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10 Creative Reuses for Old Lighters

10 Creative Reuses for Old Lighters

Old lighters seem to have a way of piling up in the junk drawer, even if you try to stay conscientious about not keeping things around when they don’t work. The next time you go to clean out your stash of exhausted rubber bands, tired disposable lighters, and other random bits and pieces, though, don’t throw out those lighters: you might just be able to find a really cool use for them.

After all, while San Francisco contractors may be famous for their reuse and recycling tactics, they aren’t the only ones who know how to ring every last drop out of expensive building supplies and components!

Photo above: auttiedot/
10 Reuses for Old Lighters


Make  a secret container. It looks like you’re carrying a regular lighter around, and it even functions like a regular lighter in the sense that you push down on the lever to activate a spark (and then claim you must be out of fuel when it doesn’t light up). But if you pull up, the top of the lighter will pop out, revealing a little storage space inside for cash, medications, and anything else you might want to carry discreetly in a compact container. Here’s a guide on how to do it.



Refill old lighters. Yes, we’re talking about the so-called “disposable” ones. You’ll need to carefully remove the top of the lighter (tools like needle-nosed pliers can help you get a good grip without damaging the components) so you can pour lighter fluid into the lighter. It’s a good idea to refill lighters outdoors or in a well-ventilated areas, and be careful to prevent cracks or spills.

Photo: milestonememories/Etsy.
Photo: milestonememories/Etsy.


Turn them into jewelry. These vintage beauties are trying on a different lifestyle as earrings. Whether a lighter does’t work anymore or isn’t being used, this can be one way to keep a vintage or beloved belonging in the family without having it turn into a useless ornament gathering dust on a side table.

Photo: faungg's photo/Flickr.
Photo: faungg’s photo/Flickr.


Make a motorcycle. Sorry, not that kind of motorcycle, but a toy. You could buy one from a toy store, but why waste the plastic and the resources when you could make a pretty nifty motorcycle toy out of a lighter?

Photo: MetalsAndThread/Etsy.
Photo: MetalsAndThread/Etsy.


Where them on your fingers. These rings are bright, blocky, and totally trendy, making great gifts in addition to fun fashion accessories. You’ll need some crafting skills, but there’s a lot of room for creativity when it comes to the shaping and the fill you use at the top (MetalsAndThread, the Etsy creator who made these, uses acrylic for the fill material).

Photo: greenecoservices.
Photo: greenecoservices.


Light up a room. This stunning lamp uses a series of clear lighters strung together to make a colorful jeweled rainbow that adds light, texture, and imagination to a room. There are lots of different ways to configure old lighters in lamps, but make sure to consult an electrician for complex projects to make sure they meet electrical code and the wiring is safe. For more on cool lighting ideas, check out our coverage of recycled lanterns for summer nights.

Photo: faungg's photo/Flickr.
Photo: faungg’s photo/Flickr.


Open a beer. Did you know that you can use a lighter as a beer bottle opener? The base of a lighter can be wedged under the cap for traction in order to pop it off, giving you access to a nice cold brewski. But please don’t leave it on the beach!

Photo: Ba51a/Flickr.
Photo: Ba51a/Flickr.


Transform disposable to reusable. If you weren’t content with just refilling your lighter, you can also convert it so it’ll act more like a reusable lighter. You also don’t have to settle for the plain old lighter case; try jazzing it up by gluing collaged materials on and then sealing them with a semigloss clear paint so they won’t wear off.

Photo: France2978/Flickr.
Photo: France2978/Flickr.


Start a fire. Wait, what? No, seriously, bear with us. It is in fact possible to start a fire with a dead lighter, but it’s going to take some work. You’ll be using the flint (which is in fact usually not made with flint today) to create a small spark, which means you need the best possible tinder. Tissue and cotton lint both work extremely well because they’re highly flammable, but you still need to be patient. Strike the lighter repeatedly as close to the tinder as you can until it catches, and then quickly fan it and add it to additional tinder to get your fire going.

Photo: Si1very/Flickr.
Photo: Si1very/Flickr


Make a laser. So you can’t go quite this big, but you can in fact turn a dead lighter into a laser projector. Rog8811 has the details on how to convert an old lighter into a laser projector, and let me tell you, once you do it, you’re going to want to project everything, all the time, everywhere. A note of caution: Please be advised that looking directly into a laser can damage your eyes, and local law enforcement tend to frown upon the projection of lasers into the eyes of drivers and pilots.

By Katie Marks for

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+ add your own
8:46AM PDT on Aug 30, 2013


11:48AM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

Love the hanging lamp made with lighters and the idea of using them to open bottles!!

8:37AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

thnx for this

8:36AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

thnx for this

6:11PM PDT on Aug 24, 2013


4:55PM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

Hmmm......Very Cool!!!

11:05PM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

Interesting ideas---but i'd most likely never fiddle around with any lighter---thanks!

11:51AM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

I have started fires with "dead" lighters, so was glad to see that option included. It's the same concept as using flint and steel.

I also cook on a non-pilot gas range (the kind where you turn the stove on, then quickly light the gas with a match or lighter) and my preferred tool for lighting it is a long lighter with no fluid. Fluid filled lighters can explode if they heat up (such as from being left too near to a stove) so I don't like to have them sitting around my kitchen. Too easy for someone to make a mistake.

Whatever you do, please dispose of lighters responsibly. They float, so if they end up being carried in to almost any body of water by run-off, they have a chance of ending up in the ocean someday. I once saw a picture of all the plastic removed from a dead seabird's gizzard, and nearly half of it was disposable lighters. Very sad.

4:20AM PDT on Aug 23, 2013


6:58PM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

Interesting. Not exactly sure if i would ever do any of these things. I don't even have lighters except for an emergency the long fire starter lighters.

It is interesting to say the least.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

This was an awesome read! Way to go, David :-) Veganism is the best way to reduce the demand for ani…

Worthwhile. TY.

Thanks for the article, biking is also great.

C'mon....really? GTFOH!!!!


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