Making Fire Starters

Making Fire StartersA campfire is essential in the great outdoors. While constructing the fire can be a fun task, there are times when lighting a fire and finding dry firewood are a hassle. By preparing a camping box with a few homemade fire starters, even novice campers can start campfires easily.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cotton balls
  • Petroleum jelly, unscented
  • Ruler
  • Zipping storage bags, snack sized
  • One egg carton
  • Collected dryer lint
  • Candles, recycled or new
  • Double boiler
  • Wax-covered boxes of various sizes
  • Scissors
Step 1
Make cotton ball fire starters by working petroleum jelly into cotton balls by kneading with the fingers. The cotton balls need to be fully saturated in order to work effectively. Once cotton balls are prepared, place them in snack-sized zip bags or other waterproof containers. To start a fire, place the cotton ball under kindling. Although matches can be used to light cotton balls, a stick or wand lighter can be used for safety.
Step 2
Make recycled-box fire starters by taking wax-covered boxes and cartons and cutting them into 1-inch by 3-inch strips. Place in zipping bags or in another waterproof container if desired. Place wax strips in a radiating circle under the camp fire; four to five wax strips will work for the average-sized campfire ring.
Step 3
Make fire starters out of recycled dryer lint. First, roll the lint into golf-ball-sized balls. Then, place the lint balls into the compartments of an empty egg carton.

Prepare wax by taking old candles and placing them in the top of a double boiler. Fill the bottom saucepan with water according to the cookware manufacturer's instructions. Place double boiler over low to medium heat, watching the wax carefully so that it melts slowly. Use caution to avoid drips and burns. Once the wax is melted, spoon it over each lint ball, covering the top completely. Once the wax-topped balls are completely cooled, place them in zippered snack bags or store them in a waterproof container.
Step 4
Check each batch of fire starters to be sure that they work before packing them for a trip or hike.

Tips & Warnings

Always use caution around open flames
Do not test fire starters inside the home
Always use fire starters in the outdoors
Wax can catch fire easily when heating, so use caution

Article Written By Kendall Olsen

Kendall Olsen has been writing for more than 20 years She is a University of Missouri-St. Louis Gateway Writing Project Fellow and has published instructional materials with the McDonald Publishing Company. Olsen holds an Ed.S. in educational technology, an M.Ed. in secondary English curriculum and instruction, a B.S. in elementary education and a B.A. in art history.

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