15 Different Ways to Make Fire Starters
Whether you’re camping deep out in the woods, or you’re making preparations for an emergency, being able to start a fire each day is something that you need to be concerned about. But when your fuel supply starts running low, you will need other types of fire starters so that you can continue to have a flame for cooking and for staying warm. You are going to need other fire starter solutions. Here are at least 15 different ways to make fire starters.
Please be ready with a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water, a shovel to throw dirt, or a hose to put out a fire that may become uncontrolled. In case you missed this post, Fire Extinguishers: More Important than a Gun?
Different Ways to Make Fire Starters
My guess is that you already have some of these fire-starting items somewhere in your house. It’s also nice to know that making your own fire starter is actually very easy and cheap to do. These are 15 different ways to make fire starters that you may not know about. The picture above shows some of the firestarters I have in my emergency stash. Here are some DIY ones we can all make.
1. Toilet Paper Tube filled with Dryer Lint
You’ve probably been throwing out your dryer lint for ages, but it’s something you should stop doing. It’s been estimated that dryer lint from the clothes dryer is responsible for over 15,970 house fires each year, so it is certainly a highly flammable item that you can use to your advantage. The same goes for your empty rolls of toilet paper when you’re finished with them. All you have to do is stuff them full of dryer lint and set it alongside your kindling. Your fire should light right up.
2. Pinecones (Natural and Easy to Find)
Pinecones are another great fire starter option that you could try. The dried sap on pine cones helps them light up easily, and you’ll also have a wonderful smelling fire out of the deal as well. So, if you are camping out in the woods, chances are, you may have the convenience of them lying all around you. But there is a drawback when using pinecones that you will find out quickly. They usually burn up fast, sometimes before your sticks and logs fully catch fire. What you can do is coat them in wax, which will help hold the flame longer. You’ll have a roaring fire in no time.
3. Cardboard Egg Cartons
When you are finished using your empty cardboard egg cartons, you can repurpose them by filling them with flammable items that will help you start a fire easily. To help slow the burn time, you can use melted beeswax, wax from candles, or even melted crayons. Fill each empty slot with dryer lint and then melt the wax on top of it. Once it cools, you can cut each carton so that you have 12 individual fire starters. When you are ready to use one, flip it upside down and light the carton material side of the starter.
4. Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly
Cotton balls will work as a fire starter on their own, but they will be much more effective if you add vaseline to them. Your hands will get slightly messy with this fire starter option, but you will be mesmerized by how well they work. Simply rub vaseline all around your cotton balls and then store them in a plastic Ziploc bag until you are ready to use them. That was easy, right?
5. Sawdust and Wax
Do you know someone who does a lot of woodworking for a living? Encourage them to save their sawdust for you, and you’ll have one more way of making a free and easy fire starter. Just take some of your empty cupcake liners from your kitchen and fill them about half full with sawdust. Then add a layer of wax on top of the sawdust, making sure that it’s completely submerged under the wax. Allow it to cool, and you’re good to go. Even if you don’t have a way to get your hands on some sawdust, shredded paper will work fine too.
6. Create Paper Logs filled with Just the Right Stuff
Another clever fire starting method is by making your own paper logs. All you need to do is fill up some brown paper with flammable items and then tie the ends so that they don’t escape. To have even better results, you will want to put one paper log on the bottom and one on the top of your woodpile. These are some of the flammable items that you should consider using.
7. Dried Orange Peels
These work better than you might think, and they smell great too!
8. Duct tape
Is there anything that duct tape doesn’t do? Nope, not likely.
9. Hand Sanitizer
I’m sure you have plenty of this lying around your house lately. Drizzle it directly on your fire logs and they should light right up.
10. Cotton Balls
Fill your paper log with cotton balls, twigs, and cinnamon for fragrance.
11. Shredded Paper
Use your paper shredder to cut those old bills down to size. It will also make you feel better watching them go up in smoke.
12. Pencil Shavings
Pencil shavings work, but you can also sharpen a stick to create wood shavings.
13. Greasy Potato Chips
Surprisingly, greasy potato chips can work, the more fat content, the better.
14. Wine corks soaked in rubbing alcohol
Instead of throwing out the corks along with your empty wine bottles, go ahead and hold on to them. If you soak them in rubbing alcohol, they’ll do the trick. Just be sure that you keep them sealed up in a Ziploc bag or mason jar so that the rubbing alcohol doesn’t evaporate.
15. Used Vegetable Oil
Apply your used vegetable oil to several rolled-up newspapers and place them underneath your logs. Voila!
There are many different ways that you can create your own fire starters, but these are some of the easiest and most effective ways of doing it. Some of these will even make your fire smell great too! Just make sure that you aren’t using any of these items to start a fire inside your home without taking the necessary safety precautions. What are some different ways to make fire starters that you know about or have used in the past? May God Bless this world, Linda.
13 thoughts on “15 Different Ways to Make Fire Starters”
I would have never thought to use cotton balls & Vaseline, good to know!
Hi Amy, I hadn’t either, I learned about it a few years ago in this group. We all learn from each other. Linda
Linda, if you have a wax melt burner, you can use a cotton makeup remover pad and soak left over scented wax in it to clean it and use that for a fire starter. I learned this from my daughter who’s husband is a scout leader. She was also Scentsy dealer at one time.
Hi Deborah, oh I LOVE Scentsy!! This makes total sense. Plus it would “clean out” most of the wax for the next chunk of fresh wax!! Great tip! Linda
I take a length of a straw melt the end, squeeze it together with pliers then fill it with dryer lint and Vaseline mixed then melt and squeeze the other end together to make it waterproof.
To use you cut it open, fluff the material and burn it all.
Hi Matt, thanks for the tip on how to do this. Here is YOUR YouTube, I hope this works for everyone. I love it.
Linda, as usual these are very good tips. I have a very good firesteel that will usually catch either dryer lint or vaseline soaked cotton balls on the first strike. Matt’s idea using plastic straws to make lint and vaseline firestarters waterproof is a good one, but the vaseline soaked cotton balls have never failed me, even when it was raining–I think they are already waterproof. I keep mine in a ziplock baggie, same for the dryer lint, though using a TP roll is a good idea too.
Hi Ray, it’s awesome we can make firestarters for free. I have a magnifying deal I used outside but I couldn’t take a picture and show people how to use it. Life is good when we learn ideas from others. Linda
My primary fire starter is the egg carton/dryer lint/melted wax. I have tried several of the others – pine cones dipped in wax, sawdust/wax, makeup remover pads rubbed with vaseline or wax. I find that the egg carton works the best for me. I didn’t like the sawdust/wax ones that I purchased – hard to light from my limited experience; what I did like about them was once the fire was going but I had damp wood, then put a round on, it helped flare the fire to dry the damp wood. I do take at least 3 different fire starters with me when I am camping.
Along with fire starter methods is having multiple ways to actually start the fire starter!!
Hi Leanne, I hear you on taking more than one fire starter!! When in doubt take more! Linda
I definitely will have to try the dried orange peel! New one on me. My son and I have been using all types of chips on the fire for years. Even the taco type chips work. Remember the olestra fat free chips? They burn the brightest! I saw some videos of the making of alcohol lamps, they were lighting them in their garages and fireplaces. A lot of these starters are very sooty and should be used outside only. Thanks. God Bless and stay safe…
I like to store the cotton balls dipped in Vaseline in old pill bottles, then in a small ziplock bag. Also we double dipped strike anywhere matches in melted wax to waterproof, then when dry stored in old pill bottles. You can find the wax warmers at a very inexpensive price at local thrift stores!
Hi Alice, it’s so nice to recycle those pill bottles! Great idea on the how-to dip the cotton balls in vaselines and save them in the bottles. Great tips on the matches, thank you! Linda