Introduction: How to Make AMAZING Fire Starters (BoyScout Style)

Picture of How to Make AMAZING Fire Starters (BoyScout Style)

I have been making fire starters for years now, and they have never proved me wrong. The way I make them is the most economic, and environmentally friendly way out their. (That I know of)

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

The items you will need for making these AMAZING fire starters are:
1+ paper egg carton
# any old wax candles or surplus wax
an old pan that you will only be using for this
Kindling (box of sawdust, dryer Lint, etc.)
Large sheet of Wax paper
Scissors ( only if using 2.5 Dozen egg carton)
Source of Heat ( Stove top, hot plate, etc.)

[Wax can be a lot cheaper than people think. I got about 10 pounds of wax for $8.50! Just check out your local second-hand store or a garage sale. I went to value world for mine]
[I got the sawdust from a local sawmill for FREE!]

Step 2: Prep.

Picture of Prep.

Before you start anything else you should put the wax in your pan and set the heat on medium-high. Don't leave it on high for too long or the wax will begin to boil and you don't want that. Once the wax begins to melt you should turn the heat on to low so it gives you more time. After you have the wax melting you should start to stuff your egg carton. If it is a 2.5 dozen then cut it in Half. This will make it easier on you later.start to stuff the tray. If using only lint then you must pack it tight. If using sawdust pack it moderately tight.

Step 3: The Birth of a Fire Starter!

Picture of The Birth of a Fire Starter!

Make sure your egg carton is on top of the wax paper.
After the wax is completely melted, and the tray is stuffed full of your kindling (lint/sawdust), you can begin to pour out the wax SLOWLY into the egg carton. Be careful the wax is very HOT!. The egg carton and Kindling may begin to sizzle depending on how hot you let your wax get. don't worry its normal.the wax paper is under the tray so if any wax leaks out the bottom of the tray. If it does just let it cool there and you can break it off of the egg carton once wax hardens. It comes of the wax paper very easily. Just through in your pan for next time. If you want you can top with lint like i did to act as a wick. If doing this add after wax, and press firmly so it sticks to wax. Don't wait till wax hardens to add lint.

Step 4: Build a Fire!

Picture of Build a Fire!

You can taking these on hiking trips or use them at your home. They work very well. Just lite any exposed egg carton or lint. I usually start off with one and some small sticks but the more you use the easier to start the fire. Comment me!! All the fire in the last picture is from ONE fire starter.


Logan Cummins (author)2017-11-07

Far easier and cheaper than this is a VERY simple trick that anyone can do for a few cents each. Go to most any Dollar Store and get a 50-ft length of 1/4-inch (6-mm) diameter COTTON (MUST be Cotton ONLY) clothesline. Now, at home, cut it into 1-inch long segments until you have the desired quantity. Warm a small amount (2-3 tablespoons) of Vaseline (or other petroleum jelly) until it melts (over a safe, non-flammable hotplate or surface). Now, using a steel fork, slowly drop the cut cord pieces into the pan, gently stir and press on them until they soak up the Petroleum Jelly (it should be like warm cooking oil in fluid nature when warm), then with the fork, carefully pull them out and place on a clean pizza pan or cookie sheet to cool. When cool, they will congeal until like 'greasy bacon'. Place them in any Polyethylene container (plastic, like a vaseline jar or small butter tub), and use them as you need. Pull one out at a time, light it with a lighter and quickly place into your kindling to start your fire. They will burn 6-7 minutes robustly, and with a good ferroceramic stick, they will also relatively easily light as well. Super-easy to make, easy and cheap to make a lot of them, and safe to store (ziplock bag will work, and a one-quart bag can hold hundreds).

Daniel49 (author)2017-01-04

I like my fero rod and striker. I like using cotton balls but they burn up too quick if your tinder is damp or wet so I put a bit of petroleum jelly in them so they burn several minutes and store several dozen in a ziplock baggy. I also use jute twine soaked in bee's wax. The trick in lighting both these with a spark is separating the fibers into a fluff and they will light easily with a couple strikes from a fero rod. Cut up several strands of jute twine 4-6" long that has been soaked in bee's wax and pull the fibers apart where it looks like a birds nest and it lights easily. I keep about 4 different ways to start a fire in my truck and backpack. I also keep a few sticks of fatwood to use as tinder to get wet wood burning. Happy scouting.

4me2no88 (author)2016-10-23

has anyone ever used pine knot? it can be found wherever pine trees are located and is a natural fire starter

SparkySolar (author)2015-02-01


MariaS220 (author)SparkySolar2016-10-01

Did you put pyrex on your stove top?? It's not stove top safe.

GeorgeH97 (author)2016-05-23

Good idea!
I use cotton balls and/ or dryer lint covered in petroleum jelly.
Which works really well also.
Store them in zip lock sandwich bags.
Saw dust and paraffin wax make great fire starters too..

itsruthanitha (author)2016-03-04

Awesome Idea. Thanks for sharing. I found A Great Place to find Survival Tools, resource you need to survive and thrive in any situation. I found this discount code. Use this code "PD10"and save 10%.

SidneyP1 (author)2015-12-20

I'm wondering about bees wax. Has anyone ever tried this using old honey comb?

hlefebvre (author)2014-11-17

I do something very similar except I save all my wax scraps left behind in tealights & other candles, which is free. But sometimes I will buy candles from the thrift store to melt down. The addition of sawdust is a great idea!

SidneyP1 (author)hlefebvre2015-12-20

The sawdust, egg carton, and dryer lint act as a wick. The wax won't burn on its own. Not very easily anyway. But with all that wick it should take off pretty good. Might even be able to light it with a sparker.

SidneyP1 (author)2015-12-20

Meh, salmonella shmallmnella. They're just going to burn it not eat it. I have been using old egg cartons for more years than I would like to calculate, and I'm still here.

Hoolgndad01 (author)2015-12-20

Ok I'm a Scouter, lets teach the youth to think out side the box. What about when you only have a flashlight, and a pack of foil wrapped gum and your knife on you.
Simply cut the foil wrap in 3 pcs length wise. Cut one of the pcs length wise leaving adout 1/8" in the center and leaving the ends wider. Then toutch each end if the foil to the AA battery and there you have it. The foil heats up and catches the paper on it on fire.

SparkySolar (author)2015-02-04

Due to a health departmentrestriction he is not allowed to use EGG CARTONS( salmonella risk, if customers touched the fire starters)
So i used square ice cube molds. i attached a super match
( Credit to another Instructable here) and attached it on the lint cube

SparkySolar (author)2015-02-04

I made them for a friend

jimbo92107 (author)2014-02-22

In general you should avoid burning chlorine compounds where you can inhale the fumes. Most of them are quite toxic. And please don't use gasoline to start a fire. It's much too volatile to be a safe outdoor fuel. Stinks, too. Both gasoline and styrofoam produce black, nasty, toxic smoke. Bad, bad idea.

Stick with candle wax mixed with lint. A little tuft of dry lint on top will light the thing just fine.

Flammer (author)2012-03-18

These work great! I use a metal paint can and a hot plate. It takes a couple hours to melt the wax but the temp is low enough that it's not dangerous. And you can just keep using the same old paint can so there's no clean up.

Once the wax is in liquid form, I dump in my dryer lint and stir it with a long stick. Then I use the same stick to fill the egg carton. I let it dry over night and break them up. Never tried the saw dust, I will next time. Thanks!

spylock (author)2011-07-28

I did this a couple years back but I used only sawdust and wax and of course the paper egg carton,they worked great but are a little slow on a really cold morning now I use my torch,but you must be careful to stand the torch upright and away from stuff because it takes a while for the tip to cool.

bryandhispup (author)2011-07-07

i lieu of sawdust you can use pine cones too...

Honeynbennkids (author)2011-04-02

We actually use this same type of thing for starting our pellet stove. We just save all the dryer lint. My great grandmother did this when I was a child but she used old thin rags tore into strips and clippings from sewing.

Also...if you're into polyester clothes...don't use that lint. Natural fibers like cotton and wool (washed and dried old wool army blankets make great lint for starters) burn well, and you don't have to worry about any vapors/fumes. Also, beeswax is a lovely natural alternative to petroleum based candles.

Honeynbennkids (author)2011-04-02

You can safely melt wax in a crockpot.....there are even little "tart" melters if you'd only like to make a few fire starters at a time.

RTyler7071 (author)2010-12-28

Boy Scout Motto "Be Prepared". If you only bring a knife and flint, what happens if you lose one? What are you using for tinder? Scrapings from a dead branch, or pocket lint? What happens when it is middle of winter and 20 below, your hands are numb and it is hard to hit a flint and knife let alone blowing tenderly on a spark when you can't control your breathing you are so cold? Survival 101, carry multiple ways of firestarting in multiple locations. Last resort, flint and tinder, first try, use a lighter.

edibleshroom (author)RTyler70712011-02-06

Using flint is supposed to be for fun, or as a back up. The Scouts "be prepared" motto would imply that you should "be prepared" with a light, torch, matches, etc.

Practice with flint and steel and sticks, but always have back ups for you backup. Even the greatest things on earth have redundancy or back up.

skea1790 (author)RTyler70712011-01-09

I have a flint necklace. I found a piece of flint with a naturally occuring hole in it and wear it everywhere. And I'm the type of person that has a knife, always, unless I'm going somewhere where there will be metal detectors. :)
Always keep more than one knife on you.
As far as flint is concerned, out here where I live, flint can be found on the ground. You can find flint in fields or near rivers, you've just gotta know what you're looking for.
The alternative is rubbing two sticks together- so not fun. Or if you're lucky enough to need glasses, use the sun to start your fire.

medius (author)2010-03-20

Now, why use wax? Why not jus tfill the egg carton frame with the tinder, and duct tape it shut? Is there a special function for the wax?

ERCCRE123 (author)medius2010-04-09

Have you ever lit a candle wick without the wax? The wax allows it to burn longer. Without the wax, the sawdust will just burn up. The sawdust acts like a wick and the melted wax burns, but not the sawdust. When there is no more wax, the sawdust burns. That's why candles burn for so long with just a short wick.

right. perafin, if im not mistakein, is a byproduct of petrolium. therefor it burns almost explosively if its in the right conditions

Data643 (author)2010-08-07

They make special styrofoam that does not release toxins when it burns. It is used for making model railroad hills. Most hobbyists cut this foam with a hot wire cutter, so the company that made the foam wanted it to be safe.

SasquatchKid (author)2010-06-24

It's called a flint and knife like we do in troop 91

rccarfreak997 (author)2010-06-18

hey this is a pretty cool idea, a good way to recycle. right now my firestarter is a match and a crumpled up piece of newspaper, thanks alot!

ducttapehamster (author)2010-06-13

In my troop we call these cheating duct taping the tinder in would work the adhesive on duct tape burns surprisingly well

sgt. frog (author)2010-06-08

idk bout your "girlscout" troop in 333 we have flint, a knife, and whatever we forage.

fragmaster4 (author)2010-06-01

Charl, that is improvised Napalm. I wouldn't play around with that stuff. If you DO make it don't touch it or step on it. =/

Crossforge (author)2009-01-07

A very effective fire starter can be made by putting poly-styrene (styrofoam) in a container with some unleaded gasoline. The styrene is melted by the gas leaving a soft plastic like sunstance. Scoop some out and use as fire starter. Safe and effective. Half a cup of gas will be enough to melt all the styrene packaging for a large screen TV and you should be able to start around 20 fires with that.

A good name (author)Crossforge2009-01-16

Or you could just throw a couple pounds of TNT into your house...

Plasmana (author)A good name2009-01-24

Good idea, I might try that...

A good name (author)Plasmana2009-01-24

Errr... I wouldn't recommend that... it would probably ruin your credit.

Plasmana (author)A good name2009-01-25

Ruin my credit?

A good name (author)Plasmana2009-01-26

Well blowing up your house just because someone told you to probably isn't going to look too good when you apply for life insurance...

Plasmana (author)A good name2009-01-29

I was just joking! :-)

A good name (author)Plasmana2009-01-30

Oh... because you know I was eager to see "DIY'er attempts to blow up own house" or something on the news reels... another time maybe :D

while explosives will work they hurt badly.....take it from saomeone who know, when i am camping i just use cotton balls and a flint and steel its the easiest way to start a fire.

... It was a joke.

I know im just making conversation........

BOOM5601 (author)bassmasta10102010-04-30

Seeing as your a fan, you must always ask the question "what would Walter do?".  He sure as hell wouldn't go to the trouble of flint and cotton.

glorybe (author)A good name2010-04-04

           Don't throw it your own house. Think about it!

comander01 (author)A good name2009-01-23

Nah... That just blow your house apart, not light it on fire. Napalm, though...

A good name (author)comander012009-01-24

Gasoline? :P My Grandpa tried gasoline. He was wrapped up like a mummy for months (True story)

vestie (author)A good name2009-05-19

Your Grandpa must have underestimated the power of gasoline as an accelerate.

A good name (author)vestie2009-05-24

No... I come from a long line of pyros. I'm just the best at it.

Stormy_rayne (author)Crossforge2009-01-16

you do realize the Styrofoam when melted or set on fire releases a toxic fume that can make you very sick and cause you to wind up in the hospital, this idea, while great, should never be done with kids around

About This Instructable




More by sleepismything92:How to keep your PC running FAST and EFFICIENTLYHow to make AMAZING fire starters (BoyScout Style)
Add instructable to: