Camping Firestarters




Firestarters -- making it easy to start campfires and bonfires

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Step 1: Gather Supplies

To make 12 firestarters for starting campfires and bonfires, collect the following supplies:

2 cups sawdust

1 pillar candle

1 paring knife

1 cardboard egg carton (must use cardboard egg cartons)

1 wooden stirring stick

1 large empty can

2 oven mitts or pot holders

aluminum foil

pliers or vice grips

gas or propane grill or stove

Step 2: Make Candle Shavings

Using a small paring knife or Swiss army knife, carefully cut about one cup of candle shavings into the empty can.

Step 3: Melt the Candle

Using a low to low-medium gas flame or stove setting, melt the candle shavings in the can. Add the remaining pillar candle to this melted wax, being very careful as the melted wax is extremely hot. Caution: It is very important that the heat source is low to low-medium because if the wax is melted too quickly, the hot melted wax could flash out of the can, creating a burn hazard for everyone nearby.

Step 4: Cut the Cardboard Egg Carton

With the paring knife or Swiss army knife, remove the top and edges of the cardboard egg carton.

Step 5: Add Sawdust to the Egg Carton

I like to work on a table covered with a large scrap piece of plywood, then I add 2-3 layers of aluminum foil to catch the extra sawdust. Add sawdust to fill each of the 12 sections in the cardboard egg carton. Press the sawdust down firmly in each section, add more sawdust if needed, and press it down firmly again. Remove excess sawdust from the edges of the carton.

Step 6: Stir the Melting Candle

Stir the melting candle wax until all of the candle is melted, being very careful because this melted wax is extremely hot.

Step 7: Add Melted Wax to the Egg Carton

I line the surface that I'm working on (usually a scrap piece of plywood) with a few layers of aluminum foil to catch the excess melted wax that flows out of the egg carton. The can containing the wax is hot, so be sure to use oven mitts (recommended) or pot holders to protect your hands and arms from any melted wax that may splash as you are pouring it. I like to use vice grips clamped onto the can and slowly pour the wax into each of the 12 sections of the cardboard egg carton. The melted wax bubbles for a few seconds when it contacts the sawdust. Let the wax cool for several hours.

Step 8: 12 Firestarters!

After the wax is cooled completely (6-8 hours or overnight), break apart the sections of the egg carton and you have 12 firestarters. After building the campfire or bonfire, add one or two of these fire starters near the ground, tucked in among the small kindling wood and light it with a match or flame stick, for a quick, hot start for the fire.

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    11 Discussions


    Tip 3 months ago on Step 8

    My mom taught me to make these when I was a wee lad. I have done the pour-over method but sometimes you will get pockets where the wax has not soaked into the sawdust. Two ways to combat this - stir each pocket while the wax is still hot OR mix the sawdust in the pot with the wax and pour the mixture out.

    This is great because we tend to always buy the expensive fire starters for camping in our travel trailers. We do a lot of campfires so it gets expensive. Thanks


    4 years ago

    These are a must for camping! Thanks!


    5 years ago

    I made a set of these with beeswax from my beehives. i soaked the sawdust in nitro fluid from an RC car. burned brilliantly!!!

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I make my fire starters the same way. They are great.

    One bit of safety advice i will offer you is to get a larger can or an old pot you dont use for cooking ( i got mine from a yard sale). add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pot and put your wax melting container into the water. This will make it hot enough to melt the wax while preventing you overheating the wax and avoid the potential of having the wax combust.

    you can also put a slight crimp in the lip of the melt can to make a pour spout if you run into a problem with slopping wax when pouring.


    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Great ideas, Lorddrake; I appreciate very much. Essentially, using the larger pot with an inch or so of water creates a double boiler. I'll definitely crimp an edge of the can with the wax to make a pour spot, as well. I've never had a problem, but these suggestions will just make it even easier to make these firestarters.

    These firestarters are great to take along anywhere, and they're easy to pack for camping trips, Danger is my middle name. I store mine on a shelf in a cool, dry place with my other candles at home.