Super Cheap Firestarters

Ahh.  It’s finally campfire season!  While I would almost always choose to hang out in the air-conditioned comfort of my living room, I LOVE me a campfire.  It’s the one anomaly in my “indoorsy” personality.  My husband and I used some gift cards and saved up money to buy a small firepit and some camp chairs for our yard, and last night we had our inaugural fire.
To make sure the first fire didn’t fizzle, I made up some super cheap firestarters yesterday afternoon.  Chances are you might have all the necessary elements for these firestarters in your house right now!
To make Super Cheap Firestarters, you will need:
a pot
a large metal can, like a coffee can
dixie cups or a pressed paper egg carton
dryer lint
Before we get started, the Ick Factor of the photos of this project is higher than usual, so if you are squeamish, you might want to just buy some pre-made firestarters at the store!
You will be melting your wax in a makeshift double-boiler on your stove.  Fill a pot about 2/3 full with water and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat slightly.  Put your wax in the metal can.  I was lazy and just bought a cheap pillar candle at Wally World, but you can make use of any old candle stubs and mostly empty jar candles you have by throwing them all in the can.  Let the wax melt completely.
Line up your dixie cups on an old piece of cardboard or a plastic shopping bag.  You can also use a pressed paper egg carton as the base for your firestarters.  I, of course, only had styrofoam egg cartons so I had to buy the cups.  (Burning styrofoam releases NASTY fumes, so you only want to use the pressed paper egg cartons).
Then you bust out this stuff.  (Sorry for the gross picture, but I warned you!)
I bet you have just been carelessly throwing your dryer lint away all these years.  Well, STOP!  Think about it.  Why do you clean out the lint trap?  Because it’s a crazy bad fire hazard, right?  When you want to start a raging campfire, crazy bad fire hazards are just what you want!
So, either save up your dryer lint for a few weeks, or go door to door around your neighborhood asking for donations.
Although that second option might make your neighbors think you are unstable, and then they will probably call the cops on you when they see you playing with fire.
So just save up your lint, mkay?
Shove a good amount into each dixie cup or egg carton compartment.  By now, hopefully your wax is good and melty.
Carefully (HOT WAX, PEOPLE), remove the metal can from the water, and pour wax into each of the cups.  Wax will probably spill and/or leak through the cups, which is why you put down the cardboard or plastic.  Forethought is handy.
Let them harden and VOILA!  Super Cheap Firestarters all set for the big campfire!
Light up the edge of the cup with a lighter and place the firestarter in your firepit.  Build the fire over the firestarter.  Either the log cabin or teepee strategy is permitted.  If you have dry enough wood, you might not even need kindling.
Of course, we did not have dry enough wood, so we had to shove some newspaper in there too.  Murphy’s law.
The firestarters last for a good 10 minutes, so your fire should have ample time to get burning. 
BTW, I call this wood arrangement the “Modified-Log-Cabin-Why-Won’t-This-Freakin-Wood-Burn” strategy.  It’s only effective when accompanied by plenty of frustrated muttering.
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  1. says

    haha, i have seen this tip one other time and as such, have a huge bag of dryer lint and a few egg cartons waiting and ready-crafty minds think alike!! :)

  2. says

    Ummmm, ok, the MacGuyver factor on this is through the ROOF! Are you a genius or what?!?!?!?!? Does it smell good when it burns? Like dryer sheets? Sorry…I just have to know lol.

  3. says

    This is gross. And brilliant! Where do you come up with these amazing ideas? Will you let me borrow your brain for a few hours someday?Jenny @

  4. Annmarie says

    Could you use melted crayons for the wax? I have tons of junky crayon bits I'm trying to use up for something…

  5. says

    Annmarie, I have never tried using crayons, but I would imagine they would work. I would just be worried that they might leave a mess at the bottom of your firepit!

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