Friday, February 1, 2013

Making Fire Starters

One of the yearly chores I do this time of year is to make fire starters. My goal is to make enough to last the entire year. We use a lot of them. Chilly nights at home, camping in the spring and fall - anytime I need to start a fire, I reach for one of them. 

At our house, making fire starters isn't a one day project. Actually, I am making them throughout the year. It takes that long to collect the ingredients I need to make them. I start with lint from the dryer. It takes all year for me to collect a significant amount because I don't use the dryer that often. Most of the lint I collect is from my husband using the dryer. You can read about how to do that here. Not only do I collect lint in toilet paper rolls, but I also collect it in paper egg cartons.

When I collect a year's worth, I dip the lint-filled toilet paper rolls and egg cartons in wax. You can use these without the wax, but they burn longer and steadier once you coat them with wax. It also makes sense to waterproof them for emergencies and times when you need to start a fire in the rain. Dipping them in wax is very easy, but it can be a bit messy. I wanted to do this outside, but we were having severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings the day I made these, so I worked inside instead - I did have to use my electric stovetop to accomplish this task. I covered the counter with freezer paper to make clean up easy. In addition to the dryer lint, you will need wax, string and scissors.

Start with a small amount of water in a pot. You need a double boiler to melt the wax and I don't have one. I used my small soap pot instead. You will also need a container for melting the wax. I used a Christmas cookie tin. I have used this one for years. I leave the left over wax stored in it from year to year.

Put the container with the wax into the boiling water. Once I did that, I turned the heat down some to keep the boiling water from splashing around. 

After this wax started to melt, I added another pound of the Gulf Wax to the container and let that melt as well. Needless to say, please be careful, the melting wax gets very hot. If you touch it, it will stick to your skin and you can get burned. 

While the wax was melting, I prepared the paper rolls. I tied them with string to make dipping in the wax easier. Make the string long enough so you don't need to touch the hot wax. The string also makes lighting the starters easy. Here are the toilet paper rolls.

And here are the egg cartons. I cut the carton into individual pieces.

They don't have to look pretty, they just have to hold together so everything can be dipped in the wax and not fall apart. I dip one at a time so I don't make a mess. While holding the string, dip one and hold it under the melted wax (with a spoon, not your fingers) for a few seconds to let the wax penetrate both the lint and the paper.

When finished, hold the string up and let the wax drip back into the container.

When it stops dripping, place on a piece of wax paper or freezer paper to cool. 

When the fire starters are completely cool and the wax has hardened, store until needed! 
I store mine in a plastic bag with the newspaper logs in the garage.

Easy to do and costs very little money! Can't get more frugal than that!  

1 comment:

To help eliminate spam on this blog, your comment will be moderated.