DIY: Making Waterproof Matches In Two Simple Steps


While my “Go To” firestarter is a Bic lighter, matches are super cheap and widely available. One problem is they are very susceptible to moisture. Ever try lighting a soggy match? Yeah. Kinda like trying to write on wet paper. Try as you might the outcome is not very desirable.

Waterproof matches are available however they run a steep premium over standard wooden matches. Solution? You can buy inexpensive wooden matches and waterproof them yourself.


Making Waterproof Matches

STEP #1: Dip the ends of the wooden matches into melted candle wax. Set the matches with the waxed tips hanging off the edge of a table.


STEP #2: Once the matches have cooled inspect to ensure that each match head is completely covered in wax.

Gee…..that was hard. 

To test the effectiveness of the waterproofing I dipped an assortment of matches made following the two steps above into a glass of water. I held them in the water for about 5 seconds.

 Below is a short video of one of the matches being lit. Interesting is the matches burn slightly hotter once it gets going due to the wax.

All the matches in my initial batch successfully survived the dunk test.

The Soak Test

A final test was to actually soak the homemade waterproof matches directly in water for an extended period of time. I felt that what would happen is the stick section of the match would absorb water and carry it up underneath the wax thus ruining any chance of ignition. I dropped several matches into a glass of water and let sit for 30 minutes.


75% lit and burned pretty much as normal AS LONG AS I dried the tip prior to trying to striking. If any water droplets were still on the match head although it would light the flame would fizzle out quickly.

I have to admit I was pretty impressed. The main reason I have waterproof matches is not to survive a three-mile trip down the river but to protect them from moisture/humidity. So far these are working out well.

There are other methods of “DIY” waterproofing matches such as coating with fingernail polish. Might try that at some point.


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