There are plenty of ways you can start preparing for the worst without spending money, and many survival supplies can be gathered or created from items you already own. Here’s a list of DIY survival gear that you can make from everyday items.
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1. Homemade Hand Sanitizer
Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is the best way to remove germs, but if you can’t wash your hands, hand sanitizer is a good way to go. But with hand sanitizer flying off the shelves, it may be hard to get.
However, you can make your own with just 2 ingredients you might already have on hand. This article in Newsweek states that hand sanitizer needs to be 60% alcohol to be effective. If you decide to make your own, you need to use 2/3 cup of 99% rubbing alcohol to 1/3 cup aloe vera gel to get the right mix.
2. Altoids Tin Survival Kit
If you’ve got a few Altoids tins hanging around your house, put them to good use. Specifically, you can make a small survival kit to keep in your car, backpack, or bugout bag.
You can tailor your kit to your own needs, filling it with items such as band-aids and alcohol wipes, or survival items such as fire-starters, fishhooks, and paracord. Check this website for more ideas.
3. Medicine Bottle Survival Kit
Along the same lines of an Altoids tin survival kit is a medicine bottle survival kit. After you have thoroughly washed out an old medicine bottle, you can use it to hold small emergency items.
This instructable gives you the details on what you can put in it. Most of the items you probably already have on hand, but they can be priceless in a real emergency.
4. Medicine Bottle Key Hider
Hide the key to your bug out shelter – or any other small, critical item – in this homemade hide-a-key.
5. Cement Block Rocket Stove
You’re probably going to need to cook in an emergency situation, and rocket stoves are some of the most efficient ways to use wood for fuel.
With just four cinderblocks, you can build one of your own quickly and easily. Find out more here.
6. Tin Can Rocket Stove
If you have a couple of tin cans of various sizes, you can build a simple but efficient stove to cook on. Here’s how to make it.
7. Tin Can Cooking Pot
If you don’t have a pot to cook in, you can use a tin can on your rocket stove. Many tin cans have a plastic coating on the inside. You’ll need to put your tin can in the fire for five minutes to burn off the liner first. Once it’s cool, you can wash it and cook in it.
8. Tin Can Knife
You’re going to need a knife for cooking and other things. If you don’t have a good knife, you can make one out of a tin can. See how here:
9. Clay Pot Refrigerator
If you’ve got a couple of clay pots laying around, you can make your own mini-fridge that doesn’t require electricity.
Based on the principles of evaporative cooling, this simple zeer pot is a fun experiment and will help extend the life of your perishables if the power goes out.
10. Flower-Pot Heater
Some skeptics deny that this works, but if you’re sitting close enough to it, you’re sure to feel the warmth from this flower-pot heater.
Make your own from a candle and a couple of clay pots.
11. DIY Water Filter
You can make your own water filters in a variety of ways, but in this article, you can find directions to make one using sand, charcoal, cloth, and 2-liter bottles.
12. Emergency Bread
If grocery store supplies are running low, you might have trouble getting ahold of bread. You can make your own emergency bread, or flatbread, with just a few simple ingredients.
You can even cook it with a cement block rocket stove or tin can stove. Here’s the recipe.
13. Crayon Candle
Don’t be left in the dark when all of the emergency candles are sold out. There are plenty of ways to make your own candles from things you have around your house, including crayons.
In a pinch, you can light a crayon and use it for light, or better yet, remove the papers from several crayons and fasten them around a wick. Check here for some more emergency candle ideas.
14. 5 Gallon Bucket Toilet
In a serious survival situation or even just a quick camping trip, you might need to find alternatives to your bathroom. You can quickly and easily make a toilet from just a five-gallon bucket and one of last year’s pool noodles. Here’s how to do it.
15. Egg Carton Fire Starters
It can be frustrating to try to start a fire in an emergency, but you can make it easier with these DIY fire starters.
With just a few items you probably have in your garage or junk drawer, you can make this simple project with items such as an egg carton, dryer lint, and old wax.
16. Coffee Filters
Turn your junk mail into fuel for your woodstove. This is a great alternative when firewood is scarce and you need to heat our home or cook over the woodstove.
It also prevents waste from heading to the local landfill. Here’s how to do it.
18. Duct Tape Projects
Most garages have a few random rolls of duct tape floating around, so use this to your advantage. Duct tape can be used for many ingenious and creative survival hacks, from patching holes to fixing clothes.
Make sure you always have some around, and check out this link for some survival ideas to get you started.
19. Bandana Uses
Bandanas aren’t just for blowing your nose, there are plenty of uses for these in an emergency situation. These versatile scraps are easy to pack, lightweight, and handy to have around. From bandaging wounds to warming your neck, you’ll want to be sure you have a few.
You can easily create one from a clean piece of cotton, or just dig up one that’s laying around. Find a list of good bandana uses here.
20. Solar Lighting
No one wants to be in the dark when the lights go out, but not everyone can afford expensive solar panels. However, you can make use of the solar panels you already have – your solar powered garden lights.
Keep them outside during the day to charge, then bring them inside to light up the house when it gets dark. You can group them together in a mason jar or other heavy container or place them in your child’s room as a night light.
21. Mason Jar Oil Lamp
If you can’t afford to purchase an oil lamp, you can make one pretty easily from items around the house. You’ll need a mason jar, olive oil, and something to use for a wick.
If you don’t have a commercial wick, you’ll need to find something similar such as a strip cut from a cotton tea towel or a piece of string from a cotton mophead. Find more information here.
22. Mason Jar Herb Garden
If the weather isn’t seasonable enough to plant outside, you can grow some herbs inside in mason jars. Basil, cilantro, and mint do well in sunny windows. Here’s how.
23. Solar Cooker from a Car Sunshade
If you’re stuck at home and need to cook, you can put that car sunshade to good use. Use it to make your own solar cooker so you can still cook on sunny days, even without electricity.
If you can’t get enough heat from the sun alone, you might try putting the entire solar cooker inside your car so the sun can be further magnified through the windshield.
24. Gardening from Kitchen Scraps
If food is getting hard to find, you might need to start a garden in a hurry. Did you know you can grow some foods from your kitchen scraps while waiting for your seeds to germinate? Celery is particularly easy to regrow from the heart, but you can try some other veggies, too.
25. Seed Pots from Newspapers
If you live in a colder climate, you’re going to need to extend the growing season to get a jump start on your survival garden. One of the best ways to do this is by starting seeds indoors. If you don’t have access to pots or plastic containers, you can make your own seed pots from newspaper.
This list will get you started with survival gear and projects that you can create from things you have around your house. If you need even more survival projects to make from home, check out this list, too. You’ll be well on your way to survival prepping for little or no money.
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