How to: Make Your Own Easy Fire Starters

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Campfire
Firestarter Ingredients
Firestarter Ingredients

Ask a dozen campers how they start their fires and you’ll get twenty different answers ranging from the purist – twigs, ruffage and a match to the YOLO crowd who splash some gasoline on the fire (yes, I’ve actually seen this happen in person). I usually kept firestarter sticks on hand and used them. One day walking through a camp store, I saw what was essentially cupcakes with bits of wood in them with some wax holding them together – the problem was, they wanted something like $2/each and I’m way too cheap for that.

I poked around online and found a few recipes for homemade firestarters. This is what I came up with…

Ingredients

Block of wax
Parafin wax
  • Either cardboard egg carton (I guess Amazon does have everything!)
  • Or paper cupcake liners and cupcake pan (I used a disposable cupcake pan to save the wrath of my wife if I messed up one of her good pans)
  • Cedar gerbil/pet bedding (make sure it’s cedar and not non-wood materials)
  • Block of wax (the kind for candle making as long as there is no scent)
    • A note about wax, bees wax is supposed to smell better and be less toxic for cooking but it is more expensive and wasn’t available when I was shopping
  • Optional: dryer lint

Tools Needed

  • Small sauce pan for melting and pouring the wax (I used something like this 1-quart sauce pan with pour spout – again, specially bought out of fear)
  • Utensil for stirring melted wax
  • Method for breaking up the wax
  • If using cardboard egg cartons, knife for cutting them up

Instructions

  1. Bludgeon the wax into smaller workable pieces.
    • This proved to be incredibly difficult with a knife and saw.
    • My next plan is to beat upon it with a hatchet or hammer.
      • On edit: I made these later using a screw driver and hammer to quickly and easily break up the wax.Sawing Wax was a failure
  2. Fill the egg carton/cupcake liners with cedar bedding
    • Optionally also layer in bits of dryer lint (it’s an easy burn to get these going).>

    Filling egg cartonsEmpty pie pansWoodchips in pie pans

  3. Melt the wax in the pan
    • Be aware, the longer you leave the melted wax in the pan/on the stove, the hotter it gets – it sort of boiled when I poured it in the next step
    • Get it melted and then work it right away

    Melting candlesMelting parafin wax

  4. Pour some wax over the cedar bedding
    • You basically need just enough to hold the firestarter together
    • You’re not making a candle- don’t get nutty with the amount of wax you use (like I did!)

    Pour wax onToo much waxJust a little wax to hold it togetherCompleted firestarter

  5. After cooling, cut into pieces
    • Put it outside/in the fridge to cool
    • I used my grill and just set it inside until it cooled down overnight
    • A bread knife worked great for cutting, the wife wasn’t pleased about the residue left on it
  6. Cutting egg carton

1 COMMENT

  1. Here’s a neat idea I saw somewhere a couple of years ago and been using ever since. Fill empty toilet paper rolls with the chaff from your home paper shredder. Don’t pack too tight but should be firm. Next time you fry up a big skillet of bacon over the campfire just pour a little down the packed tubes. Wallah!! Instant fire starter and your neighbors won’t complain about the smell. Store in sealed coffee container in the belly. If you don’t have the bacon grease, plain old cooking oil will work but really the bacon smell is the best!

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