This is my first stab at an instructable. This should be fairly simple to follow as I took pictures along the way to illustrate the steps. The firestarters can be used to start a fire in a fireplace, or when you are out camping or have a small bonfire in the backyard. The four items that you need to buy (and collect) are dixie cups or paper cups of some sort, candle wicks which can be purchased at the local craft store, laundry lint and used candle wax obtained from old candles whose wicks are too short to burn etc.
Step 1: The First Step Head Out to Walmart and Purchase Some Small Paper Cups
Typically called "Dixie cups" these will cost about 4 bucks for 200 cups.
Step 2: The Next Step Is Collecting Laundry Lint
If you want you can collect the lint from the laundry for several weeks like I did so that you have lots of lint to work with. We have a dog so we have lots of lint and hair from the laundry.
Step 3: Using the Lint Stuff the Dixie Cups Til They Are Full
You could probably use the lint and debris you collect fromo the vacuum cleaner as well but I use the stuff the dryer. Pack the cups til they are full.
Step 4: Cut Wicks for Each Cup
Using scissors cut the wicking into 1" to 2" segments.
Step 5: Stuff the Wicks Into the Cups
Pretty self-explanatory, tuck the end of the wick material into the cups so that a portion of it hangs out of the cups.
Step 6: Melt the Used Wax (careful Wax Can Get Very Hot on the Stove)
I would recommend that you use a glass pickle jar to melt the wax. This prevents you from ruining one of your good pots. Place the wax to be melted in the glass jar, and place the glass jar in a pot half filled with water. Once the water boils it acts as a double boiler and slowly melts the wax. Be sure to use oven mitts as the glass jar will get hot!
Step 7: Pour Melted Wax Into the Paper Cups
Using the oven mitts (I used those little winter mitts you get at the dollar store) carefully lift the jar out of the water and slowly pour the melted wax into each of the paper cups. When most of the melted wax is poured out return jar containing unmelted wax to the "double boileer" to continue melting the wax. ***Caution*** I found that when the pot boiled off the water and I refilled if that I cracked the jar with the new cold water, perhaps boil the water in a kettle to refill the pot.
Step 8: Ok Now Use the Firestarters
Set up your wood in the fireplace so that there is a place to set your firestarter underneath it. You don't even need to be very good at "teepeeing" the wood, the heat from the firestarter can start a fire even if you are an amateur. Using a BBQ lighter light the wick of the firestarter.
Step 9: Stack Wood Around Your Fire Starter
If you have some kindling you may shove it near the firestarter but as you can see I started this fire with none!
Step 10: And That's It! Enjoy You Fire and the Lack of Frustration in Starting It.
If you come up with some other stuff that would work send me a note here, I know a co-worker of mine uses wood chips, those little cups they serve ketchup in at Wendy's and used wax.