butter on a glass or metal surface.
  • Homemade orange candle: Another emergency candle hack can come from two simple household items: an orange and a tidbit of cooking oil. To make this candle, slice the orange all the way around. You'll want to cut deep enough to go below the skin, but no further than that. Then, peel away the skin carefully with your hands, but make sure to keep the stalk in the center of the orange attached. Pull both halves of the orange and place to the side. (Or eat it, your choice!) If what you have leftover looks a bit like an upside-down mushroom, you're well on your way to light. Next, pour a little oil in the peel and on the stalk. Light the stalk, and ta-da — another form of light. This time, no wick or wax required. Although any size of orange will work, the larger orange you use, the longer-burning candle you'll have.

Other important items to have on hand: batteries, matches, and wicks. In fact, did you know you can make a DIY wick by using a cotton string from a mop head? It will absorb the needed oil and work like a charm. Lastly, don't forget the built-in flashlight on your smartphone.

A final tip: always keep a close watch on any and all makeshift lighting solutions. Just as candles can have a bad reputation for causing house fires, as you might guess, candle hacks can be just as dangerous.

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