The one thing I have in all my kits, whether it be my hiking backpack, within my Bug Out Bag in the car, or here at the house, is a fire starter, whether it be a DIY fire starter or one that I bought.
While I have the knowledge and know-how to start a fire without this “cheat,” why create more work for yourself if you don’t have to (especially true when you are freezing and want to get a fire started ASAP).
You can skip the work of making your own and buy ones pre-made from companies like Bigfoot Bushcraft (which I highly recommend), or if you like saving a little bit of money while also using stuff you may already have on hand that might otherwise end up in the trash, then read on.
- Petroleum Balls
- Birthday Candles
- Wine Corks
- Leftover Scentsy & Candle Wax Balls
- Wax Pads
- Dried Orange Peels
- Egg Carton Bombs
- Tampon on Fire
- Waxy Shoe String
- Toilet Paper Roll & Dryer Lint
- Dryer Lint & Wax Paper
- Toilet Paper Roll Starter – Version 2
- Shredded Paper Pucks
- Sawdust Squares
- Cardboard Squares
- Mop Head Wicks
The first DIY fire starter idea requires cotton balls and petroleum jelly. Take a single cotton ball and cover it in petroleum jelly. It is that simple. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag so it doesn’t dry out. You can also wrap each one in foil (I like to use my used foil for this); then when it comes time to use, just open up and light while still in the foil. A perk to using the foil method is it allows you to easily move the lit fireball around.
Think twice before you throw those birthday candles away. Rinse them off, dry them, and then store them in a ziplock bag to use later as a fire starter.
This is as simple as lining a shallow airtight container and covering them with rubbing alcohol. Make sure to seal the lid well so the alcohol doesn’t evaporate.
Leftover Scentsy & Candle Wax Balls
Whenever I clean out my Scentsy, I soak up the hot wax with cotton balls and then place on wax paper to harden. Once hardened, I store in a ziplock bag. You can do the same with candles that still have wax left, but not enough to really burn safely.
This is similar to the Wax Balls, except you would coat cotton pads (the kind you find in the makeup aisle) in wax. You can coat them with leftover wax or wax bricks you have bought and melted. Coat each pad in wax and then put on a piece of parchment paper to dry. Once dry, you can transfer it to a ziplock bag or container.
Dried Orange Peels
Don’t throw out those orange peels! Save them, let them dry out, and then store them in a container. That’s all there is to it!
Egg Carton Bombs
This requires the use of cardboard-type egg cartons (you don’t want to burn styrofoam, but if it’s a SHTF situation I guess it wouldn’t matter much), dryer lint, and wax. Fill each spot in the egg carton with dryer lint (don’t overstuff). Pour melted wax over the lint. Let dry, then cut out each section and store in a container for later use. Tip: You can also use shredded paper or sawdust instead of dryer lint.
Tampon on Fire
Ahhh tampons…such a versatile item to have around! Dip a tampon in wax and then set it on parchment paper to dry (leave the string and about 1/2″ out of wax). Store in a container once dry.
Waxy Shoe String
Have broken show string laying around? Don’t throw it away, cut it into 4″ sections and dip it into melted wax. Let each section dry on parchment paper before storing in a container or ziplock bag.
Toilet Paper Roll & Dryer Lint
If you have lived on this earth longer than 5 minutes you probably have seen this DIY fire starter. Take the cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls and stuff them with dryer lint. You can seal each end by pushing the ends inward to create a triangle and then fold over each other. You can also wrap the roll in wax paper and twist the ends instead.
Dryer Lint & Wax Paper
Similar to the toilet paper roll DIY fire starter, this DIY fire starter uses wax paper instead of the cardboard from a toilet paper roll. Take dryer lint and roll it into wax paper. Twist each end of the wax paper to “seal” it.
Toilet Paper Roll Starter – Version 2
Roll toilet paper tubes and stick them inside another tube. Stuff in some dryer lint. Thread cotton mop head “wick” through the roll. Dip the entire roll in wax.
Shredded Paper Pucks
I have a shredder at home and always have an endless supply of shredded paper. I use an old muffin tin to make shredded paper pucks. Simply put shredded paper into in “cup” (mush it down) and cover with wax. Let dry and then pop out and store in a container.
Have a bunch of sawdust laying around? Turn it into a DIY fire starter by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper, spreading sawdust into a thick layer (packing it down with your hands as needed), and then pouring melted wax to evenly coat it. Once dried, cut into squares and store in a ziplock bag or container.
Another DIY fire starter idea is to grab some old cardboard, cut it into squares, dip it into wax, let it dry, and then store it in a ziplock or other container.
Mop Head Wicks
Before throwing that old mop head away (assuming it is one of the cotton mop heads) wash it, dry it and then cut the strings up into 4″ sections, dip in wax, allow to dry on parchment paper, and then store in a ziplock bag or container.
Do you have a DIY Fire Starter Idea? Comment below and let us know!
If making your own fire starters isn’t your thing, you can buy premade ones from Bigfoot Bushcraft. Use the code NUTTYHIKER for 15% off.