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

Picture of 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.
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I like it. Anyone got suggestions about chemical we could add to the mix to add some color to the fire. In Scouts we made fireplace starters out of pine cones dipped in wax then we stuffed the gaps with a mixture of chemicals and ground wax. The cones burned for 10-15 minutes and added a blue or green hue to the fire. I'm sure it was a copper salt of some kind. Time to do some homework.
I knew I had seen it somewhere.

This link has a thorough list of colors


You don't need to do her water mix for this, just mix in with other ingredients.
I make fire starters with woodchips and wax, I have made hundreds of them for camping. We want to add color now, but dont know how to go about it. We googled it and found the above site, but dont want to soak our wood chips. Have you tried mixing the chemicals in with the woodchips or wax yourself? and if so, how did it work???
Sodium will give you yellow, e.g. salt. Copper gives you blues/green. Scrape corrosion from copper pipe Lithium gives you a nice red, but I'm short on suggestions for sources. Although note that the metal atoms need to be rather hot, you're unlikely to produce colour from a relatively cool wax-flame.
m3harri lemonie6 years ago
Lithium Grease
gruaqt (author)  Part Time Chef.com8 years ago
I think even copper filing would work, in our local "dollar store" they sell a small packet of stuff you burn in your fireplace to make the fire burn in a variety of colors (2 bucks=2 minutes) I came across some old copper tubing this summer and by adding to a bonfire it produced a vivid gren colour for a LONG TIME. Go for it, however does I don't know how healthy if would be to breathe that indoors.
Osquar4 years ago
Nice =) I can get a surplus of this easily enough, being a student and living in a student complex.
etw4 years ago
Very interesting. Still, I am somewhat reluctant to buy anything for it or do much work, since I get a bunch of firestarters (probably paer impregnated in wax) for about 45 cts.

nevertheless, I usually poor baking grease from my pans into an empty egg container and save candle scrap for this purpose as well.

Using lint is new to me. Great idea, Until now I have been putting it in my nest boxes so the birds had an easy start.

Pinecones indded are very good as well. You can even cook on those on a 'hobo stove'

EmmettO5 years ago
 I've been experimenting lately with used cooking oil instead of wax. Bacon grease also works and is thicker.

Another additive is used coffee grounds.
vegasgrrl245 years ago
you can also buy candles second hand at salv army or goodwill. i imagine some will be pretty cheap. The taper candles always look pretty rough to me!
flabden5 years ago
You could also use a cardboard egg box.  Just cut the egg holders out and fill with wax and lint/sawdust.
liza.lu7 years ago
I have made these before with the sawdust and egg cartons too. It seems like a big waste to use paper cups that have never even been used before. Maybe if you would rather use cups than an egg carton, you should save up used coffee cups (from your friends because you, of course, bring your own travel mug with you when you get coffee to go :). ) Good to know that you can use lint instead of sawdust.
There is an instructable here that uses newspapers to make seed starting pots.
Wrap the newspaper around a cup like object, fold the bottom up, tiewith string to hold.
Add shredded paper, lint, etc. (as above) to the "paper cup".
That would be better than using brand new and recycles the newspaper buildup.
chinese_boy6 years ago
i have my own version of fire starting. just tear a sheet paper in to strips, pile it up,put some small candles in (any wax would do), pile kindling over , put o fuse (a strip of paper),and light!!!!!
Ifer6 years ago
I find that egg cartons and pinecones work well. For fancier ones, you can add potpourri and stuff to make them smell nice.
pdub77 Ifer6 years ago
what? the dog hair isn't fragrant enough for you? ; )
verity33 pdub776 years ago
Eeeeeewwww! :oD
can i use cotton wool too?? i dont have a dryer
bthistle6 years ago
I find that soaking used wine corks (real corks only) in a jar of 91% rubbing alcohol works well. i generally toss old corks in a pickle jar full of rubbing alcohol and let them soak for a couple days before using.
My mom always used to melt wax in a coffee can. Do they still make coffee cans? Point being, cans are free and can heat and cool without breaking. Nice instructable!
yeerk216 years ago
instead of paper cups u should use cardboard egg cartons-burns longa
yeerk21 yeerk216 years ago
lerned it form camp
debb8 years ago
I make pine cone fire starters ,I would definitely use a double broiler or I improvise and use a large pan that will hold a smaller can ( lg. coffee can), put a couple inches of water in the large pan, put wax into the can and set the can with wax into the large pan . I also use plaining wood or wood chips as the sawdust does not soak up the wax very well. I get my wax for the starters from old candles that my family and friends save for me. I also get my wicks from the used candles I melt. Oh make sure you use an old pan, it can get messy. I also use the egg carton w/wood chips and lint they are great for starting a camp fire. If you get low on cups how about that cupcake holder you have in the bottom of the cupboard. Just use the veg. spray and you don't need a cup and they pop right out when they set.
spchtr debb8 years ago
You can also use cotton balls soaked in melted vaseline (Petrolium Jelly). They work real good as fire starters. Incidentally you can get some paper cups for free (really small ones) at some fast food restarants. They use them for condiments if they've got the pump condiments available.
Just because they're out for use doesn't mean the little cups are free. I think eggs cartons are your best bet for "free" containers.
Derin7 years ago
FOR ANOTHER STARTER(OOPS CAPS LOCK) just dry a log for 2 years an voila.its a method mainly used here
Notags7 years ago
My wife and kids made some of these using cardboard egg crates and chain saw dust from a tree I cut up that fell in our yard. She had tons of candle stubs and a 5 gal. bucket of wood dust. The candles were scented so we now have the best smelling campfires!! Nice instructable.. Never thought about using lint!!
PlantMan8 years ago
Using sawdust a/o wood chips is also good, BUT if you use them you need to mix wax and wood in a bowl over heat and then put in cups. Pour wax in to cup and it will not penetrate to bottom. Chainsaw chips are the perfect wood, and blue jean lint is the best lint.
Roflolommo8 years ago
i did this one time and if you have alot of wax, a wet cup and you wait long enough you can pour the wax out just when its catching on fire and it looks like your pouring a stream of fire. P.S. dont try to do it becuase the cup was on fire in my hand and i didnt enjoy it much
All lint is not created equal. Lint from plastic clothing doesnt burn well, and lint from wool and hair smells bad. Cotton lint is the best. For the first batch, by all means use whatever lint you can get your hands on. But for later batches (when you already have some firestarters on hand), only collect the lint from washing the whites. I also second the cardboard egg carton suggestion.
gruaqt (author)  Doc Workingday8 years ago
Ok I agree with you guys, the wick is redundant and an egg carton is free as you usually throw it out anyways. The next time I have a full batch of lint (any type I'm not fussy) I'll try and redo this instructional. The feedback is good though....
Kacey38 years ago
Instead of endangering yourself with a pickle jar, you can just buy some used pots and pans from your local goodwill or other resale store. My wife makes candles and uses some old tin coffee caraffes for melting the wax. Great instructable.
Those look like the nastiest jello shots ever. Isn't the wick redundant? It's a paper cup after all, just light the cup.
PetervG8 years ago
Looks cool, maybe put a circle of paper on top with a hold for wick to make them look neater? They look nasty : (
you burn them. why would they need to look nice?
No, just because they will be probably stored around the house for later use, I think it would look gross having them open.
happysteve8 years ago
I heard of someone using egg cartons, NOT the Styrofoam ones but those cardboard kind. Can make 12 of them easily and cut them when needed.
It works good to put a pine cone into each of the cups in the egg carton and pouring the wax over them. Fire good -- cook meat.
partyone8 years ago
Once when I was an itty bitty boy..... in the Boy Scouts we made fire starters using rolled up newspaper and parafin.
westfw8 years ago
I can't quite tell from the pictures; do you pretty-much fill up the dixie cups with wax to make linty candles, or just enough to make waxy clumps of lint?
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