Easy DIY Firestarters - Consumer Files

5 Easy DIY Firestarters You Can Make At Home

In Sports & Outdoors by Consumer Files2 CommentsLast Updated: June 17th, 2020

DIY firestarters are a simple item that can help to get a flame going when you need to start a fire quickly or when conditions make it difficult. While high humidity and rain can often interfere in the process, using a fire starter can ensure you have a roaring blaze in short order -- perfect when you need to warm up or cook up a hot meal. They’re compact and are great to have with you when camping or just in case when out in the wilderness.

We’ve got five easy DIY fire starters that you can make at home and have finished and ready to go in just an hour. Most of that time, too, will simply be waiting for these simple firestarters to harden and dry.

We’ve also got some alternatives that are perfect for homesteaders and those who pride themselves on their self-sufficiency. Whether you live in remote rural areas or an apartment in a city, there are a number of options for you to choose from when it comes to making fire starters at home.

Egg Carton DIY Firestarters

There are two versions of this fire starter. Both require the same materials but have a different technique. We’ll discuss both in detail. It’s important to note that these fire starters won’t light from a spark, so be sure to have matches or a lighter on hand to light these.

Materials Needed:

Double Boiler DIY Fire Starters - Consumer Files

Double boiler (an old coffee can in a pot of water works fine)

DIY Paper Egg Carton Fire Starter - Consumer Files

Paper egg carton

DIY Firestarters Dryer Lint - Consumer Files

Dryer lint, sawdust, or shredded paper

DIY Firestarters Wax - Consumer Files

Wax (e.g. old candles stubs or burned up container candles, canning wax, paraffin wax, etc.)

DIY Firestarters Wax Paper - Consumer Files

Wax Paper

This is one of our favorite DIY fire starters. It uses the most wax out of any of the methods listed here. However, each fire starter produces a large flame that burns for 10 to 15 minutes. That’s plenty of time to get a good fire going -even if you have to dry out damp kindling first.

Steps

Egg Carton FireStarter - Consumer Files Blog
  • To begin, melt your wax in the double boiler. Old container candles that still have wax in them but have the wicks burned up can simply be placed into the water, then removed and have the wax poured out of them and into your coffee can of wax stubs. This lets you finally recycle those jars and puts the wax to good use. It doesn’t matter what kind of wax you use, and later we’ll discuss some alternatives to wax that you can use and still get great results.
  • Remove the lid from the egg carton. It’s crucial that you have a pressed paper egg carton and not Styrofoam -you will not get the same results. Place the bottom of the egg carton onto the wax paper. This will serve to catch any wax that spills off or seeps through the egg carton.
  • Fill each egg compartment with dryer lint (or sawdust or shredded paper.) Each compartment should be filled roughly even with the top of the compartment.
  • Pour the melted wax onto each compartment, taking care not to let it run over and off of the egg carton. The wax should soak into the lint/sawdust or thoroughly cover the shredded paper.
  • Allow it to sit for an hour so that the wax can cool and harden all the way through.
  • Cut or tear the individual compartments apart.

Variation

Once each egg compartment is filled with dryer lint, sawdust, or shredded paper, tear or cut them apart. Fold in the corners at the top of each compartment so that it covers the lint. Tie the compartment closed with string, twine, dental floss, whatever is convenient.

Holding each compartment by the string, dip it into the melted wax until it is thoroughly coated and the wax has a chance to seep in through the egg carton a bit. Set on wax paper and allow at least an hour for the wax to cool and harden. You can leave the string attached or remove it; it makes no difference to the efficacy of these DIY firestarters.


Cotton Pad Fire Starters

This method uses cotton make up remover pads that you can find in the beauty supply section of your local dollar store. You should be able to find packs of about a hundred for a dollar.

Materials Needed

Double Boiler DIY Fire Starters - Consumer Files

Double boiler (an old coffee can in a pot of water works fine)

diy-firestarters-cotton-makeup-removers-consumer-files-blog

Cotton make up remover pads

DIY Firestarters Wax - Consumer Files

Wax (e.g. old candles stubs or burned up container candles, canning wax, paraffin wax, etc.)

DIY Firestarters Wax Paper - Consumer Files

Wax Paper

Steps

  • Get your double boiler going and melt the wax.
  • When the wax is fully melted, reduce the heat to just warm enough to keep the wax melted.
  • Dip the cotton pads into the wax then set onto the wax paper.
  • Allow them at least half an hour to dry.

Cotton Ball DIY firestarters

This is by far the fastest and easiest fire starter to make in this list.

Materials Needed

DIY Firestarters Cotton Balls - Consumer Files

Cotton Balls

DIY Firestarters Petroleum Jelly - Consumer Files

Petroleum Jelly

Steps

  • Simply take the cotton balls and thoroughly coat them in the petroleum jelly.
  • They don’t need any time to dry and can be stored or used immediately.

Corrugated Cardboard Fire StarteR

Materials Needed

Double Boiler DIY Fire Starters - Consumer Files

Double boiler (an old coffee can in a pot of water works fine)

DIY Firestarters Corrugated Cardboard - Consumer Files

Corrugated Cardboard (old boxes, etc.)

DIY Firestarters Wax - Consumer Files

Wax (e.g. old candles stubs or burned up container candles, canning wax, paraffin wax, etc.)

DIY Firestarters Wax Paper - Consumer Files

Wax Paper

Steps

  • While your wax melts in the double boiler, cut the cardboard into strips about 2 inches by 3 inches long. Be sure to use corrugated cardboard and not paperboard, like from cereal boxes.
  • Once the wax is melted, dip the cardboard strips into the wax, leaving a small section wax free for easier lighting.
  • Set onto the wax paper and allow roughly 30 minutes to dry.

Toilet Paper Tube DIY Fire starter

Materials Needed

Double Boiler DIY Fire Starters - Consumer Files

Double boiler (an old coffee can in a pot of water works fine)

DIY Firestarters Toilet Paper Tubes - Consumer Files Blog

Toilet paper tubes (paper towel tubes work well, too)

DIY Firestarters Dryer Lint - Consumer Files

Dryer lint, sawdust, or shredded paper

DIY Firestarters Wax - Consumer Files

Wax (e.g. old candles stubs or burned up container candles, canning wax, paraffin wax, etc.)

DIY Firestarters Wax Paper - Consumer Files

Wax Paper

Steps

  • Melt the wax using your double boiler set up.
  • As it melts, cut the toilet paper tubes into thirds. If using larger paper towel tubes, cut them into five or six pieces.
  • Set the paperboard rings onto the wax paper and fill each with dryer lint or sawdust.
  • When the wax has melted, pour the melted wax into each ring. Be sure to coat the lint or sawdust thoroughly.
  • Allow at least an hour for the wax to cool thoroughly and harden.

Alternatives to Wax

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing wax and each will produce great results for your fire starters:  

  • Old candle stubs
  • Wax remnants from container candles.
  • Cheap candles from thrift stores.
  • Canning wax.
  • Blocks of paraffin wax.
  • Broken crayon bits. 

But if you’re looking for something different, whether it be a more environmentally friendly option or something that you can get from your homestead or the wilderness, there are even more options available to you.

DIY Firestarters Used Cooking Oil - Consumer Files Blog

Used Cooking Oil

DIY Firestarters Bacon Grease - Consumer Files Blog

Bacon Grease

DIY Firestarters Tallow - Consumer Files Blog

Tallow

DIY Firestarters Pinyon Pine Resin - Consumer Files Blog

Pinyon Pine Resin

While it is a bit messier, you can use old cooking oil or bacon grease in place of the wax. Another option is to use tallow which, thanks to its higher melting temperature and hard set consistency, is a far less messy option that works just as well as any wax.

Should you live in pinyon pine country, you can easily gather a couple of pounds of pinyon pine resin in just an hour. This pine resin can easily be melted down (use an old can -you’ll never get your double boiler clean) and produces a fragrant fire starter.

Storing and Using your Fire Starters

For convenience and reliability, your fire starters should be stored in airtight containers with no more than three fire starters per container. Plastic freezer bags work well, as do vacuum sealed bags. Alternatively, you can also place some of the smaller fire starters, such as the ones made with cotton pads or cotton balls, into empty plastic medicine bottles and then store in a plastic zip-close bag. That will provide you additional protection against moisture.

DIY firestarters Conclusion

These fire starters are as simple to make as they are useful, economical, and a great item to have in your backup supplies. They’re also great to have on hand when camping or hiking, as part of your emergency supplies. The larger of these DIY firestarters will burn up to 15 minutes while the smaller ones will burn for up to five. This gives you plenty of time to get a larger fire going even in high humidity or lightly raining conditions.

Got your own method? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!​ 🙂

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5 Easy DIY Firestarters You Can Make At Home was last modified: June 17th, 2020 by Consumer Files
  • lynn says:

    When using the cotton rounds, after dipping them in melted wax and while they are still wet, lay a small piece of left over wick on the top leaving a little hanging over. This makes lighting VERY easy.