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DIY Alcohol Stoves

Posted by general eclectic on January 21, 2012

I decided to try my hand at making a few of the homemade alcohol burning camp stoves that I’ve read about.  The first one I made was made out of an Altoids Smalls can.  It was pretty straight forward to make.  Fill the can with perlite (found at a garden center) and cover with metal screen to hold all the perlite in.

This one fits into my Esbit stove and is a great replacement for the stinky Esbit cubes that come with it.  All you do is fill up the can with some denatured alcohol and light her up, its simple and works great.

I then tried to make a jetted style burner stove out of a regular size Altoids can.  The idea is the can will heat up and cause the alcohol to vaporize and shoot out of the holes that were drilled in the sides.  Unfortunately there is a design flaw somewhere and this one did not work well.

My third attempt was whats known as a “penny stove”.  This was a little more complicated to build but with ample online instructions and about 30 minuets of work it turned out great.

The construction is basically 2 soda can bottoms and 1 can top.  The top is used as a stand to get the stove off the ground to allow for proper heating of the stove which vaporizes the fuel.  One of the can bottoms is kept as is for the bottom of the stove.  The other can bottom has 4 holes drilled int the middle to allow fuel to drain into the inside and 12 holes drilled around the edges (6 on the top and 6 on the bottom).  The 2 can portions are pressed together.  To use you fill the cup portion with the 4 holes with fuel and let it drain into the middle.  Then you place a penny over the 4 holes to keep the fuel from draining (hence the name penny stove) and fill the cup portion with fuel again but allow some alcohol to spill over the side holes.  When you light the stove the alcohol on top burns and heats up the stove so the alcohol in the middle starts to vaporize and exit the side holes creating a burner.

here is a video testing the small Altoids stove and the penny stove.  I spilled a bit too much alcohol on them to prime them so the initial burn off is a little long but they both worked great.


a clip of the penny stove after a few minutes burning


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