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Do NOT use pine-cones as fire starters in your fireplace. When burned they emit creosote, a sticky residue that is highly flammable. It accumulates in your chimney and can cause a chimney fire.
By Linda L. from Vista, CA
Because pinecones can be picked up off the ground at this time of the year this is a very inexpensive holiday gift for your coworkers, friends or family. Scented pinecones can be used as fire starters or just put into a pretty bowl or by the fireplace to make the room smell nice.
You can either dip your pinecones right into this mix or you can put the scented alcohol into a well-marked spray bottle and spray the pinecones outside as they sit in a cardboard box that's lined with a plastic bag. My favorite is an old box that held a case of small bottles of water because this already has the plastic on it. Lastly let the alcohol evaporate then put these pinecones into a restaurant style gallon jar with a lid or keep them in large gallon size zip-lock baggies until you're ready to give them as gifts. Use care if you bring these scented cones into an office because some folks have allergies to certain scents, so it's best to make sure your gift is wrapped in plastic, or is in a fancy glass jar with a ribbon or a tightly sealed ziplock bag.
The scented alcohol can also be sprayed on your older potpourri to make it smell like new! And the pinecones can also be used on top of packages as decorations in place of ribbons.
By Cyinda from near Seattle
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There are lots of pine cones lying around on the ground at the moment. Use them to make free and very effective firelighters to light your woodburner or open fire. I soak them in used cooking oil to make them work even better. They smell great too.
By ayesha christmas from Slovenia EU
Wow. I've never heard of soaking them in used cooking oil before. A great way to recycle and make something needed! Thanks for sharing.
We use ours for camping.
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Does anyone remember the directions for making homemade pine cone fire starters? I used to have one that made the fire burn different colors. Thanks in advance.
By Darlene from Lynn, MA
This site has instructions for water based fire starters. The pine cones are soaked in different chemicals to produce colors when burned. Please make sure to read the safety concerns at the bottom of the page!
A basket of pine cone fire starters is a wonderful gift to make. It is fairly inexpensive and I have fun making them every year. Carefully melt paraffin or old candle ends in a double boiler and use tongs to dip your pine cones. I sprinkle some of them with glitter and leave some without then set each dipped cone on wax paper to dry.
I pick up very inexpensive baskets and containers at sales all year long. I also get candles at these sales for change, it does not matter if they have already been partially used. If you do not have a few baskets and containers on hand, save this tip for next year.
Source: A friend gave us a basket of fire starters many years ago and she shared with me how to do them. Enjoy.
By Bobbie G from Rockwall
I wish I were on your Christmas list! (12/05/2007)
By Jean in GA
We to make our own fire starters, but we use (paper) egg cartons and dryer lint and sawdust. Fill the "egg" part of the cartons with dryer lint or sawdust, melt your old saved candle pieces and pour over the lint, sawdust or combo of both. After they dry/set we cut them apart in 2's. Not as pretty, but just as functional! (12/23/2007)
Gather up pinecones, all except the white pinecones that have pitch on them. Save the ends of used candles and remelt the wax in a foil pan (use as a double boiler). Dip the pinecone in the melted wax to coat it.
You may add fragrance oils, dried crushed herbs, and food color to create a sensory delight. Place the pinecones on a sheet of wax paper to dry within seconds.
Place an assortment of cones in a wicker basket or gift bag. Add bunches of dried tied bouquets of mint, cinnamon sticks, or lavender to give that extra few minutes of fragrance to the fire. People will love it and say how creative and talented you are...not that you are a cheap penny pitcher that makes rubbish look good.
By Live Again from Wiscasset, ME
It is my understanding that burning pinecones creates creosote, which is a sticky tar-like substance that gunks up the inside of your chimney and can create chimney fires. I would reconsider the safety of this idea. (11/09/2005)
Thanks for your concern. I think this might be a problem if all you burned was pinecones. Just using them as a firestarter, I doubt if there would be enough creosote to make much of a difference.
Susan from ThriftyFun (11/09/2005)
Hi Live again...
That's a lovely idea. Thank you. It was especially nice to see that you are from Wiscasset. I live in the midwest, but I grew up in Maine and spent a lot of time with my aunt, uncle and cousins in Wiscasset. Happy memories!!!
For those conerned about creosote, you can use them as a decoration for the winter...like she said...in a pretty basket. etc, and burn them in a campfire or outside fireplace in the summer. Nice! (11/09/2005)
Hi Live again, I too am from Maine,lived there from the time I was born until 3 1/2 years ago and then moved to Tennessee( to much snow in Maine).Yes, they are great firestarters We've used them before and never had a problem with built up creosote. When using anything like that remember to open your flue for a while after burning them and the creosote will burn out. It helps to run your flue open every once in a while to keep the creosote burnt out anyway from other types of wood. (11/10/2005)
If you didn't have your flue open when using your fireplace, wouldn't that make your house real smoky? I use pinecones, and also dip leaves and small sticks in the wax to burn also. Great for when your fire starts dying and you want to revive it quickly. (11/13/2005)
May I put your site on a forum?
I was looking at a way to make pine cone firestarters and your site came up?
Editor's Note: Sure, feel free to link to any of our pages. If you have any trouble, email us using the contact information at the bottom of the page. (10/08/2007)