Ever wanted to know how to make fire starters?
This is a fun little project for a rainy or cold day, any day. You just need a paper egg carton, wax and dryer lint. Takes an hour from from start to finish to make them, and only about 10 minutes of your time. (Your wax will be cooling most of this time) Making fire starters is pretty cool, and I needed some motivation to get my laundry done, anyway. Two birds, one stone. These light amazingly well. I never knew dryer lint would do that! Be sure to check out my burn test at the end of this post. Awesome stuff.
Why would you want to make these fire starters?
Recently, I was camping, and having trouble getting a fire started, due to the humidity and rain. I was sure glad I had some of the egg carton fire starters in my bag. Way better than matches or a pile of kindling, the wax and dryer lint combo really helps your fire stay going. I also did a burn test with just these fire starters. Keep reading to see how long they stay lit.
Here’s what you’ll need for making fire starters:
- Dryer Lint: You should know what this is. Any variety will do.
- Paper Egg Carton: The size of the egg carton does not matter. It can be a dozen, a carton that holds 18, or even more. You want to make sure it is the kind made out of pressed paper, not styrofoam or some other material you might buy eggs in.
- Wax: We highly recommend using the wax from old candles and putting it to good use, but you can also buy paraffin wax or beeswax online or in stores (Note: it’s much cheaper to buy big candles for this project. the wax does not have to be food grade.) You can also use leftover broken crayons, we like to use all those restaurant crayons that end up with no home.
Eat some eggs and do some laundry
First, get your egg carton and set it aside. and collect your dryer lint by cleaning off the lint trap of your dryer. I just stored mine in a pile until I thought I had enough. This did not take long. I finally wanted to do laundry because I was going to get to do something cool, not just fold clothes. Amazing!
Stuff the dryer lint in the egg carton.
Next, stuff the dryer lint in the egg carton in the little holes where your eggs were. Do not stuff it in too tight. You want the wax to penetrate the dryer lint so it will burn really well.
Melt your wax.
Set up a double boiler to melt your wax. You need a pot with water in it, and a can or jar of some kind- soup cans and mason hars both work great. Basically, you need a metal or glass container that will fit inside your pot of water with room to spare around it, preferably one that you can throw away later, and not have to clean wax out of. I recommend not using one of your favorite pots, either. The pot will clean, but you will likely end up with some wax in it.
Put your wax in the can and the can in the pot of water and heat the water. The wax will melt inside the can. Alternately, melt your old candles right in the glass candle holder. You may need to do this with more than one, though. Guess that depends how big your candle is and how much wax you have left. It was much easier than scraping the wax out of the glass, though.
Pour wax into egg carton on top of dryer lint.
When the wax is melted, pour it onto the lint in the egg carton. Use a hot pad or towel so you do not burn yourself on the can or jar. I wrapped a dish towel around mine, which worked perfectly. You’ll want to put your egg carton on something that the wax can leak through onto (like waxed paper, foil or piece of cardboard, basically something you don’t mind getting wax on) Some of the wax will soak through the egg carton, be prepared. Start with a little wax in each one to make sure you have enough wax to cover all your dryer lint babies. When you’re finished, let your fire starters cool and harden.
Let your homemade fire starters cool.
Come on, are you that impatient? I do have to admit I was. Let the wax cool for at least 45 minutes before you go on to the next step. Seriously. Otherwise, you are going to get wax all over your scissors. Trust me.
Cut them apart to store, or just keep as it.
You can leave them all together in the shape of an egg carton and then tear them off one at a time, or tear them all apart and store them separately. They won’t light with a spark, so you’ll need matches or a lighter to get them burning. Throw some in your emergency kit, car kit, camping kit, whatever else kit you have that has matches in it. In our fire test, one of these little babies burned for 17 minutes and put out a good flame sufficient for even fire novices to get something burning with!
When you need them, light them!
Anyone want to come fold my laundry now? 🙂
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