Do-It-Yourself Firestarter

Start Fires the Easy Way

Getting a fire going can be problematic. Who wants to hover over a cranky fire all day shoving paper and cardboard into it hoping the wood will eventually catch. Firestarter sticks are handy but expensive after a while, especially if you are on a serious budget like me.

Every winter I make up my own firestarters out of old melted wax, cardboard egg cartons and sawdust. The procedure is simple as shown below in the picture sequence. Melt the wax, fill the egg cups with sawdust and pour wax over them. When you are ready to use one, cut a cup loose with a knife. put it under the wood rack. On the bottom put a layer of kindling and a layer of medium sized wood and then some bigger stuff on top. Lite the cardboard edge of the cup and let it burn. It will give you a nice flame for 5 to 10 minutes or so. That should be enough to light up the kindling.

Step by Step Directions

A plastic coffee can is perfect for collecting leftover candles and melted scent-depleted wax from Scentsies.
A plastic coffee can is perfect for collecting leftover candles and melted scent-depleted wax from Scentsies.
Melt the wax on low heat in a small pot. You'll have to break it out of the coffee can with a knife. Melt about a fourth of a can of wax at at time - enough for one dozen and a half sized egg carton.
Melt the wax on low heat in a small pot. You'll have to break it out of the coffee can with a knife. Melt about a fourth of a can of wax at at time - enough for one dozen and a half sized egg carton.
Set the egg carton on wax paper to protect the counter as the melted wax may seep through if you put too much in the cups. Fill the egg carton cups with sawdust as shown. Pour in enough melted wax to dampen the sawdust. It doesn't take a lot.
Set the egg carton on wax paper to protect the counter as the melted wax may seep through if you put too much in the cups. Fill the egg carton cups with sawdust as shown. Pour in enough melted wax to dampen the sawdust. It doesn't take a lot.
When the wax is cooled, it's ready to use. Cut out one cup at a time with a sharp knife.
When the wax is cooled, it's ready to use. Cut out one cup at a time with a sharp knife.
Place the cup under the wood as shown and light it. The steady flame from the firestarter will start the kindling on the bottom of the prepared fire as shown.
Place the cup under the wood as shown and light it. The steady flame from the firestarter will start the kindling on the bottom of the prepared fire as shown.

Collecting the Materials

You have to plan ahead if you want to make these really cheap. You can buy a block of paraffin if you want, but I use an old coffee can to collect the leftover wax from my wife's burned out candles and leftover wax in the Scentsie jars she uses all the time to make the house smell nice. The scent wears out after a bit and she was just pitching the wax out.

So, I have her pour the leftover wax and put the old bits of candle into my coffee can and when it's full I have enough wax to do four eighteen count sized egg cartons. Through the spring and summer I collect egg cartons and when I'm cutting up firewood, I box up the sawdust for this project. By autumn, I've got everything I need to make a winter's worth of firestarter cups.


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