Picture of Worlds Best Pocket-Sized Fire Starter
O.K.-This is my first Instructable, so try not to Bash me too much.

As I was looking at the home page I saw there was a contest happening for those wishing to share their know-how on the subject of simply staying warm. Looking through my library of knowledge for anything interesting, I remembered a little trick I used to use to start some of the best fires. These Fire Starters work so well I have been able to even light waterlogged pieces of wood, so BE CAREFUL.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any use or misuse of this instructable. FIRE BURNS (believe it or not) so this product is potentially dangerous, whatever you or someone else decides to do with it is none of my business, but neither is it my responsibility. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

-2 small paper cups NO PLASTIC, plastic is bad all around to burn, so no plastic coating on the cups, try to stay away from wax coating, you can use it if you really need to, but I advise against it

-Petroleum Jelly

-A disposable Knife

-2 to 5 cotton rounds

-A fire starter


-Alcohol for those of you to lazy to wait an extra 5 seconds for the cup to catch on fire

Step 2: Step 1

Picture of Step 1
The first thing you need to do is take your cotton rounds, the plastic knife and the petroleum jelly, and use them to smear the jelly on ONE side of the cotton rounds. I normally only use two of the cotton rounds, but three is what you should aim for.

*Note: while you can use up to five, it is not recommended because the jellied cotton rounds will, after a certain amount, become to dense and slow down the rate of their burning, and, sometimes even smother themselves.

Step 3: Step 2

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Now, take one cup, the knife, the petroleum jelly, and the jellied cotton rounds. Put some petroleum jelly on the inside bottom of the cup, than stack the jellied cotton rounds on top, with the side that has the petroleum jelly on it facing up. Get rid of the knife.
chopstx5 years ago
Is there a substitute to petrolium jelly? Please help me!
Mineral oil works just as well.
Draxis (author)  chopstx5 years ago
I don't believe that anything else would burn as long or as well, but I do know that you can try using rubbing alcohol or, if you have it, the citronella tiki fuel. It burns a lot faster, and not nearly as well, but it's better than nothing.
chopstx Draxis5 years ago
Okay. Thanks!
Draxis (author)  chopstx5 years ago
chopstx Draxis5 years ago
Where can I get some petrolium jelly? What is it used for?(besides this)
Draxis (author)  chopstx5 years ago
You can normally find it at any drug store, dollar store, or supermarket, it's a very common item that is normally located around the makeup department. It's usually used as a moisturizer, but I use it for this and on my lips when they start to get dry =P. It's basically the same thing as Vaseline, only Vaseline is the brand name, so everywhere usually sells it as petroleum jelly, but it has a ton of uses, from makeup to mechanics.
chopstx Draxis5 years ago
So it's another name for vasoline? Thanks for the help by the way! Isn't it cheaper just to use matches or a lighter since you need a match or lighter to light this?
Draxis (author)  chopstx5 years ago
No problem, and the lighter doesn't last as long as this does, it burns around 20 minutes if you do it right.
chopstx Draxis5 years ago
Cool. I'll try to make a few.

5* for ible and service!
Draxis (author)  chopstx5 years ago
Thank you!
chopstx Draxis5 years ago
sharlston5 years ago
will the jelly light with a spark thing from a lighter?
Draxis (author)  sharlston5 years ago
If you mean just the spark from a normal lighter that is out of gas, I'm not sure just because the sparks from it are very small. If you use one of the flint strips, I am 99.9% sure it will light, the best I can say is give it a shot! =)
yes its the little wheel with the flint underneath it from a diposable lighter but what is a flint strip?
Draxis (author)  sharlston5 years ago
If you go to most outdoors-like stores (Dicks, EMS, etc.) they sell either what looks like a key that is made out of flint with a steel striker (first image) or a flit and magnesium strip (second image).
I've never used the right-hand one but the left type is superb! Some have poor strikers so use a piece of hacksaw blade! Just one strike will set a piece of tissue paper alight! I've had many bonfires on the beach with this!
brabantia5 years ago
 Thanks! It works a charm. I came up with my variation: use empty loo-roll instead of paper cups, use a sheet of kitchen towel instead of cotton balls. Space saving option: Prepare strips of kitchen-towel in advance and press the loo rolls flat. small and handy! I even cut the loo rolls in half because I decided I needed only five minutes of solid flame (I only use it for burning weeds on my allotment). Thanks again, it was fun and fast to make it!
(btw in Europe petroleum jelly is called "vaseline")
Draxis (author)  brabantia5 years ago
No problem, and that sounds interesting, I'll have to give it a go!
scottmiller5 years ago
 Nice idea. I find that another good fire starter is to wrap string around crayons and place them into a tin. Light the string and it will make a great fire starter(It's reusable). The wax melts and makes the string burn VERY slowly(It still produces a large flame, though.) I might make an instructable on it.
Draxis (author)  scottmiller5 years ago
Sounds interesting, let me know when you post it!
okay. It's just crayons with strings wrapped around them in a can(I used an old tuna can). It's really easy to make, so I don't know if it needs a whole instructable. Maybe I can put it in with something else...
Draxis (author)  scottmiller5 years ago
If you could include some shots of it burning that would be cool =)
KuddlKat5 years ago
I was thinking that the petroleum jelly question was silly until I got to the cotton rounds ingredient. I guess it depends on your experiences and what you've seen on TV. Are those "cotton rounds" something found near the cotton balls in a store? It looks like those acne pads they used to advertise.
Draxis (author)  KuddlKat5 years ago
Yah, basically they are cotton balls, which you could use as well, only they are (I believe) turned into a cotton string and woven into squares or circles (circles best fitting the round cup). Either way they have basically the same application and should be found together.
Superstormj6 years ago
Good Instructable. You beat me to posting the idea. By like 7 days! LOL. I've been using a method quite similar for years. Nothing in the world burns quite like PetJelly. Except Thermite, but that's a whole other instructable... >:D
Draxis (author)  Superstormj6 years ago
good ol' thermite, unfortunately I don't think ill be doing an instructable on that...
now that i've properly mixed my thermite,( which i really did ) i can get to my real question. isn't this properly named, the world's best pocket sized tinder?
Draxis (author)  MrMystery965 years ago
Basically yes, but for normal camp and bond fires, I doubt it would work on thermite, but for that I do recommend using a sparkler to light.
Zazu6 years ago
DEF trying this.. We're going to have a bonfire... is it safe to have one in a random field as long as there are no trees above/around and lots of snow underneath??? have any other suggestions??
Draxis (author)  Zazu6 years ago
I guess... but i strongly recommend having fire extinguisher handy, a few rocks to place around the fire, and make sure to check the local fire regulations, just in case ; )
Bookdemon6 years ago
Very nice Instructable! Easy and cheap, plus made with stuff you already have around the house. I almost forgot practical! Can't wait to start a fire ;)
Draxis (author)  Bookdemon6 years ago
I try, I try.