1. Aluminum Flashing
This is probably one of the most widely used windscreen materials. Flashing is used in building construction as a weatherproofing material but can be used to make a great looking windscreen.
- Produces a nice, perfectly round screen
- Easy to find
- You usually have to buy it in large rolls that can be expensive
- Alcohol stove flames turn it brown (see picture above). To remedy this, you can either bake your completed windscreen in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes to burn off the coating or simply sand off the coating of the raw material with extra-fine sandpaper.
- Somewhat difficult to work with. You will need tin snips to cut it (or patiently score it with a sharp knife against a metal yard stick). And, it's very "springy" making it somewhat of a pain to deal with.
- Produces very sharp edges when cut. All cut edges should be sanded down and you should work with gloves to prevent injury.
- Must be rolled for storage which can limit packing options
Where to get it
2. Aluminum Tooling Foil
This is my favorite material hands down because it's so easy to work with. Since it's so malleable, it doesn't product a perfect shape like flashing, but you can always smooth out the kinks with your hand.
- Extremely easy to work with (you can cut it with scissors and easily bend it by hand)
- Doesn't brown like flashing
- Can be bought in small quantities
- Can be rolled or folded for storage to give you more packing options
- Comes in different colors if you want to get fancy and pimp out your windscreen!
- More expensive than flashing (per quantity)
- Crinkly looking after use (not a problem if you don't care about that sort of thing)
- Less durable than flashing though still more than durable enough in my opinion
- Slightly more difficult to find. Depending on your area, you might have to order it online.
Where to get it
Iv'e had my best luck at finding tooling foil locally at craft stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby (where it is sometimes called "embossing foil"). You can also usually find it on Amazon or eBay. Just make sure you get aluminum tooling foil and not copper or some other metal.
3. Aluminum Foil (Tin Foil)
Some people make windscreens out of the everyday aluminum foil they have in their kitchen. Basically, all you have to do is roll out the length you need, fold it over itself, and make a fold over each end to take care of the sharp edges and you're done!
- Cheapest option
- Extremely easy to find
- Insanely light
- Can be either folded or rolled for storage
- You probably already have some
- Can build a functional windscreen in about one minute
- Least durable option
- Can melt with exposure to alcohol stove flames
- So light that it can easily blow away in the wind
- Very crinkly look after use (much more so than tooling foil)
Where to get it
You probably have some in your kitchen drawer right now. Go look!
For the ease of construction and flexibility, I really think aluminum tooling foil the best. To me, it's the ideal compromise between cost, durability, and packability.
What is your favorite material for alcohol stove windscreens? Any tips or tricks for using it?