How to: Make Your Own Easy Fire Starters

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…


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


  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