Introduction: Mini Project #2: DIY Petroleum Jelly & Cotton Ball Fire Starters

About: Hi I'm Alex and I love to make stuff! I mainly work with different metals but I also love to explore new (to me) materials and dabble in woodworking, jewelry, knife making, design and many more.

Hi Instructables community,

here is number two of this Mini Project week. Again it is a rather simple and quick DIY project: Petroleum jelly & cotton ball fire starters in a waterproof container. I know that most of you have most likely seen these somewhere else. If this is the case see it as another reminder to make these yourself if you haven't already done so.

If you like this Instructable please fav, share, subscribe & comment. You can also check my YouTube, Facebook and Twitter sites for current and upcoming projects.

Take care & stay safe

Cheers Alex

Step 1: What Will You Need?

You will need the following materials and tools:

  1. One plastic drinking straw
  2. One cotton ball
  3. Your preferred Petroleum Jelly
  4. A lighter
  5. Needle nose pliers
  6. A pair of scissors
  7. Around five minutes time

Step 2: Trim the Straw

Start by cutting the straw into 7,5cm / 3 Inch long pieces. You can make the straws as long or short as you like as this depends on your personal taste and where you want to carry the fire starters.

Step 3: Sealing One End

The second step is to use your pliers close one end with 2-3mm / 1/8 Inch standing over on one side.

Now use your lighter to carefully melt the straw and then pinch the molten plastic while its still hot to permanently seal one end.

Step 4: Mixing PJ & Cotton Ball

Now add some petroleum jelly to the cotton ball and mix with your fingers until the cotton fibers have an even coating of petroleum jelly.

Step 5: Fill the Straw

Use a coffee stirring stick or something similar to fill the straw with the PJ Cotton mix.

Step 6: Seal the Other End

Now repeat step two and seal the other end.

You can check whether the container is water proof by holding the fire starter under water whilst applying slight pressure to the container. If no air bubbles rise from the fire starter you are good to go.

Step 7: How to Use?

Once you are in a situation where you want to use the fire starter you have to prepare your tinder bundle and:

  1. Cut open the straw and remove the PJ/Cotton mix completely and ignite with a ferro rod or any other spark creating device (e.g. flint & wheel from an empty lighter). This method will create a larger fast burning flame that depletes itself quickly. You can do this if you have good dry tinder & kindling available that will ignite quickly.
  2. Pull the mix out just a little and leaving most of the mix in the straw. If you ignite it now you get a smaller slower burning flame that is more suitable for less than optimal tinder & kindling that may take a while to ignite properly.

Happy making

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