Making Pine Cone Fire Starters

Category Nature
Pine cones can be bought or collected for free in a variety of places. This page is about making pine cone fire starters.


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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

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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.



To make up several bags of scented pinecones first gather them off the ground around any pine, spruce or fir tree. It's best to gather them on a dry day when it's not raining or snowing if possible. Next, spread them out on newspaper to let them dry out overnight. To add scent, I recommend using real essential oils. They can be bought on the internet or at most health food stores. My 3 top favorite scents for pinecones are orange-citrus, cinnamon-spice or if you like the smell of Christmas trees use "spruce". Don't use the "pine" scent because your cones will then end up smelling like the cleaner Pine-sol. Take a disposable Styrofoam cup or a small ceramic or glass bowl or cup (not plastic) and fill it up with about 3/4 of a bottle of rubbing alcohol (about 12 ounces). To the alcohol add 1 or 2 teaspoons of your essential oil of choice and stir until the essential oil is mixed in with the alcohol. (Obviously, do this AWAY from any flame and don't smoke while doing this! Outside on a porch works best)

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


December 17, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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December 17, 20100 found this helpful

We use ours for camping.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 15, 2010

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


Homemade Pine Cone Fire Starters

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!

By Donna

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September 28, 2009

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

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December 11, 2008

I'm always running low on extra money for gifts, and always watching for things found curbside or that are recyclable and free, especially at Holiday time:

I'm about to warm old candle wax and crayons swirled for exotic color, with cinnamon oil and vanilla added for fragrance. Then I will take the pine cones I find being left to weather beneath pine trees around the malls and forgotten, dip, swirl and sprinkle with glitter and add to a washed mesh grocery bags from fruit, veggies or turkeys. I'll place into old but good painted baskets or wooden containers and add single threads of thin red ribbon woven loosely all through the bundle and around ends, handles, or tops of what I finish with, along with a sprig of rosemary from the lawn care clippings at the same mall where it over-grows by a bank, with their permission of course.

I hope to find an attractive but frugal box of safety matches to tuck into it for their fireplace or outdoor firepit-burning of the lightly waxed scented cones. My notecards tucked in will be made from phone-directory homepressed spring flowers and leaves that say such things as "Hope this leaves you blooming with memories from your warmest holiday ever. Merry Christmas, dear hearts."

By Lynda from Richardson, TX


Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

I wish I were on your Christmas list! (12/05/2007)

By Jean in GA

Pinecone Fire Starters as Christmas Gifts

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)

By sheri

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December 4, 2007
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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