How Do I Make My Own Fire Starter?

How Do I Make My Own Fire Starter?Fire starters can be made from anything that will catch fire quickly and burn long enough to ignite other materials. Natural materials such as teasel or thistle heads have long, dry stems. If they are dipped in an accelerant such as wax, grease or alcohol, they will ignite under nearly any condition.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Dried thistle or teasel heads with stems at least six inches long
  • Old candle stubs, wax chips, broken crayons or paraffin chunks
  • Empty family-size metal soup can
  • Two-quart saucepan or metal baking dish
  • Water
  • Heat source such as propane stove or camp fire
  • Wax paper-covered cookie sheets
Step 1
Collect dried teasel or thistle heads by cutting where the stem meets the rest of the plant. Teasel and thistle are dry by mid-September in the U.S. Midwest. Hang your teasel or thistle upside down in a warm, dry place if the plant still has any green on it.
Step 2
Fill a two-quart saucepan or metal baking dish halfway with water. Place on stove or over a banked campfire. Turn stove on low.
Step 3
Fill empty family-size soup can three-quarters full with old candle stubs, wax chips, broken crayons or paraffin chunks.
Step 4
Place soup can in center of saucepan or baking-dish water bath. Allow wax to melt until liquefied.
Step 5
Dip teasel or thistle heads into wax, including up to half the stem if it will fit in the can. Lay dipped starters on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet to cool. Melt more wax as needed to keep level of liquid wax in the soup can at three-quarters full.

Tips & Warnings

This method is a variant of the pine cone fire starter.
Do not attempt to melt wax directly over a flaming or roaring fire. Always use a double boiler or other two-stage method.

Article Written By Jane Smith

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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