I know in various parts of the world true strike anywhere matches can be hard, or near impossible to get hold of. So in this project I wanted to show you how to make the ultimate light anywhere match. As always I put in a lot of groundwork and testing and I hope you like the results, maybe you can contribute if you have good results with a particular brand of matches or ring caps on my facebook page and share the knowledge. The following information tells you how to do this project, it doesn’t mean you should though.
How to make a strike anywhere match
To build one of these highly volatile extreme light anywhere matches you only really need two components. A match of your choice, and some simple ring caps, like the ones used in a child’s toy gun. I tried a few different build techniques and found this one gave the most reliable results.
- The first step is to carefully remove the paper from the open end of the ring cap and squeeze the powder out onto a tray. For each extreme match you will require enough powder to roughly fill a ¼ of an empty cap. So if your caps do not have this much in them you may need to remove the powder from another ring cap. Squeeze gently. I recommend pliers of some sort in case the cap goes off and burns your fingers. Never ever empty more that one ring caps worth of powder at a time, in case of an explosion – The powder is friction, impact, and flame sensitive, so safety glasses should be worn.
- Dip the very tip of your chosen match into some water twice and deposit both drips of water into the powder and stir until mixed into a slurry. Put this slurry onto the tip of a gloved finger and roll the match in it, then try and create separate lumps on the surface of the match head. I say use gloves because we cannot be 100% sure what is in the matches or the ring cap powder. (I don’t on the video because I cannot operate cameras with gloved hands)
- Support the head of the match while it drys, and place it somewhere safe away from heat, possible knocks and anything flammable. When dry it will be volatile.
Best matches for this project
I got all my matches to work, but some were more sensitive than others. I used Diamond Greenlight for the project, and if you live the USA these where amongst the best safety matches (strike on box only) I could find. In the UK ‘Cooks matches’ were a reasonable substitute, but not as quite as good. If you dont mind cheating slightly and want to use already strike anywhere matches, Swan vesta and Bluebell work quite well. If you find a good match for this project let me know on the facebook page.
For testing I used Super disc, Sure Shot and Ammo King, and all worked well… However Super Disc did seem to ignite easiest, but it didn’t have as much powder as the Ammo king brand, which was very hard to source. Never make a large pile of this powder, wear safety glasses, protect your ears.
Flick start trick match
As you have seen in the video above, all it takes at this point is a flick of the fingers or rubbing the match on most rough surfaces for it to burst into flames. Some of the places I have lit these include on wood, the surface of an egg, brick, stone, paper, my thumb, my face (hurt), the bottom of shoes, and a wall, to name but a few. While this may be great fun, it does leave us with a match too dangerous to store or use, apart really from using it as a trick match or curiosity. It needed more work.
Survival or Camping match
It seemed to me that this had the basics of making a fantastic survival or camping match if we could just stabilise the match and make it waterproof. After trying a couple of things, nail varnish was far the best. Not only did this dull the dangerous impact sensitive nature of the match, but rendered the tip waterproof too, bonus. Under normal conditions of dampness I was still able to strike the match on most rough surfaces like brick or rock, but not paper or anything silly.
The next obvious step was to coat the whole match in varnish, and after a nice thick coat from tip to tip, once dry they performed very well. After placing them fully submerged in a bowl of water and the kitchen sink I could remove a match, shake off excess water and they would still light, often on the first attempt. In fact I found them superior to some expensive specialist waterproof camping matches bought from eBay. This is the sort D.I.Y. survival match I think Bear Grylls would like.
Best matches for camping
I think there is still more I could do with this match to make it even better for the sort of abuse that is required on camping trips, and I have a few ideas under my belt to pimp these simple matches out further still. So while this build may not be ‘perfect’, and there is room for improvement, if you’re looking for the best DIY strike anywhere match this has the basis of a very good start.
The above project is for consenting adults only and is for education or entertainment only.
Matches are by nature dangerous. Strike anywhere matches are even more dangerous. The extreme strike anywhere matches built here are even more dangerous because they are so volatile. That means knocks, bangs, scrapes and sparks set them off much easier than any commercial match, and this makes them dangerous. Ring caps are also an explosive, do not lose sight of that.