Make Your Own Waterproof Matches

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

We recently stocked up on matches from the Dollar Tree- we got 16 boxes for just $1.  I thought it would be a good idea to make some of them waterproof.

Why would you need waterproof matches?

Fire is necessary for survival, for warmth and as a way to cook food.  In case of flooding or even extreme humidity, matches can get wet and you will be unable to use them.  They also come in handy while camping or backpacking.  I’ve been caught in a sudden downpour while hiking or camping.  If your gear gets wet along with your firestarting materials, at least your waterproof matches will still work.

Here is the easiest way to do it.


Wooden matches

Nail polish – any color, but avoid those with glitter

Covering for your surface


  1. Cover your work area with newspapers or scratch paper.
  2. Dip each match about half way into the nail polish bottle.
  3. Drip any excess polish against the inner side of the back to avoid drips.
  4. Lie the dipped matches flat on the protected surface and allow to dry.  I prefer to leave them alone for 24 hours.
  5. Store in an enclosed container.

Here is a quick DIY video on how I made the matches waterproof and a test of whether they work.

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  1. Nice post. Question: how does nail polish comapare with household (molten) candle wax for waterproofing matches? It would never have occurred to me to try this with nail polish.


    1. Hi Tim, Nail polish is much easier to use. With candle wax, sometimes it is harder to get the match lighted if too much wax is applied and needs to flake off before it lights. Thanks for bringing up the question.

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