How to make your own coke can stove

My first caveat: this guide is mostly psychological. I’d recommend pairing it with another instructional site like this one: Cool Little Miniature Stove or this great tutorial from Mungo Says Bah.

My guide on how to survive making your own alcohol stove

1. Go to the store and buy a six pack of root beer and a gallon of ice cream. That way, if you get really irritated while you’re making your stove you can have a root beer float to cool off. You’ll also have extra cans available in case you make a mistake and need to start again.

coke can stove

2. Become comfortable with failure. This project may take several attempts. Now, I say this, but several people that I have taught this skill to have been able to master it right away, which makes me curse secretly under my breath, but I am very clumsy and it took me awhile. You may be just like me and still trying to develop your fine motor skills. In which case, become comfortable with messing up.

3. Cut one of the cans to 1 inch using the method you prefer. I like to put the razor from an exacto knife into the one inch mark on my Joy of Cooking book (because it should have at least one function) and score the sides of the can.
Reader: Look. I am holding a sharp object. If I get cut, I will sue Addy. Bad idea: I live in a basement and you would likely only get leftover root beer cans in your settlement.

4. Use the 2nd can to stretch out the first.
Reader: I am so flippin’ frustrated. I will go have another root beer float.

5. Cut the second can to one inch.

6. Punch 5 small holes in the center on your second can.

Argh! Whose stupid idea was this!

DIY stove with mesh

7. (Optional) Put cotton or fiberglass in your second can to serve as a wick. I don’t do this, but here at Dressed in Dirt we accommodate all lifestyles.

8. Fit the two cans together- the one with the holes in it goes on the inside. I know it seems counter-intuitive, that two equal sized things would go together, but with a little work you can do it. Actually, this is the most irritating part of this whole process. Feel free to use the cuss words of your choice at this point.
Reader: Argh. I hate this. Whose stupid idea was it to make this stove in the first place? Reference #1 and #2.

9. Once they are together, poke 24 holes around the top can.

10. Pour a little alcohol in.

11. Light the bottom and then the top.

Cola Can Stove

12 Say hooray! or curse, depending on the outcome. Either way, you will now have a sugar rush from the 4 root beer floats you have enjoyed, which isn’t so bad.
Yay! (or not)  In short:

Be patient

Have fun

Drink a root beer float

How to

7 thoughts on “How to make your own coke can stove

  1. I made two such stoves and then tested them both, one with rubbing alcohol and the second with denatured alcohol. I would hate to cook noodles or rice with this stove.

  2. I made one of these for a 78-day bicycle tour, and used it most days. The one I used was referred to as a “penny stove.” In windy weather, it was a nuisance, but I imagine any stove would have trouble in those conditions. The denatured alcohol I used to burn it was a bit heavy to carry, but I didn’t have to worry about any parts breaking or having it fail because it got too cold. For a slight variation from Addy’s and Mungo’s, I got my instructions here:

    I purchased one from the guy who posted the instructions because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find the tools to make it, but then I ended up making one, too. Very easy but not nearly as fun as your idea with the root beer float.

  3. Here’s my tutorial – but I like your pictures better. 🙂



  4. Nice to know! I’ll check out those instructions; it’s fun to have different perspectives on how to make these.

    Are you done with your bicycle trip? Your blog is pretty cool.

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