Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tutorial: Fire Starter

In a desire to save money and do something better for the environment, I researched fire starters for the upcoming winter season. It is getting cold where we live and we're planning to do a lot of fires this winter, but don't want to buy fire starters. So after looking for ideas, here is what I came up with - something that is easy to do using materials you can find in your own home.

- cardboard egg cartons
- parrafin wax (canning wax)
- dryer lint
- mulch (saw dust, dry leaves, tiny sticks)
*Optional: coloring and liquid fragrance

Start by laying out all of your materials, then begin melting the wax on the stove using a double boiler method. I used 2 pans that I already had set aside for wax, but you can also melt the wax in a large tin can in order to save your pans and hold the can with plyers. Be careful not to burn yourself. The wax takes a few minutes to melt. *At this point you can add coloring or fragrance to the wax as desired.

While waiting for the wax to melt (it will take a few min.), fill the compartments of the egg carton(s) with the dryer lint and mulch. The dryer lint is great to top the cups off with because it packs the other materials down well. 

All that is left is the pour the wax into each egg compartment filling them as much as you can. All of the materials you put in the egg carton are highly combustible and burn quickly. The wax slows the burn of the fire starter, giving the wood time to catch fire.

Allow the wax to dry and cool. I recommend setting the cartons on a paper towel on a surface that the wax won't damage if it soaks through. Once cool they are ready to use by simply tearing off one or two of the egg cups to put in the fireplace or fire pit and lighting. If you want it to look nicer or to give as a gift, put 1-2 of the cups in a plain paper sack and tie with cotton string. This entire thing can be put in the fire, so the bag does not have to be opened. 

Be warm and safe!

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