Firestarters are a super simple project. They really come in handy when you're trying to make a fire at home, but they're almost invaluable when you're out camping in the woods. (So says the girl who was taught, as a kid, how to make fires using a flint. Trust me, a firestarter and a match is better.) This project also makes use of nothing new as it's made from 100% unwanted, unused and recycled materials. Which also means that it costs nothing at all.
I love things that are so cheap that they're free.
This is a good way to use some of the branches from your Christmas tree, should you still have one hanging around your living room (like we do).
Also, it used up 3 of the dozens of old egg cartons that we have stacked in the garage, the cardboard ones, not the plastic kind.
And the final ingredient in the firestarter recipe is old saved wax. I have a Mason jar (no way) in which I save all the butt ends of burned out candles.
Basically, you strip the needles off the branches and fill up the egg cartons with them. The girls thoughtfully left little sprigs on the top of each cup for prettiness and for ease of lighting.
(I offered gardening gloves to the girls and, after a few minutes of stubbornness, they accepted.)
While this is going on, you can put the Mason jar into a slowly simmering pan of hot water. The water, as you can see, only needs to come up the sides of the jar a few inches.
(These days I have a specific pan that I use for melting wax, complete with a strainer that holds the jar up off the bottom, but I have successfully done this in a regular pan. Just make sure to keep the water at a bare simmer.)
Lay out the egg cartons full of pine needles on an old pan. (I used the one I destroyed doing this.)
And, using the kind of pot holders that slip on over your hand, CAREFULLY pour the wax into the egg cartons. (They will weep a bit, which is why you've got them on the sheet.)
Once they are completely cooled, you can cut them apart and store them. We keep some of them in a lidded crock near the kindling and the rest with our camping gear.
To use, you just light one of the bits of cardboard or pine needle and build your fire on top of it.
Enjoy this tutorial?
Get more like it by subscribing to my RSS feed