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3 Easy Ways To Make Homemade Waterproof Matches

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Feature | Burning Matchstick | Homemade Waterproof Matches

Learn how to make waterproof matches and never worry about your firestarter getting wet again!

How to Make DIY Waterproof Matches

DIY Waterproof Matches

Waterproof matches are indeed an essential addition to your outdoor supplies. A bug out bag won’t be complete without a fire starter gear.

Ordinary matches don’t mix well with wet conditions and being in the outdoors. You can slip and fall into a puddle, getting your backpack wet.

Your tackle box can be knocked into the water by a big fish you reeled in. Fortunately, there is a simple solution — waterproof matches.

You can buy water-resistant matches, but they can be expensive. Good thing there are simple ways to make your own effective wind and waterproof matches that won’t take much of your time and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.


1. Waterproofing Matches with Turpentine

Turpentine Bottle Design | Easy Ways To Make Homemade Waterproof Matches

Using turpentine is the quickest, safest, and easiest way to make your survival matches water-resistant. You can purchase turpentine in your local hardware or art supply stores.


  • Turpentine
  • Matches
  • Cup or glass jar
  • Hair dryer
  • Newspaper

Step 1: Pour Turpentine into a Small Container

First, put the turpentine in a container (cup or glass jar) and be sure to place the newspaper underneath the container. Turpentine is a product normally used in finish-stripping and it can damage wood surfaces.

Step 2: Soak the Head

Dip the head of the matches into the turpentine and let it sit there for five minutes. It will soak through the head and the stem and permeate it.

Step 3: Dry the Matches

After taking the matches out, use the hair dryer to dry them out, or you can simply spread them on the newspaper and wait until it dries naturally. These matches will remain waterproof for several months if treated this way.

RELATED: How To Start A Fire Without Matches

2. How to Waterproof Matches with Nail Polish

Colorful Nail Polish Nature Background | Easy Ways To Make Homemade Waterproof Matches
Another great way to make your backpacking matches waterproof is by using fingernail polish. It helps the flame burn steadily, and it can withstand a good amount of wear and tear as well.


  • Fingernail polish (choose between clear and colored varieties)
  • Hair dryer
  • Newspaper

Step 1: Dip the Head of the Matches

Dip the head of the match and a part of the stick into the nail polish bottle. You can also simply paint the tip of the match.

Put just the right amount of fingernail polish, so you can still spark them when you need to. Make sure to do this over a sheet of a newspaper because they can make a mess on your table, couch, or carpet.

Step 2: Let It Dry

Set the head of the matches hanging over the edge of the table or its box and let them dry. It may take some time to dry so you have to be patient.

You can also blow dry them if you want to speed up the drying process.

3. Waterproofing Matches with Wax

Pieces of Yellow Wax | Easy Ways To Make Homemade Waterproof Matches
Wax is a good waterproof coating for matches. It creates a protective layer that does not allow water or any other elements to get through.

Striking the match will peel away the coating of the wax and allows the matches to ignite.


  • Candle or candle wax
  • Matches
  • A heat source for melting the wax (fire or stove)
  • A disposable container that is heat-resistant
  • Hair dryer
  • Newspaper

Step 1: Melt the Wax

If you’re using a candle, let it burn for a bit until you see a pool of wax around the wick. If you’re using old candles, put the wax in a container and put it over your heat source.

Just make sure you won’t use something you need to keep because the wax doesn’t wash off easily.

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Step 2: Dip the Matches

As soon as the wax melts, dip the match head in the melted wax. Coat the matches thoroughly and allow them to harden a little, and then remove them after a minute or so.

Do not overdo it because the excess wax will make it difficult for the matches to light and the striking surface will wear off fast.

Step 3: Dry the Matches

Place the matches on the edge of a table or on the matchbox with the head suspended. Don’t forget to put the newspaper underneath to keep your floor safe from falling wax.

Also, you can use the hair dryer to make the drying part a bit faster.

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Watch this video from Crazy Russian Hacker and find out another easy way to make your matches waterproof:

These waterproof matches are a revolutionary invention that became an essential addition to our fire starter supplies. It’s a good backup for lighters, but again, they can be a bit pricey.

So if you want to save money, you can easily make a box of waterproof matches in no time. The methods suggested above are proven and tested to be effective.

Go ahead and give it a go!

Do you know other ways on how to make waterproof matches? Share it with us in the comments below!

Up Next: 17 Wicked Ways To Start A Fire

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3 Easy Ways To Make Homemade Waterproof Matches |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 28, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. Lynne O'Kelly

    September 4, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Nice to know, especially in a humid climate.

  2. Ken Black

    September 4, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    This is a very handy and a must for anyone to survive!

  3. SmokeHillFarm

    September 4, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Very well explained.

    I rely more on disposable Bic lighters and regular Zippo lighters for my prepping stock. Ronson disposables might be OK, never tried them. Bics will store for years with no apparent deterioration or leakage. Cheap imported junk with names you never heard of …. pure trash. Bics only cost about a buck apiece when bought six at a time, and it’s hard to beat that for an absolutely reliable firestarter. Back when I smoked 3 pks a day, a Bic would last over a month. That’s 1800 lights.

    The advantage of Zippos is that they will run on gasoline, if necessary, though they smoke a bit. They’re windproof and nearly indestructable. You can get huge displays of Zippo flints on eBay at reasonable prices, compared to the usual 6-flints-in-a-pkg pricing. My last on had fifty 6-packs of flints (total 300 flints) for about 18 bucks — probably a lifetime supply. I got several since I figure they are excellent trade goods, just like the Bics.

    Lighter fluid is basically naptha paint thinner. Buying pure naptha at Home Depot is far cheaper than buying Zippo or Ronson lighter fluid. It’s happier in your Zippo than gasoline, and won’t gunk up your wick. If your prepper plans include a Zippo (or similar), pick up a few extra wicks, obviously.

    • H

      January 4, 2018 at 9:13 PM

      BS, zippo lighter flints go soft over time. Moisture is probably why. I have found this to happen over time and even extra flints turn to powder So have a back up plan. FYI

      • Sea Snail

        September 25, 2018 at 1:22 PM

        Dip the flints into wax, and peel it off when needed. takes time to do but it works. keep some on my boat and the work after 6 years.

    • Glenn Trombly

      September 25, 2018 at 5:11 PM

      disposable lighters that don’t light any more still have a usable flint in them. just be sure to cover the wheel or the spring will send the flint flying.
      you can find them on the ground as people tend to toss them when they don’t work.

  4. Adam Belanger

    September 6, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Iam a disabled American, who has been swept under the rug by this so called government. I try to prepare as best I can but I’m limited by lack of physical and financial sercome stance. I have an ever start match that I got from y’all,well if you could please send me another one as this one I have has not ever work! But also if there is anyway you can help me in anyway it would be a blessing from our Lord. I’m doing all I can to prepare, I have grandchildren and terrified for the! Plz any help will be put to use aas we all here k ow what’s coming and I am not gonna be one of those who are consumed by this catastrophe that’s coming. Thank you all for anything you can help me with. Adam Belanger

    • Eric Shidler (@ComaWhite12)

      January 12, 2018 at 10:51 AM

      This is a really odd way/place to ask about a product service issue.
      You really should try the proper channels.

    • Michael Hesterberg

      January 15, 2018 at 7:55 PM

      Dear Adam Belanger, As a TRUE Christian, why would you even worry about your need for prepping for SHTF times? Adam, I have resolved myself that should any SHTF situation arise, that because I’m partly paralyzed, I will simply end up dying–should that be the will of our Lord Jesus! I suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke some years ago, leaving me with just one usable arm, limited walking ability with maybe just 500 feet at a time, and very difficult breathing during any physical activity. Forget any notion of “bugging out”!

      Just like very senior citizens, and very disabled and weakly people, I’m pretty sure that should there arise a completely desperate situation–I’M GONNA DIE!!! But, I’m not worried, and as a Bible believing, praying Christian, neither should you be!!! My belief in my Lord Jesus guarantees my name is written into the Lamb’s Book of Life!!! And if you’ve asked for God’s forgiveness for your past sins, because of your belief in, and your confession of faith in Jesus as God’s Son, then either you’ll survive any SHTF ordeal by the grace of God, or you’ll be transported into Heaven–that is God’s promise to you!! So, as a disabled human, like me, you can relax and not worry–you’re a winner either way sir!!!

      • Michael Hesterberg

        January 15, 2018 at 8:15 PM

        I’m sorry my above post wasn’t so much on the topic of “prepping” for catastrophe for self-survival, as it was for preparation for meeting your maker!! I understand that this space is dedicated to what you might do to keep yourself alive in a terrifying situation. But in every prepping post, in every article, it assumes a healthy younger adult, capable of building make-shift shelters, gathering firewood and using woodcraft techniques to improvise a survivable–if not a completely comfortable existence in the woods!! My focus is more on, and directed at those folks who won’t survive such a dire situation. If you’ve made a different KIND of preparation, then there is no need to be afraid!! We can ALL be preppers!! Just that our motivations are different.

        • Michael Hesterberg

          January 15, 2018 at 8:21 PM

          ….and you may write any comments to me, or discuss this topic further, by Emailing me at mihesworks AT yahoo DOT com

  5. magicman

    September 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Be sure to check around mom & pop hardware stores for strike-anywhere matches to waterproof. They are still available if you look. The old hardware/country stores are also a better source of food canning supplies & paraffin wax. 2 more advatages; your helping support a small local business & they usually don’t video your purchases a good thing these days.

  6. Richard Hendrix

    September 6, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Years ago when I was involved with the Boy Scouts, it was learned very early on that a lot of the time you won’t have dry wood or tinder to start a fire. We used to take cotton balls and coat them with Vaseline and then store them in large pill bottles. When you got ready to start a fire you just put them in your kindling and you could start a fire in the rain. Dryer lint also worked. 0000 Steel Wool is also a good starter for flint and steel.

  7. Amparo Maldonado-Ross

    September 7, 2014 at 2:23 AM

    Excellent idea for the matches. Thanks. You guys are very helpfull!!!

  8. Patricia

    September 7, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    This doesn’t seem to practical for those who want eggs. No place to nest.

  9. Roy

    September 18, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    “Things you’ll need: Life Insurance” LOLOL!!!!

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  11. Ricky Warman

    November 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    nice information, its very handy, thank you so much..

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  16. Anonymous

    January 4, 2018 at 7:32 PM

    Ace Hardware still sells strike anywhere matches….250 to the box. Three boxes fit nicely in a zip lock bag. Save your dryer lint, put it in a cardboard egg carton and pour old candle wax onto the cups. Now you have a dozen very nice fire starters. Cheap and easy.

  17. H

    January 4, 2018 at 9:10 PM

    I make my own waterproof matches and put them in an old 35 mm film can (plastic). i saved them when I used to take 35 mm film pictures. Long gone now due to digital cameras. I waxed the tips, cut them to fit, put a short candle in the center. Along with a piece of striker from the box. I have one of these in every coat & vest I own. Ready to fire up if I am stuck out there in a survival situation. I was a boy scout you see. ” Be prepared” was our motto, and I live by it today.

  18. H

    January 12, 2018 at 9:42 AM

    These are good suggestions. Another option is to use a waterproof container, available in different sizes from most outdoor stores. Then, you on’t have to worry about waterproofing.

    • Sonny

      September 25, 2018 at 10:52 PM

      Another good fire starter is to tie about a half dozen or so strike anywhere matches into a. Uncle and dip the whole thing into wax. We made these in boy scouts and they work very well and you can strike th on about any rough surface.

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