Posted On: 2019-01-17
Winter is almost here, and with it comes the need for lighting fireplaces! In the summertime, getting a fire started is useful for lighting a campfire or a bonfire in your firepit. Getting a fire started with or without fire starters is a skill that most Scouts grew up learning. However, starting a fire isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes it can become a real challenge. If your firewood is wet or you don’t have enough starter material available, you can be left frustrated trying to get that fire started. Did you know that you can make your own fire starters with things that you can find around the house? Here are some ideas and some videos on several different ways to make your own firestarter.
Lint and Toilet Paper Tubes
Photo courtesy of https://www.sadieseasongoods.com/come-on-baby-start-my-fire/
We produce so much dryer lint it’s crazy! You can make fire starters by stuffing dryer lint inside of a toilet paper tube. Yes – this means that you should be saving that dryer lint that you always throw out! Next, take a piece of wax paper and wrap it, rolling it on the ends like a piece of candy. Use the paper as the wick and the rest will catch fire and stay burning for a while to get your fire going.
Dryer Lint & Egg Cartons
Another way to use up all that free dryer lint you’ve been throwing away is placing a wad of dryer lint in each empty storage department of a cardboard egg carton with melted wax, or better yet, melted paraffin wax poured over top. It’s an easy project and might bring back days of making crafts in school. The main trick, however, is to melt the wax without burning the house down or ruining your good cooking pot. Wax or paraffin wax is highly flammable so don’t just throw a cube of it in a pot and heat up over the stove burner. To slow down the melting rate, and reduce the chance of combustion, make a double burner by having the pot with the wax in it above another pot of water. The simmering water will melt the wax at a much slower and safer rate. And you might want to use an old coffee can rather than a cooking pot to melt the wax in. Melted wax makes a real mess to clean up. If you don’t want to spend the money on paraffin then simply gather all the half-burned candles in the house (or go to a bargain store).
Here’s a way to use some of those pine cones that have been littering your yard. After gathering a basket full of cones, tie a six- or eight-inch length of yarn to each one. Use the yarn to dip each cone individually into a quantity of melted wax. Dip enough times for the cones to develop multiple waxen layers. Finally, move the cones to a sheet of newspaper and allow sufficient time for the wax to cool and harden.
Use Pine Shavings
Here is a video on how to make your own fire-starters using pine shavings (the kind you can find at any pet store / agricultural store) and regular candle wax. I believe you can purchase oversized muffin/brownie tins at a Dollar store.
Cotton Balls & Petroleum Jelly
Making a Firestarter from cotton balls is another one of my favorites. They're lightweight and when petroleum jelly is worked into the ball, it becomes highly flammable. I’ve even dipped them in paraffin wax or even melted petroleum jelly and stored them in my pack in a Ziploc bag. If you’re on a trip and you don’t have cotton balls or petroleum jelly but you do have Q-tips and lip balm, try those together.
Depend On Duct Tape
Believe it or not, duct tape is flammable and particularly potent when crumpled into a loose ball. To really get things going, wrap duct tape around a crumpled sheet of newspaper. With a generous dollop of hand sanitizer (with alcohol), these makeshift DIY fire starters are an easy, cheap, and effective means of starting a blaze.
Squeeze a good supply of hand sanitizer on the wood and it will burn long enough to dry things out. Make sure the product you are using, however, contains alcohol. Some companies are now making alcohol-free sanitizer and that won’t work.
The greasier the better when choosing which snacking chip will burn the best. But trust me, they do burn. Pringles Hot and Spicy, Doritos Spicy Nachos and Fritos Corn Chips are my choices. And once the fire is going, it's snack time.
A waterproof & windproof Firestarter
And last but not least a diy fire starter which is waterproof and windproof. You need paraffin wax from tea candles and tampons. From one such tampon, you can easily make 9+ fires as shown in the video. What tampons are is just compressed cotton designed to absorb moisture. When the paraffin wax from candles is heated it becomes a liquid and tampons really soak it up. After they dry they are completely covered in it inside and out making them absolutely waterproof, yet with very compact size. Easy to make and works great.