Introduction: Recycled Fire Starter
These particular fire starters are made from:
Empty Paper Pulp Egg Carton (you don't want to use the plastic or foam egg cartons for this since they will be burned)
Wax from old candles
Step 1: Waxing Nostalgic
I had a really cool Fu Dragon candle that has seen better days. Aside from at least half a dozen repaired fractures were it broke into one or more pieces when it was dropped or knocked off of where it sat, it was also missing the tip of its tail.
I also had four spherical candles that got stored in the attic .. they are now sad little ovoid globs.
A few minutes with a cheese grater from the dollar store and I had a shoebox full of wax shreds. This isn't a necessary step but the shredded wax melts much quicker than large blocks of wax.
Step 2: A Little Lint Goes a Long Way
Dryer lint is not the only material that can be used for a wick medium in these starters, It just happened to be what I had handy and it fit in with the theme of the project.
I found that one roll of lint from the dryer would fill three of the egg cavities. So with 6 rolls of lint I had the whole carton filled.
Some other excellent materials are:
clean wood shavings - the kind you use for lining a small animal cage (please don't use it after it has been in the cage ... no body wants that).
cloth from clothes that are no longer wearable (avoid synthetic materials .. cotton works best).
crumpled or shredded paper.
pretty much anything else that will absorb wax and won't put off toxic fumes when it burns.
Step 3: Boil Boil ..
Get it ... cuz it is a double boiler pan .. hehe ... I amuse myself.
OK .. moving on.
Safety warning: you never want to melt wax directly on a heat source such as a stove element or direct flame.
The safest way to melt wax is in a double boiler pan. Wax will typically melt above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on what it is made of). A double boiler temperature will max out somewhere between 200 - 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Well below the flash point of wax.
If you do not have a double boiler pan that you can use for wax, you can simply fill a saucepan with water and put a secondary container (glass jar, empty metal coffee can, etc) in the water and use that to melt the wax.
If you are using an old coffee can, do yourself a favor and crimp one edge of the can to make a pour spout before heating up the wax. It will make pouring the wax much easier.
Personal Sanity Preservation Warning: do not use <insert relative's name here>'s good saucepan for melting wax. It is much easier to go buy a cheapy pan from the dollar store or thrift shop for this project, than to hear how you "ruined my best pan" for the next several decades.
Step 4: Easier to Assemble Than Ikea Furniture
Grab a cookie sheet and put a sheet of aluminum foil on it for easy cleanup.
Pour your melted wax onto the lint-filled egg cartons. Don't worry about pouring neatly between the lint. The wax soaked carton will ignite as easily and burn as well as the lint.
Let the wax cool and dry before cutting the carton up into individual fire starters.
I store these in a gallon ziploc bag until I need to use one.
These are small enough to fit two or three into a sandwich bag and slip it into your pocket for a weekend camping trip.
Step 5: 3, 2, 1, ... Ignition
The fire starter will ignite easily and burn for several minutes. Plenty of time and heat to get a fire roaring.
As you can see from the pictures even a decent breeze will not extinguish the fire starter.