- Arts and Design
How to Make Pine Cone Fire Starters - Fun Crafts
Have you ever used pinecone fire starters?
Design Your Own Pine Cone Fire Starters
The cold of winter is approaching. You know that nothing truly warms the spirit until you have a roaring fire going in the wood stove or fireplace.
Indeed, one of my favorite parts of the wintry season is getting a blazing fire in my own wood stove. Then, after I'm warm all over, I can cook on it, make homemade simmers of spices and use my fire starters.
If you regularly have to light a fire in the wintertime, you know that sometimes it can be a hit or miss proposition. Sometimes your kindling gets wet, or you don’t have much to work with. Other times, you get the fire going but it stubbornly goes out.
You can solve that problem with pine cone fire starters. Until recently I had not used these, but now, I’m poised to make these all winter long.
The wax covering helps them to burn slowly and they give off a heavenly scent that can only be associated with cozy fires and a rich musky aroma of pine. They burn hot - with blue flames - are so well suited to starting fires that if one doesn’t crop up after using one of these fire starters, you’ve either got wood that’s too wet or somehow you’re missing the “fire starting” gene.
This craft is not too hard to make and you can use materials from around the house, for the most part. You might need to go out and get the beeswax, but other than that, your materials should be readily available.
I love the fact that these are completely eco-friendly and the materials are biodegradable and don’t have harmful chemicals in them, at least that I know of (except you do want to be careful with the cinnamon oil until it's dissolved in the wax). It’s a great craft and they make great gifts for people who own fireplaces and wood stoves.
© C. Calhoun 2012. All rights reserved.
What You’ll Need:
- 8-10 pine cones, with any debris brushed off
- Waxed paper
- Large coffee can, cleaned and dry
- Large pot
- 1 lb. beeswax
- 2-3 crayons in the color of your choice, with the paper wrap peeled off
- 20 drops cinnamon essential oil
- Tongs or a potato masher works well if you don’t have tongs
- Large spoon
- Make sure the pine cones are nice and dry before you use them.
- You’re using heat from a stove, boiling water and hot wax – take care not to burn yourself.
- When starting a fire: place a pine cone near some crumpled paper and light the paper. The paper will really help to get the pine cone lit better than holding a lighter or match to it. The wax will take awhile to light up, but once it does, it will burn nice and slowly, crackling at times, but allowing ample time for kindling and larger pieces of wood to catch fire.
1. Cover your work area with newspaper. Then, cover it with wax paper. You’ll want this work area fairly close to where you’ll be heating the wax (not not directly on the stove!) so that you can easily transfer the pinecones to the wax paper.
2. Put the block of wax into the coffee can.
3. Put the coffee can in the large pot. Fill the pot with about 2 inches of water. You don’t want too much because the coffee can might float and this can be unsafe.
4. Heat the water (with the coffee can containing the wax) over medium-high heat. As the water boils, it will melt the wax completely, taking about 20-25 minutes.
5. When the wax has melted, break the crayons into little chunks and carefully put them into the wax. Keep adding pieces until you get the color you want. Keep in mind that the final wax color will be lighter than what it looks like melted. (See my examples.) Add the cinnamon essential oil (do not touch the oil with your bare skin – it will burn! Wash any oil off immediately with plenty of water if you get it on yourself).
6. Once all the wax is melted, turn the heat to low. Lower one pine cone into the wax and either use the tongs or a spoon to move the pine cone around in the pan to coat it. Use the tongs or spoon, in conjunction with the potato masher, to lift the pine cone out, but don’t shake off excess wax. Just place the pine cone on the waxed paper to dry. Do this for all of your pine cones.
7. Turn the heat off. Beginning with the first pine cone you dipped into the wax (it should be cool at this point), dip it into the wax again. The wax in the pan will be cooler and will coat the pine cone more thickly. Place back onto the waxed paper.
8. Repeat with the rest of the pinecones, making sure that they’re rather cool and dry before dipping them back into the wax. This will help the second coat to solidify and be thicker than the first coat.
9. Let the pine cones dry completely before handling them. Once they are try, transfer them to a nice basket or ceramic dish to store them. You can touch them with your bare skin, as well, because the cinnamon oil will be dissolved in the wax.
10. Don’t store your fire starters too close to a heat source. They are fire starters after all.
Use as Gifts!
Try using other colors and essential oils to make a variety of pine cone fire starters. Peppermint, lavender, fir needle, musk, sandalwood, and orange are all good choices.
When you prepare the pine cones as a gift, place them in a nice basket, use a pretty ribbon, and add other small gifts such as incense, matches in colorful boxes, or even candles.