So you’re floating down a quiet jungle stream, the overgrowth blotting any light from the viney corridor, spider-eating snakes rustling overhead. Fortunately, you used your backpack to store indestructible lanterns instead of extra food rations. You hunger and the glorious light are all thanks to the make-tastic ingenuity of Steve Hoefer. Steve created these lanterns from items you may have in the garage. In a special Make Magazine project feature, he shows you how to make them yourself.

How To: Eternal Flame Indestructible LED Lantern

Like many of you, Steve enjoys visits to the hardware store, wandering the isles whether something is needed or not, collecting interesting parts that could be used on a future project.

One time I found matched pairs of PVC caps and plugs that fit together into little airtight pods of various sizes. For what, I didn’t know until I wanted a way to float lit LEDs down a stream. The result: simple, rugged, floating LED lanterns that glow for days. They’ve survived being submerged for a week, frozen, and laundered in the washing machine. I even hit one with the lawn mower, and it still works. When they get dirty, just hose them off.

Eternal Flame Indestructible LED Lantern


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.