How to Make Waterproof Fire Starters




These waterproof fire starters are cheap and easy to make, using only household items. They will burn for about 15 minutes. The only thing you may need to buy is candles/wax, which may cost $2. The process overall takes about an hour and a half, with several hours for drying time.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Things You Will Need:

  • Dryer lint (a large handful)
  • Egg Carton (recycled paper, not styrofoam)
  • Wax (Any kind will do. Old candles, new candles, paro wax, hair wax, etc.)
  • Aluminum can or glass jar (it's easier to throw this away when you are done, rather than try to clean it, so use something you don't mind getting rid of.)
  • Pot to boil water in
  • Dental floss or string
  • Scissors
  • Piece of cardboard or several paper towels (Where you will put your fire starters while they are drying)
  • Plastic knife (not pictured) (something to push the fire starters into the wax and hold them under)

Step 2: Stuff the Egg Carton

Stuff the egg carton with as much lint as you can. The more lint you have, the longer the fire starter will burn.

Step 3: Break Apart Your Egg Carton

Break apart your egg carton. You can try cutting them, but you may just want to use your hands. As you break them apart, make sure that you leave 4 taller sections on each corner of the separate pieces, as you will need those for the next step.

Step 4: Fold Your Egg Carton

Fold the corners of your egg carton into the middle.

Step 5: Melt Your Wax

First, break your wax into small pieces and put them inside of your aluminum can or glass jar. Then, place the aluminum can inside of the pot. Next, fill the pot with only enough water to slightly lift up the can. Too much water and the can will tip over. Finally, place the pot on the stove, medium heat, for about 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Tie Your Fire Starters

Tie your fire starters closed with dental floss or string. Cut 12 pieces of string (about as long as your forearm and hand) and place the fire starters in the middle of the string. Then double knot your string around the fire starter, effectively sealing it closed. You will want to make sure your string is long enough to dip the fire starter into the hot wax while keeping your hand away from the steam.

Step 7: Set Up Your Workstation

Next to the pot of boiling water, make sure you have your cardboard or paper towels ready, the plastic knife, and your fire starters.

Step 8: Dip the Fire Starters Into the Wax

Holding the end of the string, dip the fire starters into the wax. Use the plastic knife to hold the fire starter completely under until it stops bubbling. This allows the dryer lint to soak up as much wax as possible, effectively increasing your burning time and making them waterproof. Once they stop bubbling, remove them and put them on the cardboard. Allow to dry for about 2 hours.

Step 9: Snip Off the Ends of Your Floss or String

Keep the string tied around the fire starter because the string makes it easier to light. Your fire starters are now ready to go! Completely waterproof, they are ready for wherever your adventure takes you.

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7 Discussions


1 year ago

As a girl scout leader, we use sawdust to fill the egg holes and pour the wax over the top leaving the egg carton intact. We break off a piece of egg carton as needed. Works great. Since I work on wood projects often, sawdust is free and easy to find.


2 years ago

Wow, great Instructable!


2 years ago

I like the idea that the whole thing is dipped in wax, making it really waterproof. While dryer lint works to a degree, most experts (not me) say that it is not the best for burning because it contains all kinds of synthetics, etc. Maybe enclosed in wax it will be okay, but it is really not that expensive to purchase a large bag of cotton balls at the dollar store and fluff several up in each pod instead of lint. Nice idea, and easy.


2 years ago

Seems like it might be a lot easier to just keep the egg carton in one piece and fill each hole with lint and wax. Once the wax hardens you could then cut the carton into individual pieces.

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

You can do that as well, however I did some research and found another project where they did that and the burn time was around 8 minutes, instead of 15. Also, I felt that it's a little easier to dip the egg cartons into the wax rather than pouring the wax in (because of burn hazards).


2 years ago

I should make some of these to take on camping trips :)


2 years ago


If you don't have enough dryer lint, you can always raid a public laundromat.

If you don't have any wax available, go to a dollar store and get 2 6-packs of emergency candles for $1 each. The amount of wax for 12 fire starters ended up equaling about 7 candles, and all you have to do is snap them in half to get them ready to melt.

When you are choosing an aluminum can or glass jar, choose something with a small diameter (making sure you can still get the fire starters inside, of course). The amount of wax it takes to completely submerge your fire starters will be less, and in the end you will use less wax.

Try using string to tie your fire starters, because they make the fire starters easier to light once you are done. Avoid woven dental floss, simply because it gets everywhere and your hands are sticky afterwards. Regular dental floss works fine.