My husband and I lived in Northern Wisconsin in the beautiful north woods in a log home surrounded by acres of trees. In Spring I would collect many pine cones just for the sheer beauty of them and their unique shapes. I then discovered how simple it was just to make these beautiful pine cone fire starters as we had a wood burning stove and many times it took me so long to start a fire and a lot of times I ran out of paper.
Pine cones are great for getting a fire started. They catch the flame quickly and burn hot and using one will get that fire going the first time almost every time. It is easy, and after using different colors of wax and adding essential oils, fire-starting pine cones aren’t just super handy, they also look great perched by the fireplace and around the house as decorations year round and smell spectacular.
When I started this it was not just for starting fires for my fire place, it was for campfires also but what a wonderful Christmas gift. I enjoyed wrapping these beautiful pieces of decorated art for a unique gift for that person that has everything! I started this project every early spring. You do not have to live in the woods to collect pine cones-the craft stores, dollar stores, thrift stores have these items. For the wax I picked up candles at garage sales for about $1 for a box full went I went on weekends. What fun!
You do not have to have a fireplace or wood burning to stove to enjoy these. These are a beautiful decoration for a bookshelf, a centerpiece, or for the holiday season. You do not have to wrap a string a make a wick with these pine cones. You can dip these in different color wax, or just dip the bottoms, just dip it once and sprinkle glitter-beautiful!
Step 1: Gather Your Pine Cones and Materials
Gather pine cones, and allow them to dry until they open fully. If pine cones are damp they can be dried in an oven set to 120 degrees for an hour to remove moisture and open the petals. Watch carefully. If you purchased them in the store you can disregard this whole step.
Candle Wicking (I use string and dip it in wax first & let it dry)
New or recycled old candles
A double boiler (I use an old coffee can for top boiler)
Essential oils (optional)
Step 2: Gather Your Wax, String or Candle Wicking
I used to cut the string to dip in the wax first and then wrap around each individual pine cone around the already dipped string. I found this is not necessary. Prior to dipping each pine cone, wrap the string around around the pine cone and tie a knot on the top and leave at least an inch and one half on the top of each pine cone to light the pine cone. Once the pine cone is dipped the string will also have wax on it.
Chop or break each candle to place in the double boiler to melt the wax. If you can pull the wick out of the long candles do so, other wise when the wax is melting you can easily pull it out.
TIP: As I stated I use an old coffee can instead of a good kettle due to the wax can get very messy and when I am done I can just throw the can away.
Step 3: Melt the Wax
Melt the wax over medium heat being very careful to use tongs, turning to completely coat the pine cone. For scented pine cones, essential oils like cinnamon or eucalyptus can be added at this time. Use approximately ½ teaspoon essential oil per quart of melted wax, adjusting as desired.
Once pine cone is completely coated, lift from double boiler and place on wax paper. Let dry for at least about one hour.
Step 4: Double Dip
Yes, just like my favorite double dipped chocolate covered peanuts!
I realize this is more time consuming but I find these are so more beautiful and NO you do not have to re-dip these already pretty pine cones but I chose to do this so I thought I would share this advise and the following step too.
After the first dipping is dry I re-dip again and it brings out more brilliant color and I use these gorgeous ones for gifts for those special people at all times of the year. And wow! these are things that are hard to find in the store or maybe just at Christmas.
Step 5: A Different Touch
Here are other ways to make fire starters that stand upright in your campfire or fireplace that are very efficient. Place wax paper in the bottom of muffin pans before you pour a little wax in the bottom of those muffin pans and when partially dry add a pine cone in each muffin cup. Don't forget that string on the bottom of each pine cone!
Step 6: Decoration
These can be an accent or decoration to your home anytime of the year and a wonderful gift to that person that has "everything". I love to get carried away. I would walk through the woods and pick up acorns and dipped them in wax and "Wow!" beautiful.