DIY Matches

A piece of copy paper can be transformed into a simple fire lighter.

| February/March 2013

  • Make Rire Spills With Rolled Paper
    Simple rolled paper spills are decorative and useful.
    Photo By Robert McCauley

  • Make Rire Spills With Rolled Paper

Before strike-anywhere matches and butane lighters were invented, lamps, candles and cigars were lit by transferring flame from the hearth by splints, tapers or spills. Spills are tightly rolled cylinders of paper made specifically for this purpose. They were often kept in spill vases on the fireplace mantel, ready for use. Today, antique spill holders are hot collectors’ items.

To make a spill, just take a square piece of paper and, starting at the lower left corner, tightly roll the paper along the diagonal to the upper right corner and apply a piece of Scotch tape to prevent the rolled spill from unwinding. For a neater result, wind the paper around a pencil.

Robert McCauley 
Kitchener, Ontario 

Hans Quistorff
1/25/2013 8:30:44 AM

Seems like dipping the paper in hot wax before rolling would make a better flame and hold the shape when cooled.







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