Every year, thousands of house fires are caused by dryer lint. The lint accumulates over time along the inner walls of the dryer’s exhaust system and if not properly maintained, that surplus of lint has the potential to ignite and cause a fire.
To increase the priority of this simple task on your household maintenance schedule, I thought we could take advantage of the combustable properties of lint and use them to start responsible camp fires! These fire starters are not only shaped like twigs, but they are also waterproof, float, and burn long enough to dry out damp kindling. This is a sister project to my portable WOOD STOVE ! Let’s make some dryer lint fire starter twigs!
*This project was inspired by At29035ft's Waterproof Dryer Lint Fire-Starter 'ible from 2010
Step 1: Tools and Materials
There isn’t much you’ll need for this simple project and you might even have the majority or all these items already on hand. (i.e. These are basically free to make ! )
- Dryer Lint
- Bamboo Skewers
- Tea Light Candles
- Tin/Aluminum Foil
- A method for melting the wax (I used an electric heater designed for this purpose, but a double boiler works just as well )
- Scissors (*not pictured )
Step 2: Preparing the Molds and Melting the Wax
Before beginning any of the prep work, start melting the wax by first cutting it into small pieces and heating it indirectly. Either by using an electric heater made specifically for melting wax or by using a double-boiler setup.
Next, prep the molds for the dryer lint fire starter twigs by cutting 2’’ x 4’’ pieces of aluminum foil with scissors.
*As a side note, cutting aluminum foil is a good way to freshen up the edges of your scissors !
Step 3: Preparing the Skewers
Bend the bamboo skewers into irregular twig-like shapes, causing the bent sections to fray. Then, break them into shorter lengths (you should be able to get roughly three twigs out of one skewer ).
Step 4: Molding the Twigs
Start by dipping the bamboo skewers into the molten wax, then roll the skewer coated in molten wax into a pile of dryer lint. The goal is to saturate the dryer lint with the molten wax and to drape it over the bamboo skewer. Once the skewer is covered in wax impregnated lint, wrap it up with one of the prepared aluminum foil pieces and set it aside to cool.
More wax impregnated lint can be added to the skewer by first briefly dipping clumps of lint directly into the molten wax and then by draping the waxed clumps over the skewer.
Step 5: Forming the Twigs
After the dryer lint twig has cooled for a couple of minutes, it should be cool to the touch but still soft, unwrap it from its tin foil molding sheath. While they are still pliable, refine the shape of the twigs with your fingers so that they completely envelop the bamboo skewer. Use your fingers to smooth out any gaps, cracks or imperfections. To ensure that the twigs maintain their shape and to increase their durability, I recommend dipping the twigs briefly into the molten wax after final shaping.
Set the dryer lint fire starter twigs to the side to fully harden. I also suggest batching out the twigs assembly line style whilst consistently checking the temperature of the tin foiled twigs so that they don’t become too hard to form. If they do become rock hard, simply heat them up in their tin foil wrappers with a blow dryer until they become malleable again.
Step 6: Start Responsible Fires!
They’re now ready to use! I hope you enjoyed this remix of an internet survival hack classic! Now go start a responsible fire, that respects your local fire regulations, with your new dryer lint fire starter twigs!