Projects, summer

DIY fire-starters

May 31, 2015

It’s camp fire season. Maybe that means packing up the car and pitching a tent. Or, you might simply be heading out your back door and cleaning out the fire-pit. Either way… sparks will fly.

If you want those sparks to turn to flames though, these fire starters are a must-make. With just a few supplies that you likely have around the house, these summer staples are nearly free and work as well as any store-bought starter.


You’ll need :

paper egg carton

dryer lint (you can also use sawdust)

paraffin or wax (beeswax if that’s what you have left from a recent diy)

twine (optional)


Collect your dryer lint. A couple loads worth is plenty. Cut the top off of your egg carton.

Melt the paraffin over a double boiler. This is a great way to recycle old candles or wax rings around your votives.


While your wax is melting, stuff each container with lint, pressing firmly to fill.

Place your egg carton over wax paper or newspaper in case any wax should leak through the carton.



Once your wax is melted, carefully pour into each compartment. Distribute the wax evenly, and so that the lint is covered.


When the wax has hardened and cooled, cut the carton to divide the compartments into individual cups.


Fold the corners over eachother. Tie with twine to secure… or just to make them look like perfect little fire-starting presents.

To use, light the twine or any unwaxed area of carton.

The lint catches fire quickly, and the wax slows the burn time. These starters will burn for 15-20 minutes – plenty of time to light your firewood and fuel your fire.

Keep these starters for campfires all season long. Or, pair them with s’more supplies for a perfect summer hostess gift!

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  • Reply Crayola June 25, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Could you use old crayons as the wax source?

    • Reply June 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Definitely! That’s a great idea, and would make your starters even more fun and colorful. Red, white, and blue for the fourth? I might have to give that a try myself!

  • Reply FloridaGrandma June 25, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    We used to use dryer lint 30 years ago to make fire starters for Girl Scout camping, but then Congress passed laws that say that children’s sleepwear and many other items must be treated chemically to be less flammable or non-flammable. Now the lint from dryers in households with children will sometimes not burn.

    • Reply June 26, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Thanks for the heads up! If you’re concerned about less flammable lint, saw dust is a great alternative. Or, collect the lint after drying loads of towels (when there will also be plenty of it) to make sure your starters light right away. We used them last night for a backyard s’more session and were impressed with how well they worked to start a good size fire even after a rain shower earlier that evening.

  • Reply Katie June 29, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I love these! Simple, easy, and it makes a bunch. A great way to pass the summer days. I made these while out of school, and it it was worth it. I’ve always had trouble with restarting fires so it was a great project. The only issue I had was when I’d pour the wax into the egg cartons, I would have just a little bit too much. Obviously you can’t pour it back in and I was stuck with one without wax that I didn’t know what to do with. If there was anything I would change, it’s that I would recommend getting out a tablespoon and spooning one into each and going over the batch until the wax is all gone. Other than that, this was a total success!

    • Reply June 30, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Hi Katie!
      I’m so glad you made the starters and had success! I’m making another batch this week, and tying them with red, white, and blue dyed twine for the fourth. I was initially nervous about the same issue you had to begin with as well. I ended up just under-filling each compartment and then going back to refill them each evenly until the wax was gone.
      Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Jim March 21, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Believe it or not, fine steel wool works the same way and you can start a fire with a flashlight battery. Shorting the battery in the steel wool will generate enough heat to ignite the wax. Cool way to impress the younger set-a hidden wire pair, one end embedded in the wax impregnated steel wool in the fire pit, the other to touch top and bottom of a battery while standing behind the onlookers. Magic!

  • Reply James Tanis April 3, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    We were eager beavers to go camping and tried your fire starters last night. They really worked well. I brought some that were just dryer lint in TP rolls, but they just burned up too fast. Thanks for the great tip!

    • Reply April 4, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Thanks James, I’m so glad they worked well for you! I think my favorite thing about them is that they let you keep your outdoor plans when weather may have put an end to them otherwise. We’ve kept a fire pit going with them even after a rainy day. Happy camping season!

  • Reply Nicole May 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Would wax from a scentsy burner work? Any kind of wax?

    • Reply May 27, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Hi Nicole,
      I’ve never used that wax (and I’m not really familiar with it) BUT, someone just commented on my Pinterest post that they used scentsy wax and it worked great! Really any kind of wax should work. It’s just used to slow down the burn time of the lint so that you have plenty of time to get a great fire started!
      Thanks for your question!


    • Reply Melissa August 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      If you do not plan to roast marshmallows or food over the fire u can use citronella candle wax to keep away bugs. We have mosquitos really bad in my area (live near a river) so fire alone isn’t enough. That is the only “scentsy” candle I have tried.

  • Reply Bron May 25, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Does the wax make a mess in the fire?

    • Reply May 27, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Hi Bron,
      Good question, and nope! I’ve never seen any wax residue left over at all. There isn’t a huge amount of wax on each starter, just enough to slow down the burning of highly flammable lint. And you really only need one starter (they burn for about 20 minutes) to get a good fire going.
      Hope you try it out!


  • Reply Virginia Raffin June 27, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Can I use these fire starters in the fire stove?

    • Reply Bobbie September 3, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      Yes. But I make mine with saw shavings from a chainsaw. I have been making these egg carton fire starters for several years. And they work wonderfully with our wood burning stove.

  • Reply sulainma September 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

    wow!!!! great idea!! I want to try it! thank u bella!!

  • Reply Jackie Ronnell October 31, 2017 at 5:44 am

    This is such a great idea! I’m gearing up for a road trip starting in South Africa and driving all the way to Tanzania, so little ideas like these that save me money and I can do myself are such a lifesaver! I’m wondering if vaseline would work in exchange for the wax? I’m currently in a really little village in South Africa and I don’t think coming across beeswax or parafin wax will be so easy, where as vaseline is kind of one of those drug store staples. Great post! Cheers!

    • Reply November 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Wow, that sounds like an adventure! I haven’t tried the vaseline as a replacement for the wax myself. But, I looked online for multiple reviews of that solution. It sounds like it will probably work too! The only suggestion was to use your fingers to apply the vaseline as opposed to putting the cotton directly into the container, as it will fall apart easily in the vaseline. I hope it works for you and would love to hear if it’s successful! Have a great trip!!

    • Reply Bryan January 4, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      Vaseline and cotton balls is a common firestarter. Smear it onto the cotten balls and then great to put in old plastic camera film (negative) containers. It burns faster and a bit hotter than wax, though, so have the kindling and wood ready to go. Missing SA – beautiful place – be safe, my friend!

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