We’ve been using these fire starters to start fires in our wood stove for a couple of years now, and they have been immensely useful. Using recycled materials, they are fast and cheap to make, and make lighting a fire a snap.
Here’s what you need:
Cardboard egg cartons
Dryer lint (or sawdust, if you have access to it)
Old candles (or paraffin wax)
A medium sized aluminum can (~30 oz works great)
A pot, a little bit larger than the can
A wooden chopstick or other poking device
An old towel to protect your work surface
First, collect dryer lint from the screen. We keep a couple of egg cartons on our dryer, so the lint goes right into them. This part may take a week or so, depending on how much laundry you do.
Place the full carton(s) on top of an old towel or newspapers on your kitchen counter, convenient to the stove.
Break up the candles or paraffin, and place as much of it as will fit in the can, making sure that none goes over the top rim.
Fill the pot about halfway full with water, and place the can in the center. MAKE SURE NO WATER SPILLS INTO THE CAN. Heat over medium-low heat until the wax is melted.
DO NOT LEAVE THE MELTING WAX UNATTENDED. It is highly flammable. You don’t want the water to boil, or it will bounce the can around and wax could spill onto the burner. I like to weight mine down by placing a flat stone on top.
When the wax has melted, use a hot mitt to remove the can from the water, and carefully pour it over the dryer lint in one of the egg cartons. About 2 tablespoons per egg compartment should do it.
If you’re making more than one carton’s worth at once, I recommend only waxing one at a time, so the wax doesn’t start to harden before you can mash it in.
When you’ve poured it over all 12 compartments, use your chopstick to mash the wax into the lint, otherwise the wax will just harden on top and they won’t work. You can add more wax as needed, until the lint is fully saturated.
Let it cool and harden, then you have fire starters :o) They are also excellent to take with you camping, or for back-yard fire circles.
Happy winter, and stay warm and safe!
When you’re ready to light your fire, simply tear off one of the starters, light it, and place it under a stack of kindling. It will burn for a while, allowing your wood a chance to light.