- Dryer Lint or Cotton Balls
- Used Egg Carton
- Wax (Store Bought or from Used Candles)
Unlike my noble ancestors, fire starting has always been a little difficult for me. One day I will visit one of Cody Lundin’s survival classes and figure out how that man manages to start a fire in a rain forest – but I digress. For the rest of us fire starters can be life savers. Just like everything else in emergency preparedness you can go to the store and buy someone else’s marked up version of a fire starter OR you can save the cash and make your own!
My favorite part of this particular DIY project is that it costs next to nothing. After the most disappointing waste of $40 I spent on FiredUp! fire starter I realized the wisdom in the saying “the more it costs the less it works”. These fire starters are phenomenally better than the store bought fire starters I’ve played with and two out of the three supplies you will already have on hand. The third you can get for under $5. So let’s get started:
For the supplies, you’re going to need the old lint from your dryer, an egg carton and some wax. In this tutorial I use old candles I had lying around in my house. These candles never see the light of day so why not turn them into something more useful? You can also use broken crayons your kids have trashed or just stop by your local hobby supply store and get their meltable candle wax beads.
Step One: Tear Off the Lid to Your Egg Carton
That was hard.
Step Two: Fill Each Egg Depression with Lint or Cotton
Step Three: Melt the Wax
Candles In Glass Jars
These are the best because you don’t need to transfer the wax to another container. Just put your pot of cool water on the stove on medium-high. Place the glass-contained candles in the water so that they are at least half way covered in the water. As the water heats up the wax will melt. Be sure to add the jars to the COOL water ,however, if you put them straight into boiling water they may crack and you could lose all of that precious wax.
Candles Without Covers
These require a little more work in that you’ll have to cut up the candle into smaller pieces, remove the wick and place into a used can (you can use a regular pot but why ruin a perfectly good piece of cookware when you’ve got used cans). Place the can in the boiling water and allow the wax to melt.
TIP: You may have to use some sort of weight on top of the can to keep it from floating and tipping in the water. In the picture below you’ll see I just used the top of one of my glass candles to hold it down in the water.
Wax Beads / Loose Wax
If you went to the store to buy your wax or have loose crayons and such, just fill up a used can with the wax and heat as described in the “candles without covers” section above.
Step Four: Pour & Harden Wax
Place your egg carton over a piece of parchment paper and pour the wax over the lint or cotton. It can be a little tricky to pour the wax so just spoon on the wax to touch up exposed areas. Place the egg carton in your refrigerator for fast solidification. You can keep it out in room temperature if you’d like it will just take longer to harden.
Step Five: Separate the Starters
You can easily tear off each of your new fire starters once they have solidified. Each of these can be used independently as a fire starter and will stay lit with a 5 inch flame for upwards of 10 to 15 minutes each.
I absolutely love this project for so many reasons. It’s cheap, necessary, easy, affective and fast. Take an afternoon and just go crazy on these. You can whip out dozens in no time at all and at virtually no cost to you. Just stock up on those egg cartons and lint, throw on some music and let that emergency preparedness goodness flow right on through you.