DIY Lint + Egg Carton Fire Starters

By Finn Clark

Finn's DIY Fire Starters

Finn’s DIY Fire Starters

I’m 9 years old and like most 9-year-olds I’m interested in, and learning about, fire and what my parents call “combustibles.” We live in the Northwest where the winters are long and wet.

I like to forage for wood with my wood-cutting tools.

I like to forage for wood with my wood-cutting tools.

Our home is heated almost entirely by wood and since we forage for our own wood in our forest, it’s often pretty wet. I decided it was time to make some fool-proof fire starters for those cold nights when nothing wants to burn. These things will definitely help start your wet wood burning, especially if you use 2-3 of them. Here’s how:

The things you'll need: Lint, egg cartons, wax scraps, string, shredded paper, matches.

The things you’ll need: Lint, egg cartons, wax scraps, string, shredded paper, matches.

Gather together:

Lint

Egg Cartons

Wax Scraps (we melt ours into pie tins for easy re-melting)

Wick String or Just Plain String,

Shredded Paper and/or Sawdust

Matches

Melt your wax and dip the wick string in it to make a true wick.

Melt your wax and dip the wick string in it to make a true wick.

Next you’ll need to melt down your wax scraps. I place our previously-melted wax scraps in a pie tin with another pie tin underneath and place the double-layer pie tins over our pilot light on the stove. That’s enough to melt the wax in the tins and it’s safe for little hands like mine that could get burned by the wax. Dip your string in the melting wax to make a true candle wick. They burn more slowly and readily with the wax infusion.

Mix your lint and shredded paper (and saw dust if you have it) together in a big bowl.

Mix your lint and shredded paper (and saw dust if you have it) together in a big bowl.

While your wick is drying, mix all your lint with shredded paper and you can add sawdust and small wood chips if you have them.

Really really mix it well.

Really really mix it well.

I think I like the mixing part the best.

Cut your wicking into little wicks.

Cut your wicking into little wicks.

Now that your wick is dry, you can cut it into small 2-3 inch wicks for each fire starter.

Stuff your dry ingredients (wick in the middle) into each egg carton cup.

Stuff your dry ingredients (wick in the middle) into each egg carton cup.

Now you can stuff your lint mixture into the egg carton cups. We take a small handful, wrap it around a wick, and then jam it (with the wick standing up in the middle like a candle wick) into each cup.

Pour your melted wax over the whole mess. Lots of it.

Pour your melted wax over the whole mess. Lots of it.

We then pour our melted wax over the top of the paper/lint/wick-filled egg carton. I let my mom do it because even though we have 2 pie tins under the wax, it could spill and hurt me.

Another angle of Mom doing the pouring. It was cold in our house so she's wearing a down vest. That's why we needed fire starters -- to get the fire started.

Another angle of Mom doing the pouring. It was cold in our house so she’s wearing a down vest. That’s why we needed fire starters — to get the fire started.

Do you see little matches standing up in the back row there? That’s my secret ingredient. I like to use matches dipped in wax as my wicks. They’re actually home-made water-proof matches but that’s another post for a later time. They work really really well as wicks, too.

These are my fire starters.

These are my fire starters.

When your wax has solidified and cooled, the fire starters are ready to be used. Simply rip off a single cup at a time and light your wick when you’ve placed your fire starter where you want it in your well-laid fire.

Lighting our fire starter is the best best part.

Lighting our fire starter is the best best part.

Now we get to enjoy a warm winter wet wood fire.

Our warm winter fire by home-made fire starters brings smiles.

In our family, warm winter fire made by home-made fire starters bring sweet smiles.

My mom wants you to know that we have more great homemade DIY ideas for all sorts of things, like egg cartons, plastic bottle caps, even toilet paper rolls! Please visit our Trash Backwards app for more reuse ideas to spark new fires in your imagination. Here’s a sampling of some easy trash hacks like my fire starters:

Click Through For More Easy Trash Hacks at Trash Backwards

Click Through For More Easy Trash Hacks at Trash Backwards

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Categories: DIY, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff

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9 Comments on “DIY Lint + Egg Carton Fire Starters”

  1. lindalw666
    January 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    You are so good at this! I would have been hesitant to be in a featured article like this, but you did really well. I hope you keep coming up with good articles like this, and I’ll also be enjoying watching you grow up! Thank you for this article, Finn!

  2. lindalw666
    January 20, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    I wanted you to see the project some fellow is doing on the “instructables” website. He’s taken a no-longer-useful printer and stripped it down to its basic parts. Now the question is, what would you do with the parts? Check it out, one of my favorite websites. (Next to Trash Backwards!)

    Best regards, Linda Weeks

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Harvesting-parts-from-a-Laser-Printer/?ALLSTEPS

    • January 22, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Wow, Linda. That’s a lot of parts! I think we’d recycle all the metal, the wires, the ink, too. And the plastic parts (likely #5) might be taken by a plastics recycler. But some of those parts would be great in a child’s inventor’s kit as long as there are no harmful metals in them. Maybe make a robot?
      — Liesl at Trash Backwards

  3. Terri
    January 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    I recently went on vacation to a cabin. It was very cold and the electricity went out. I worked for a long time to get some very green wet wood to start in the fireplace without success. I bet your firestarters would have worked like a charm! Luckily the electricity came back on before I got frost bite!

    I’m an avid camper too. I make small fires only when it is cold outside and I’m camping. I take along dryer lint for starter but that is not always enough. I plan on making some of these firestarters to take along with me.

    I have a question, what kind of wax do you use? Is is left over wax from candles that burned all the wick?

    I do see your “secret ingredient” and think I’ll use matches too. I’d love to know how you make matches!!

    Great idea, wonderful instructions. Thanks so much Finn for sharing this.

    • January 22, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      Hi Terri. Yes, the wax we use is definitely scrap wax from dripped or melted-out candles. We even save the wicks and throw them in the fire starters. Glad you’re finding ways to keep warm.
      — Liesl at Trash Backwards

  4. April 24, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    The boy looks exactly like as a wood cutter. However a nice post.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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