How to Make a Soda Can Stove

In this blog, I am going to teach you how to make a soda can stove. This is an easy and free way to start your survival skills today before the big storm that’s coming. Plus it will help you save money on fuel in future!

The “most efficient diy alcohol stove” is a project that can be created with just a soda can and some wire. The stove will burn for about an hour, but it should be enough to boil water or cook food.

Soda can stove displayed.

Backpackers are constantly looking for methods to lighten their load, and one of the heaviest items they may bring is a cookstove. While there are many lightweight, modern stoves on the market, few can match the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of an alcohol-burning burner. While commercial backpacking stoves may cost anywhere from $40 to $20 (even a basic manufactured alcohol burner), you can make your own for less than 50 cents. A homemade alcohol stove also weighs less than a manufactured one, weighing roughly 1 ounce against 2.5 ounces. The greatest thing is that you can build this stove in an afternoon with just a few simple tools and a handful of metal cans. Of course, buyable stoves have more features, but the DIY version is hard to match for the price and work.

Keep in mind that alcohol-burning stoves are not permitted in many wilderness regions and national parks because they lack many of the safety measures found in contemporary stoves. However, if permitted or merely as a backup in survival situations, an alcohol stove is an excellent addition to your packing list. Here’s how you can create your own.


Drilling machine, razor blade, piece of wood, cotton or fiberglass insulation, denatured alcohol, pliers, permanent marker, scissors, screw, shallow metal bowl and two soda cans displayed.

  1. Drill
  2. Drill bit of 1/16th inch
  3. Drill bit 3/16″
  4. Blade of a razor
  5. a 2′′ thick piece of wood
  6. Insulation made of cotton or fiberglass
  7. Alcohol that has been denatured
  8. Pliers
  9. Marker that is permanent
  10. Scissors
  11. Screw
  12. Metal bowl with a shallow depth
  13. 2 x 12 oz soda cans

Putting Together the Stove

Step 1: Drill holes in the can.

Drilling holes in can.

Make 16 holes around the bottom lip of one of your cans, equally spaced. Bore holes at each mark using a 1/16′′ drill bit.

Step 2: Trace a penny on the can’s bottom and drill a few more holes.

Marking penny on can.

Trace a circle on the bottom of the same can as in Step 1 with a coin.

Penny trace at Bottom of can.

Within this circle, mark and drill five holes, one in the middle and four equally spaced around the outside. For the central hole, use a 3/16′′ drill bit, and for the four holes surrounding it, use a 1/16′′ drill bit. 

Holes and marks displayed at the bottom of can.

My holes don’t match up with my markers since I made them a bit too close together and had to improvise a little while drilling.

Step 3: Remove the bottoms of both cans. 

Cut base of can along with wooden box and a nail drilled in it.

To begin, connect a utility blade to a scrap of 24 (or really any scrap wood that’s approximately 2′′ thick) such that the blade’s tip just reaches beyond the board’s edge. It’s important to note that the blade must be attached to the board’s wide side. Rather of attempting to do it by hand, this maintains the cut line absolutely level. 

Can partially cut along with scissor and wooden box.

Rotate the base of each of your cans against the edge of the utility blade to cut it off. Before detaching the base from the can, make a few passes. To assist the pieces separate, pressure the can immediately below the incision with your thumb. Using scissors or sandpaper, smooth off any sharp edges.


Your stove top is the foundation you drilled holes in. Your stove’s bottom is the other base. 

Step 4: Crimp the top of the piece. 

Can grabbed by pliers.

Crimp the edge of your stove top with pliers so that it fits tightly into your stove bottom.

Step 5: Attach the stove to the base and add the firestarter. 

Firestarter put in can to stove.

In the base of your stove, place a little of cotton, fiberglass insulation, or handmade char cloth, and then slip the crimped top into the base. You may also use a high-temp epoxy to achieve a more secure seal if desired.

Top of can covered by lid.

Getting the Stove Going

Make sure you test the stove outdoors, away from anything combustible.

Place the burner in a small metal basin for the first step.

Placing the stove in a small metal bowl along with large bottle of alcohol and a stick lighter.

Of course, in the wild, you may not have access to a metal bowl. That’s OK. In addition, rather than a huge bottle of alcohol and a stick lighter, your real kit list is more likely to contain a tiny travel bottle of alcohol (such as an empty travel shampoo bottle) and a compact case for your DIY waterproof matches.

A big upturned metal lid may be used instead of a metal bowl if you don’t have one. This catches any stray fuel and gives a layer of protection to the fire.

Step 2: Fill your stove with fuel. 

Adding fuel to the stove placed in bowl.

Fill the center holes at the top of your stove with roughly an ounce of alcohol (enough for 10 minutes of burning) and a little more fuel into the bowl your stove is sitting in. Finally, pour a dab of gasoline to the top of the penny and set it in the middle of the burner. (The fuel in the bowl and the penny on top of it will help prime your burner.)

Step 3: Turn on the lights!

Can is lighted by using lighter stick.

Flames coming out from the holes of can.

In the bowl, light the gasoline and place it on top of the penny. The stove should automatically prime after approximately a minute, and blue flames should emerge from each of your 16 drilled holes.



I was looking for a way to make a soda can stove and found a great tutorial on how to do it. The best fuel for making this stove is aluminum foil. Reference: best fuel for soda can stove.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make a stove out of a can?

A: You can either make a stove out of an empty tuna can, or you could flat-out use the bottom half as a pan and the top half as a lid.

How do you make a burner out of a Coke can?

A: First you need to cut the top of a can off with scissors or your hands. Then, if there is already any type of hole in the side then use that as a channel for pouring out gas from and turning it into flames

How do you make a homemade stove?

A: In order to make a homemade stove, you would need two large pieces of steel. Then one piece is placed on the ground and then another piece is made into an upside-down V shape from that first plate. The second plate will be attached with bolts at the top in order to keep it secure for safety purposes. You must then attach a metal pipe over each side of your newly created oven so that you can pour in oil or gas as fuel without having smoke escape out through any holes or gaps.

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