Homemade Fire Starters

26 Homemade Fire Starter Ideas

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My parents are taking us camping. We always have to buy those expensive fire starter logs. I had the idea to save our dryer lint and stuff it inside our empty toilet paper rolls.


It's free and you never run out of it. It is very easy to catch on fire. We've tried it before and it lights up like a torch.

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Two things we have an abundance of at our house: junk mail and dryer lint. I stuff the return envelopes from the junk mail with the dryer lint and seal it. When we use the fireplace, we put the wood on top of the envelope and light it.

The paper catches right away and the dryer lint burns long enough to catch the wood. :)

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Use your wine corks for cheap fire starters. Just add a little alcohol on the cork. It works well.

By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

Editor's Note: Be sure it is a natural cork, not the newer plastic foam corks that are often used instead.

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July 28, 2010

Make Christmas gifts by recycling egg cartons and dryer lint! Using a cardboard one-dozen egg carton, fill each hole generously with dryer lint. Using melted scented candles purchased at a yard sale, pour hot wax into each hole, filling 2/3-3/4 full. Let harden.

To use, cut one section from carton, light the cardboard portion, and you've got the perfect fire starter! Great gift for people in cold climates, for parents and grandparents who won't have to find a spot on their mantel to display this year's gift.

By Zoanne from Chugiak, AK

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January 19, 2012

We burn wood, and fire starters are not cheap. My husband laughs at me for some of my cheap ideas, but they work! I use the below in addition to the twigs and leaves and bark that are in the wood pile.

  1. I save dryer lint and stuff it into empty TP or paper towel rolls and use it to start a fire.

  2. Save empty butter wrappers (I first use them to grease cake pans). Store in a bag in the freezer until needed.

  3. Save paper towels that are used to clean up greasy pans or messes as above, store in a bag in the freezer until needed.

  4. Junk mail

By mom-from-missouri from NW, MO

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November 16, 2010


If you want to make these into a gift, you will also need:


  1. Cut lid off the carton.
  2. Melt the candles and crayons on low heat.

  3. With hand protection, pour 1 inch of wax mix into the whole egg carton. Before it hardens, add the pine cones, fruit, spices, spruce sprigs, and such. Allow wax to harden.
  4. Once it is cooled, use craft knife to separate the egg cups. Line basket with excelsior or shredded news print and add cups. Make a sign saying "for your fireplace" and decorate with bows.

This is also a good seller at bazaars, as the scents draw people to your table!

Note: This is not a project for unsupervised kids.

Source: I found this in a craft book several years ago, but I don't have it anymore.

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Sweet Home, OR

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June 24, 2015

I liked the many suggestions for using paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make fire starters. My problem was that I didn't have a good way to stuff the rolls and pour or dip them in wax. Then I remembered my camp craft class where we made paper baskets (this was a looong time ago!).

Cut paper towel rolls in thirds. Fold one end and make a cut about 3/4 inches through both layers. Open the fold up and fold again so that the cut ends are now on the edges. Make another cut about 3/4 inches and open up the fold. Fold the four cut edges so they cover each other (like a box). The paper roll can now stand up and be filled with dryer lint, sawdust, etc. Pour the melted wax into the open end.

I also put these on a styrofoam tray (the kind meat comes on works well) and set my rolls up one against the other on the tray so that any wax that seeps through will pool on the tray and not make a mess of my work surface.

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July 14, 2014

My son used to be in Boy Scouts and they loved to make a fire at night during the summer. For fire starters, we took the cardboard from toilet paper and taped one end shut. Then he filled the tube up with dryer lint and taped the end shut.

When starting a fire, put a few in the fire for fire starters. The log catches quick and the fire soon spreads to the wood. It makes a little smoke when burned, so throw a few in the fire when the bugs come out and the smoke chases them away.

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July 1, 2014

I use dryer lint in a cardboard egg carton and drizzle old candle wax from scented candles that have lost their fragrance. It works best from the jar candles on a candle warmer. Once it has cooled, I cut the sections of egg cradles to separate and put in a ziplock to keep dry. Just light the corner of the cardboard when placed under your tinder. Works great for charcoal BBQ's too!

Source: I combined several tips.

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April 8, 2013

Put that stale bag of Fritos to good use. Start a campfire with them. They catch on fire very easily.

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May 14, 2012

Here are two more ideas:

  1. Use cardboard egg cartons with stubs of birthday candles in the pockets. Tear off a few pockets, put a few candle stubs in the pockets, and build your fire OVER the egg carton pieces. Light the edge of the carton and away you go.

  2. Wax paper "kisses" with shaved paraffin or candle stubs. Great way to learn how to use a knife (for kids or adults). Tear off a piece of waxed paper about 6 inches square (you get more than one out of a 6-inch piece from the roll.). Shave or scrape paraffin wax blocks, leftovers from home canning, or old candle stubs into the middle of the wax paper square. When you have about a marshmallow size pile, bring the corners together and twist to look like a Hershey's kiss. Put one or two down and build your fire over the top.

Source: 43 years of Girl Scout camping.

By Eileen M. from Elk Grove, CA

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April 20, 2011

We shred our excess paper and use it as a fire starter.

By Grandee from CA

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October 28, 2011

We are avid campers. Instead of buying those expensive fire starters, we make our own. Take a cardboard egg carton, fill each cup with dryer lint, melt old candle leftovers and pour into the cups over the lint. Cut them apart and voila, fire starters. These can be put under you kindling. They burn longer and give the fire time to get off to a good start.

By Jodi Vanderford from Glen Burnie, MD

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October 14, 2005

Get a jar that closes with a rubber seal. Put in corks from wine bottles, etc, then fill the rest of the way with denatured alcohol. Be careful not to put in too many corks, since they expand as they absorb the alcohol.

Turn the jar upside-down. The corks on the top will now be on the bottom and totally immersed in the alcohol.

When you want to start a fire in your fire pit, turn the jar right side-up, take a cork that is now on the top - you'll only need one - and use it to start the fire. You'll need to be careful not to set the jar close to the fire, since the alcohol, like all lighter fluids, is extremely flammable.

A container of denatured alcohol lasts forever. The corks are basically free, and you'll be stunned at how great these work.

By Susan P
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May 15, 2013

Save the lint from the dryer in a plastic container. In the winter months when the wood for the fire gets a little damp, use the lint under the kindling to get it started. Works great!

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May 31, 2012

Recycle used toilet and kitchen rolls, fill with newspapers.

We also use a 'Briquette Maker' to make use of old newspapers. Have a look at Amazon for ideas. Make them in the sumer to dry out in conservatory or green house, a little labour intensive but quite relaxing with the tearing and soaking of the papers.

Source: Amazon

By katieb from UK

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November 22, 2004

I found this tip at, it is a great site.

"Fill an empty roll with dried leaves in the fall. Wrap it with newspaper, 4 inches longer than the roll, and twist the ends of the paper, for easy lighting. If you wrap them with decorative paper and put them in a basket they make a nice accessory to a fire place. They can also be covered with Christmas wrapping paper for the holidays. Contributed by Claycrazy."

By Racer

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Homemade Fire Starter Ideas

Ask a QuestionHere are the Homemade Fire Starter Ideas asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 28, 2014

Does anyone know how long a cork fire starter burns for?


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