Temps are dipping into the cold near-freezing numbers at night here in SC, and instead of turning on my heat, we’ve been having lovely evening fires to heat the house.
So that means, starting a fire. Which can sometimes be frustrating, but not so when you have a fabbo, eco-friendly, completely free, made from stuff lying around your home fire starter on hand!
I originally published this tutorial last May, and I’ve been using my firestarters like crazy. So I thought this would be the perfect time to re-post… enjoy!!! xoxo, Laura
Ready to get started? Here we go!
Totally Free Fire Starters for your Summertime Firepit!
1. Gather wax. I happened to have a large block of beeswax that I incorrectly purchased thinking it was beeswax beads, so I was thrilled to use it on this project. I also gathered all my old half used beeswax candles and drizzles from old candles.
You can use anything wax… the idea is to recycle any old wax from your home. Old paraffin wax off of canned items, old candle stubs, even old crayons… anything wax works.
Old candle drippings from all my voltive containers. You can soften these in your microwave… or if you don’t have a microwave, you can just soften the wax by setting the containers in an inch or two of hot water.
2. Take all of your collected wax and melt in a glass jar or container in several inches of water. Do not let the water come to a full boil, just let the wax melt slowly. As the wax melts, you can collect all of your firestarter items.
3. Gather your firestarter items. Anything flammable works. See this fire hazard in my laundry room? I always keep the lint from the lint trap to use as a quick fire starter… looks like it’s time to use up some of my stash! I grabbed a bunch of this, but if you don’t have lint, you can use ANYTHING flammable.
Old junk mail, shredded up… bits of torn paper or newspaper, pinecones, dried out leaves from your yard, small twigs that you snap into little pieces… the point is to use anything you already have and not spend a single dime. Eco-friendly repurposing at it’s best!
I had this on hand too… they are wood… do you recognize it? It is UNUSED kitty litter pellets. We changed kitty litter systems, and these pellets don’t work with it. So… instead of tossing them, I knew they would make the perfect… free… fire starters!
3. Assemble your firestarter molds. Here is what mine wound up looking like… I experimented with several different styles. All using recycled containers… I’ve been saving plastic containers that I was going to recycle anyway… you can use pie plates, old foil trays, lids, cupcake liners, ice cube trays, egg cartons (and the cool thing about egg cartons is you can just cut the carton up, leaving the cardboard shell on the firestarters… they will be easier to light and enhance the firestarters!)
I poured some of the unused kitty litter wood pellets into a plastic tray lid… I used some cupcake liners on others… and in others I just put the lint right into the compartments. They all turned out perfectly!
4. Keep stirring your melting wax occasionally. If you want to, you can add some essential oils to provide extra fragrance to your burning fire. I happened to have some fir needle EO on hand, so I added a bit.
If you don’t have any, I wouldn’t spend any money getting some for this purpose… after all, fires smell great as is!
6. Pour the melted wax gently over your fire starter molds. Take your time to avoid spills. My wax was black because of the black candle I melted in the pot.
If you like a bit of color, you can add any color crayon you have on hand and it will color your wax nicely! You don’t need to totally fill the molds… just pour on enough wax to hold the items together. A drizzle on each is plenty!
7. Here is what my turned out to look like. The *kitty litter* firestarters I just took out of the plastic tray in one big sheet (and plan to reuse the plastic tray indefinitely!) and broke it with my hand into different sized chunks.
This is great, because you can break them into the size you need… and the irregular edges make lighting easier.
And here is what the cupcake lint firestarters look like. Cute!
So I played around with lighting them, and they both worked beautifully. I found that the lint firestarters lit more easily, but that the wood pellet firestarters yielded a stronger flame. Have fun creating your own unique combinations entirely out of old wax items and recyclable containers and shredded flammable.
So here is what I created, completely from items I already had in my home.
About three dozen fire starters to have on hand to use this summer at bonfires. This winter too, of course!
One more tip I have for summer firepits/bonfires is to throw a stick of sage into the fire. The sage scented smoke that the fire will emit keeps mosquitos and other annoying bugs at bay for the entire area. We love it. Usually the sage stick (show below) that we throw into our fire is enough, no need for bug sprays.