Quick and Easy Fire Starters

I came across these fire starters this week while sorting out our camping gear, and thought I should blog about them. Then I realized we already have–long, long ago: way back in 2006, when we were all young and innocent.

These little babies are made out of paper egg cartons, dryer lint and old candle stubs. Once lit, they burn long and mightily. I always keep one down at the bottom of my backpack, along with the first aid kit. They’re really handy for starting fires, especially for the fire-challenged, or to give you extra security when you’re working in difficult conditions. Best of all, they cost nothing, and take only a few minutes to make.

Read our original post for the how-to’s.

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  1. I am going to make some of these soon. In the winter months when we are running our wood stove I save the dryer lint to use in the stove because like you said it burns slow.But these little guys would be helpful not only in our backpacks but in the wood stove as well.

  2. Drier lint- what a great idea! I remember making these with sawdust when I was in the Brownies (boy, what that ever a long time ago- do they still have Brownies?), and I’ve thought about them often.

    But drier lint- genius!

  3. How about saving and using the cotton balls that come in otc medications and vitamins? I wonder if paper from a shredder would work.

    I made some firestarters about three years ago from an egg carton. The wax ran right through the dryer lint and the egg carton. It was a mess. If I had not put down newspaper first, my countertop would still be covered in wax! I must have missed something in the instructions because mine are like great globs of wax on the outside, not neat at all.

  4. @Parsimony: Hmmm…I don’t know what happened there. Not enough lint? The cups should be packed. Maybe too much wax too fast? Another trick is to put a little wax in the bottom of all the cups, let that set a bit, then come back and pour them full. That would keep soak through from happening, I think.

  5. Since dryer lint is basically fibers from whatever clothing is run through the machine, would it be important that the lint not be from synthetic (ie petroleum based) fabrics such as polyester and acrylic. I know it is bad to breathe fumes from burning plastic in an open fire. The same would probably be true of the “cotton” in medicine bottles – I’d check to make certain that it really is cotton and not synthetic

  6. We don’t have a drier either, and I made these out of old pot pourri and dried rosemary from the garden. Some of them had a candle stub in the bottom so you can light the wick.

    I didn’t melt the wax in one go. It would have been more efficient to, but it kept DS quiet for hours, dripping melted candle wax into egg boxes!!

    I saw some expensive BBQ lighters that were pretty much these with a pine cone on top, so I might set him to making some of those for the winter.

  7. fair warning, though this works extremely well, it may not be the best option if you have a lot of pets. Between my 2 dogs, 4 cats, and the stray long blonde hairs from my wife’s clothes, our dryer lint is probably 20% hair, which is does not always smell so great when mixed in with the burning tinder.

  8. I have been using dryer lint for year as emergency/bad weather tinder. Seeing as most of my cloths are synthetic and I have two cats in the house, a large percentage of my lint is cat hair and fibers from petroleum based fabric. Other comments have raised concerns over both of these “lint additives” as being “smelly” and creating harmful fumes. When creating a campfire, the risk of smelling burning cat hair for 10 minutes or inhaling toxic fumes is neutralized by standing up-wind of the fire…which is what anyone with any common sense is doing anyway.

    These things burn wonderfully long and have been a saving grace during long wet Northwest trips. There is no need to nitpick insignificant drawbacks to a almost perfect and free inovation.

    BTW-Anyone who thinks that burning a few grams of polyester is THAT bad for the environment needs to take a break from the internet for awhile and go camping.

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  10. Would this work with tarts after you’re done burning them? I didn’t know if there’s something in them that would make them burn different or not?

    • What a great idea! I don’t see why the wax from the tarts wouldn’t work. It is still wax. I will have to try that.

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