How to Make a Homemade Match

Save

Until the mid-1800s, lighting a fire was a painstaking and frustrating process. Tinder---shredded wood pulp, dried grass or wool---had to be ignited with sparks created by striking a coarse stone against steel then stoked with oxygen into a small flame until hot enough to light firewood. Matches were an improvement but often dangerous, because they were made with highly combustible yellow phosphorus. The safety match was invented by a Swedish professor in 1844 and is still in use today. You can make your own strike-anywhere matches, but exercise the utmost caution: the chemicals used to make them are extremely hazardous.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/8-inch wooden dowels
  • Pyrex or Kimex safety glassware
  • Potassium chloride
  • White glue
  • Red phosphorus
  • Preheat your oven to 150 degrees F.

  • Cut your dowel rods into matchsticks by nicking with a small knife and snapping into 2- to 3-inch lengths.

  • Mix a small amount of potassium chlorate with white glue in a Pyrex or Kimex beaker to create a thick paste. The ratio is not important, so long as the mixture does not drip.

  • Dip the end of each matchstick into the potassium chlorate mixture.

  • Set the matches on an old pan, keeping the paste-covered tip off the pan's surface by resting each match against a length of dowel.

  • Bake your matches for two hours or until the potassium chlorate paste hardens.

  • Make a paste of white glue and red phosphorus in a new Pyrex or Kimex beaker, and stir gently. Do NOT use the beaker in which you mixed the potassium chlorate paste; the two chemicals are explosively reactive and, if combined, can blind, disfigure or even kill you.

  • Dip the baked head of each match in the second paste, and set it on the pan again.

  • Bake the matches for another two hours. When the second paste has hardened and cooled, you can ignite your homemade match on any surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • Potassium chlorate and red phosphorus are extremely reactive. Exercise the utmost caution when working with the two chemicals, and ensure they are kept separate.
  • Always wear safety eye goggles, work gloves and an apron when working with volatile chemicals.
  • Do not mix chemicals in regular drinking glasses or any beaker not labeled "Pyrex" or "Kimex," as they can shatter or explode in the event of a chemical reaction. Pyrex borosilicate glassware is resistant to heat and pressure, making it safe for laboratory use.

References

  • Photo Credit match image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • How to Make Matches

    The heat and glow of fires draw people to them. Using matches is one of the most ideal ways to make a...

  • How to Make Homemade Body Lotions

    Body lotions for the skin can be made at home with Borax, rose water, olive oil and lavender water. Make homemade body...

  • Homemade Centerpieces & Party Hats

    Cone party hats can be turned into homemade centerpieces or table favors at birthday parties in no time. Craft a handmade centerpiece...

  • The Best Homemade Fire Magic Tricks

    If you've ever wanted to impress your friends or colleagues, homemade magic tricks with fire are the way to go. The sense...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!