Whether you have trouble starting fires or lighting charcoal, or when you just wish to speed up the fire-starting process, a waxy fire starter will simplify the matter and make lighting your fire much easier. Instead of paying for fire starter logs or disks, you can make your own from common items around your house. Save money, recycle items that would otherwise go to the dump, and boost your fire making ability by making fire starters at home.
Things You'll Need
- Old candles
- Sawdust, lint or shredded paper
- Toilet paper or paper towel rolls
- Old metal can
Start 3 inches of water to boil in a large pot. Place an old metal can in the center of the pot and place chunks of old candles in the can. You can use new candle wax or paraffin wax if you have them on hand.
Decide on which medium you will use for your fire starters. You can use accumulated lint from dryers, shredded paper, wood chips or sawdust.
Place toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls on a cutting board or a piece of wax paper or foil. If you're using paper towel rolls, cut them in half.
Place the burning medium you've chosen into a plastic bowl and slowly pour a little wax over it. Mix with a fork. Repeat this process until your mixture is crumbly. Press some of the mix into your palm. If it stays together, its about right. Do not add to much wax. Different mediums will require different amounts of wax.
Spoon the mixture into the cardboard rolls and press the mix down using the end of a wooden spoon or a dowel. Stop and press every spoonful or two.
Add old or new potpourri to any of your mixture prior to adding the wax. It will make the finished product more attractive and may add a pleasant aroma when used.
Allow the mix to harden overnight. The next day you can slice the rolls into half-inch disks or leave them as entire rolls. A band saw will work well to cut the rolls, or you can use a serrated knife or a hacksaw.
Place your fire starter at the base of your charcoal or kindling pile and hold a flame to the fire starter until it catches on fire. It might take a while, as the roll will have soaked up a bit of wax.
Tips & Warnings
- If you notice a wax residue after you use a fire starter, you are using to much wax in your mixture.
- You can wrap your logs in old wrapping paper and tie them off with scraps of cotton twine or yarn. When you're ready to use one, simply light the wrapping paper. You can place the fire starters in a decorative basket near your fireplace or give them as gifts in the winter.
- The less air trapped in the fire starters the longer they will burn.
- Do not use wood shavings from treated lumber, as it contains arsenic and can be dangerous to inhale.
- Do not attempt to melt wax in your microwave. If wax reaches a certain heat it will combust.
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images
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