Homemade Firestarters Using Dryer Lint and Candle Wax
We have a chimnea on our patio in the backyard that provides a great spot to relax during the cool fall and winter mornings or nights. My husband loves to build fires in it, but the price of fire starter logs was getting to be too much for our budget. A great alternative to store bought fire logs is homemade fire starters made with dryer lint and leftover candle wax. Every time I clean out the dryer filter, I put the gobs of lint into a storage bag. You know after a full weekend of laundry, you wonder if there could be another use for lint--here it is! This is a good use for the lint, and for those burned out jar candles you know you have stashed somewhere.
Step 1: Collect your supplies
Save up a few days or a week's worth of dryer lint. Keep it dry in a storage bag until you are ready to use it. Gather up all of your burned out jar candles or the ones you don't really care for the scent. I had a container of wax chips from an after Christmas clearance sale that worked perfectly too. If you see candles at a cheap price, snatch them up for this "craft".
Step 2: Prepare your containers
I have found the easiest, most effective size fire starter is created using a muffin tin and muffin paper cups. Some other articles have used paperboard egg containers, but those are hard to come by around our area and they're too small for our preference. Place the paper cups in your muffin tin. Put off pieces of dryer lint so that each cup is half way full.
**UPDATE** My last batch made with muffin papers burned too fast for the wax to melt. I am trying out paper drinking cups and some paperboard drink carriers from fast food restaurants. Paper towel and toilet paper tubes are also in the pile to test.
Step 3: Melt your wax
If you are using candle remnants, use a butter knife to break up the hard wax into chunks. Discard the wick and any other objects like the wick holder. Place the wax pieces in a DRY clean tin can. Place the can into a pan of hot, slightly boiling water. A rolling boil could cause the can to tip over and you don't want to get water in the wax or wax on your pan. Stir the wax to allow it to melt evenly. I used a wooden coffee stirring stick.
If you have family members that are sensitive to strong perfume smells, you can also melt plain canning wax or unscented candles to avoid any negative reactions.
Step 4: Pour the wax into the cups
Remove the can of wax from the boiling water using a pot holder. Slowly pour enough wax to cover the lint, but don't overflow the cup. You should leave a 1/4" to 1/2" of space in the top of the cup. Allow the cups to cool completely and the wax to harden. I placed my muffin tin in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or if you live in a cool climate, stick the pan out in the garage or other cold place to speed up the setting process.
Step 5: Store your fire starters or burn them!
The key is to keep your fire starters dry and firm. Store them in an airtight container if you are going camping or hiking. I had an empty wax paper box that I stacked my last batch in, and that has worked really well. The box stays inside near the backdoor, so whenever we want a fire, they are close at hand.
When you're ready to made your fire, place one or two of your fire starters at the bottom of your fireplace or chimnea. Light the edge of the paper to get it started, then place your firewood over the burning cup. The scent of the wax won't be as strong as the original candle, but you should notice a pleasant, soft aroma until the wax is completely burned.