Project: Frugal Firestarters

I’ve been meaning for awhile to share a really simple way to make fire-starters for those of you who have a wood stove or fireplace.

FRUGAL FIRE-STARTERS

Materials:

  • Egg cartons, the grey recycled-cardboard kind, NOT the foamy plastic kind
  • Dryer lint, enough to fill the number of egg cartons you are using
  • An old candle (you know, the ugly half-burned kind– or buy a new one at the dollar store)
  • Some kind of double boiler suitable for melting wax

Procedure:

1. Melt the candles over a medium heat on the stove using some kind of a double boiler. I don’t have a real double boiler, so I use a medium sized metal mixing bowl set inside a large pot. A small pot inside a large pot will also work. Fill the large pot with a few inches of water, then set the bowl or smaller pot into it.  Put the candles in the inner bowl to melt.  (Do NOT try to melt wax in the microwave– you will regret it.)
My makeshift double boiler

2. While you’re waiting for your candle to melt, pack each compartment of your egg carton with a blob of dryer fuzz. Cram it in fairly compactly, but there’s no need to be too fussy.

Wax  and lint cooling in egg cartons

3.  When the candle wax is completely liquid, pour the wax carefully over the lint in each compartment of the egg carton.  Use just enough wax to moisten the lint.  You don’t want to completely submerge the lint in wax, just wet it down with the wax– I’d guess it takes a couple of tablespoons of liquid wax in each compartment.

4.  Let cool. Store away from heat.   To use, tear off one compartment at a time, light with a lighter, and set under wood in fireplace.

One firestarter, ready to light and stick in the wood stove
Disclaimer:  I am assuming all y’all are smart and are going to use normal precautions around hot wax and fire.   OK?  Good.

Getting a fire started is sometimes tricky, especially if you don’t have much kindling handy, and these things work great. Light an edge of the egg carton, stick it under a heap of wood in the fireplace, and it will burn for 3 or 4 minutes, plenty long enough to get most fires going.

{ 12 Comments }

  1. Cute fire starter idea…I just wanted to let you know that I went to the grocery store today and right by the frozen turkeys … I spotted your “$75 feasts” cookbook. It made me smile… I was like..HEY.. I read her blog…how cool is that? 🙂

  2. Like this a lot, I really want to get my own wood burning stove for our front room as i think it will warm up our little place much better than the current system. Must keep saving those pennies 🙂

  3. Your Disclaimer is duly noted.

    Well, I have plenty of dryer lint, and a couple cardboard egg cartons… but no fireplace!
    Thou Shalt Not Covet 🙁

    There is one on the wish list when we get around to doing the living room remodel, tho.

  4. I love this idea! We bought a house this year with a wood-burning stove, and are loving it. But, lighting the fires can be a pain- I love this little frugal help. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a wonderful idea… I was thinking instead of using a nice mixing bowl which will be a pain to wash (I remember getting rid of the wax is not easy), why not use any tin (from canned food) which can be tossed away/put in recycled bin? My fireplace has never been lit…(from the tropics, you see) but we enjoy camping and I’ll try this one of these days.

  6. We don’t have a fireplace or wood stove, but I’m thinking these would be great for all of the fires we like to have in a firepit in the summer… I can’t wait to try!

  7. Amber Howard-McGinnis says:

    We had a fireplace when I was growing up and I had to cut SO MUCH kindling–I wish I had known this trick back then! ; D Will definitely come in handy when we finally get our house! Thanks for sharing that tip! Ps. I love that it recycles old stuff (I can’t think of ANY other use for dryer lint!) and it cuts down on your wood consumption at the same time!

  8. We have made these and used them when we went camping and in our outside fire pit. The work wonderfully!!

  9. Thank you! We got chickens for the first time this summer & as a result now have a gazillion and one empty egg cartons waiting to be filled. Okay, maybe only a billion – but certainly enough empty egg cartons that some can be used for these fire starters! Hubby gets it going on the first try. I’m usually not that lucky! 😉 And dryer lint – PLENTY of that too!!!

  10. We make our own firestarter too. While it’s not as cute as yours in the the little egg cups, it is easy. We just buy wood shavings (often in the pet section at most stores) and melt the candle wax. It makes a ton and we just store it in a ziploc bag.

  11. I LOVE these little firestarters! We use them “in-season” in our firepit in the backyard. I just keep an egg carton in my laundry room and shove the lint in there whenever I run my dryer. When it’s full, I light an old candle and just let it drip overtop of the lint. It doesn’t take a lot. And voila! it’s done.

    Not only are these frugal (frugal with dryer lint, I LOVE it! ha!), but they WORK. I love the fact that after I started making these I could start a fire without my hubby–using only these and newspaper (oh, and firewood). No lighter fluid required.

  12. Oh, this take me back to my girl scout days. I think we used sawdust, but dryer lent is so much better. What a great idea.