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Homemade Fire Starters

You can save money and recycle some household waste products by making your own fire starters. This is a guide about homemade fire starters.
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Homemade Fire Starter Ideas

Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these Homemade Fire Starter Ideas shared by the ThriftyFun community! Have something to add? Please share!

By 13 found this helpful
October 13, 2014

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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By 8 found this helpful
January 12, 2015

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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May 2, 2012

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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By 9 found this helpful
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

Supplies:

  • paper egg carton
  • newspaper
  • old candles and crayons
  • coffee can for melting the waxes
  • assorted dried fruit
  • whole nutmeg and cinnamon
  • small pine cones
  • spruce sprigs or fir needles (optional)
  • craft knife
  • pot to put coffee can in
  • metal spoon
  • pot holders
If you want to make these into a gift, you will also need:
  • basket with handle
  • ribbon
  • gift card and markers
  • excelsior or shredded newspaper

Directions:

  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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By 2 found this helpful
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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By 2 found this helpful
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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By 2 found this helpful
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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By 2 found this helpful
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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By 2 found this helpful
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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By 6 found this helpful
April 20, 2011

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

By Grandee from CA

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By 3 found this helpful
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, 20051 found this helpful

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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By 0 found this helpful
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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October 17, 20120 found this helpful

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

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By 0 found this helpful
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, 20040 found this helpful

I found this tip at make-stuff.com, 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, 20140 found this helpful

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

By L.DEE

Archives

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

April 20, 20110 found this helpful

What happens to your shredded material at home or the office? I take them on camping trips! The paper shreds are a perfect fire starter. Sprinkle them in the pit, add wood, then sprinkle more on top. They make it very easy to get the fire going and it adds to the purpose of "shredding" for sure. Not to mention, re-purposing your shredded paper as a fire starter keeps it out of the landfill.

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By Lori from Greenwood, MO

Answers:

Use Shredded Paper as Fire Starter

I like the basic idea - I'd be more comfortable with making the shreds into less "blowable" fire starters, I think. I am going to try stuffing shreds into a toilet paper tube, AND I'm going to try putting some shreds in a cardboard egg carton with some melted paraffin wax poured over the top... (06/15/2010)

By Eileen M.

Use Shredded Paper as Fire Starter

Keep your paper towel rolls and toilet tissue rolls and stuff them with your shredded paper and use them for fire starters in camp fires. Little of the fire starter on the roll and you are ready to go. (06/15/2010)

By pat snodgrass

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful

Instead of buying those fire starters, make your own out of empty wine boxes. I fill with little pieces of paper and poke holes in both sides, and light up!

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By nancy nunez

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

I would like to know how to make a homemade fire log starter.

By susan from New Smyrna, FL

Answers:

Homemade Fire Starters

One thing we have done is to take wood chips about 2x2 inches and soak them in used oil or kerosene. Soak for 1 week then take out let dry and store in a 5 gallon bucket use a few to get a fire going.

Another thing is take newspaper and soak in water then wad it up, or get a press to press the water out and form into a brick. Let dry then keep stored and use when needed. (01/10/2010)

By cj06

Homemade Fire Starters

There are lots and lots of ideas in the ThriftyFun archives below. Be sure to read them all but steer clear of using dryer lint or plastic egg crates because of lung dangers due to the burning toxins :-) (01/13/2010)

By Ann

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January 8, 20100 found this helpful

My husband has made fire starters for our wood burning stove by taking saw dust and wax from old candles and adding them together in egg shell cartons. Then he broke them a part in individual parts. When he wants to get the fire going, he puts one in with the wood and lights the egg carton. Works every time.

By Dara from Fairview, OR

Answers:

Homemade Fire Starters

Be sure to use cardboard egg cartons, "not" Styrofoam. (11/21/2009)

By Orv

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June 5, 20090 found this helpful

Fire starters for camping are easy to make with things you have around the house. All you need is a paper egg carton, dryer lint and wax. I use old candle wax. Fill each section of the egg crate with dryer lint, then pour melted wax over each section.

After the wax hardens, pack for your next camping trip. When ready to start the fire, break off a piece of the egg carton and light it up. It lights easy and burns long enough to get the rest of the fire started.

By Leslie

Answers:

Homemade Fire Starters

Another fire starter old newspapers.My uncle has a newspaper roller which he rolls the papers and uses them as starter material. Of course with our local newspaper that's about all its good for! (08/13/2008)

By DEBRADJ.

Homemade Fire Starters

What would be a good way to make some for the indoors? Ideas? (08/13/2008)

By KELLY POLSON

Homemade Fire Starters

For safety's sake, please melt wax in a type of double boiler even if using a tin can. Do not melt directly over a flame. I learned this the hard and scary way. (08/18/2008)

By Angelina

Homemade Fire Starters

I make firestarters for our fireplace by melting wax (very carefully!) and dipping pinecones in it. You can keep a basket of them near (not TOO near) the hearth and just toss a coupel in when needed. No need to cover the whole pinecone, just dip the top half. I've also used candles and grated them up, wrap some in newspapers, and put this on the bottom of the fire. I've kept a tin container (with lid) of grated wax close to the firepalce. (08/18/2008)

By Judi

Homemade Fire Starters

Back home we used to use birch bark rolled up in a can tight (short can)- and then poured melted wax over and let harden. This was also good and a good gift to your favorite camper - hunter - fisherman! (08/20/2008)

By Joanna Hughes

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January 21, 20080 found this helpful

Save lint from dryer, "cardboard" egg cartons (not the styrofoam ones) and old candle pieces or crayons. Put lint in each egg cup. Melt the candle pieces in an old coffee can. Pour melted wax into egg cups. Let dry, break apart and use to start your fires!

By Beejay from Whittier, CA

Answers:

Homemade Fire Starters

I too make fire starters for camping this way. I have a plastic bag hanging not far from my dryer where I place the lint from my dryer. I also use the cardboard egg cartons, but instead of using old crayons or used wax from candles, I just purchase Gulf Wax paraffin blocks that I purchase in the grocery store. I use an old sauce pan to melt the wax. These starters are almost free, except for the paraffin that I purchase. We usually cook on our fires so I don't want the scent of candles in our fire. But that is just me. Glad someone else is into making these simple fire starters for camping. They get the fire started quickly, as the dryer lint, cardboard and wax are very flammable.

(01/10/2007)

By Linda Watters

Homemade Fire Starters

These sound like great ideas, however, if you're starting a fire indoors (needing a chimney) you do not want to use anything like crayons or wax that adds to the build up in the chimney. (01/13/2007)

By Debbie

Homemade Fire Starters

Yes, yes, I'm certain it's a great idea. WARNING! Watch the temperature of the heating wax VERY carefully because it tends to melt quickly and FLARE UP FAST, which is how my 11 yr. old daughter caught our kitchen on fire years ago. Our kitchen has never been the same, and I ALMOST didn't hear her scream as she tossed WATER on it, the WORST POSSIBLE THING SHE COULD HAVE DONE IN HER PANIC. I was in the back bath with the exhaust fan on as she was yelling for HELP! By the grace of God she was not burned and our home didn't burn down.

I've been saving old egg cartons with plans to show my grandchild how to make paper from it since what I have are recycled paper cartons for brown eggs.

You've given me the great idea of using the egg cartons for holding/storing the medium small pine cones we plan to dip in paraffin for outdoor fire starters in our firepit rather than to toss all of those
things. I just LOVE to recycle, don't you? God bless you. Thanks, too. : ) (01/26/2007)

By Lynda

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