Tutorial: FREE, eco-friendly firepit starters!!! And a Garden Update…

I have a great tutorial for you today… the perfect thing to do outside, amidst your gorgeous summer garden?  Nighttime fire pit!

Nothing like a summer bonfire… under a full moon is even better!  I love hotdogs and smores cooked in an outdoor firepit on those nights when I don’t even want to *think* about cooking.

Add a sprinkler nearby, and you’ve got an instant summertime party.

The best part is that the firestarters are free, or near free.  I made about three dozen fire starters for exactly $0.00.

Perfect!  And reusing old containers before recycling them… priceless.

 

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.

 

 

Come back next week… because on Friday I have a yummy tutorial for my favorite grilled food… and you know what?  You could cook it on a skewer over a bonfire!  So make your firestarters now and we’ll meet up for a summer barbeque next Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, now for the garden updae.  I hope that your gardens are coming along… have you had good luck with your seedlings?  Did any of you use Baker Creek Heirloom seeds?  I’ve had great luck with them… everything except my tomatoes.

 

But that isn’t Baker Creek’s fault, it’s mine.  And I actually am glad for the lesson I learned this year, because I love learning new things.  I learned what not to do next year (do not start my tomato seeds outside from day 1… even if they are in my recycled container greenhouses… I guess tomato seedlings really need a warm soil, and the overnight temps stunted them) and I know what to do — just what Elaina did with her Baker Creek tomato seeds… start them inside until they grow to get their second set of true leaves.

 

Here is the proof:

 

My tomato seedlings, which I finally just went ahead and transplanted into my garden this weekend, despite their small size.  I planted these seeds way back in March, can you believe it????  I still have hope that they will bear lots of fruit, and I’ll keep you posted!

 

 

The lovely tomato seedling Elaina gave me… thanks Elaina!  It’s growing so well!  She planted it from the same seed company at the same time, back in March.  The difference?  She kept her seedlings inside to keep them warm…

 

But everything else in my garden is growing like wild!!!

 

 

Lettuce growing like crazy!

 

 

Huge yellow and orange carrots!  I planted them just like the lettuce… by sprinkling lightly all over the garden beds… I didn’t use row or space them out, don’t thin them except for the ones we eat!  It took literally 3 minutes to sprinkle them all over and then water.  This style works for me, the simpler the better, and the overwhelming quantity of produce tends to keep weeds to a minimum!

 

 

 

My guineas love the carrots too!

 

 

Cukes…

 


…with baby cukes growing all over.  These are the Japanese Long cucumbers.

 

 

Corn… popcorn, actually!

 

 

blueberries ripening

 


nectarines all over the trees…

 

 

although… one of our trees have leaves that look like this.  It doesn’t seem to be affecting the fruit, but it looks like something is eating the leaves.  I don’t see any caterpillars or other bugs on the tree… any advice???

 

If you know what the heck is going on with my nectarine tree, or if you are giving my fire starters a try, or if you would be so kind as to share with my how your garden is doing, I’d love to hear from you!  Have a great weekend… xoxo


  1. Laura,
    I am so glad I ordered the Baker Creek seeds…my rocky top lettuce is growing outrageously! I didn’t plant very much of that this year, but next year I will triple it! The cucumbers, carrots and strawberry popcorn are also doing very well…will definitely use them again next season! Glad to see you have so many carrots without thinning them out. My kids “little hands” sprinkled sooooo many carrot seeds close together and I have no room to thin them out so I was worried they wouldn’t grow well, but they seem to be…

    S

    • Love that Rocky top lettuce!!! I can’t eat enough salads to keep up with it!!! Thanks for your garden update, my friend! Xoxo

  2. Awesome idea for the fire starter! You always have great ideas to share. We’ve been saving lint for some time but the wax is such a good idea to hold it together. Thanks!!

  3. OH!!! Your garden is spectacular!!! What fun and joy!!! I love it!!! Thanks so much for sharing those beautiful photos!!! What made me even happier than the photos was hearing about the sprinkling of the carrot seeds!!! YAY FOR YOU!!! LOVE IT!!! :)

  4. Another super easy fire starter (we use it all the time in Girl Scouts) – take crayons – broken pieces work well (if small line up a few in one fire starter) and wrap up in a piece of wax paper twisting the ends so it looks like a tootsie roll. Then when you go to use place them in your pile of wood in fire pit so an end sticks out and light that end. They work very well.

    • Julia, that’s awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome and easy idea for firestarters!!! Xoxo, Laura

  5. Brilliant firestarters! It always bothers me to toss a handful of lint into the wastebasket but I couldn’t think of anything to use it for. Thanks!

    Apparently, according to a prof of mine, sage smoke has antibacterial properties, too, which is one of the reasons it’s used for smudging ceremonies. Mosquito-repellent, too? Three cheers for ancient knowledge!

  6. … Something similar happened to my mom’s lylac tree. It seems that there is a kind of beetle that hides itself under the soil by day and by night it munches the leaves. You should ask your garden-stuff-supplier (sorry I’m SP) to see whether they can give you a solution…