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DIY Fire Starters

There’s nothing quite like a campfire for gathering people together for food, fun and camaraderie. And with a little advance planning before your next camping trip, you can use a few everyday household items to create fire starters that will help you light up your kindling and get a roaring blaze going in no time.

Dryer Lint

That gray fuzzy stuff we all pull out of our dryers’ lint traps is actually very flammable. The simplest way to use dryer lint to make fire starters is to stuff it loosely into cardboard toilet paper or paper towel rolls. You can also place some lint into each compartment of a cardboard egg carton, then pour melted wax over each section. Wait until the wax hardens, then cut each compartment apart to make individual fire starters.

Orange Peels

The oil contained in orange peels is flammable, too. Just take your peels and place them on a pan near a heat source or in the sun to dry. You can even let them air dry — it will just take longer. When the peels are dry and crackly, they’re ready to use. If you need to store them, use a brown paper bag and add a silica gel packet to absorb any excess moisture.

Wine CorksWine Corks

This is a really easy one. Simply save up your wine corks (the real kind, not the plastic ones) and place them in a mason jar filled with rubbing alcohol. Once they’ve soaked up the fluid, carefully place a few corks on or under your kindling to get your fire started.

 

Mops and Round Cotton Pads

Take a 100% cotton mop, cut off the strands, dip them in melted wax and place them on a sheet of wax paper. Once they’re dry, cut the strands into one-inch pieces to use as fire starters. You can also place round cotton pads on a paper plate or a sheet of wax paper and pour the melted wax over them. Store them in a zip lock bag once they’re dry.

Duct Tape

Yes, this all-purpose tape we all love has yet another use. Duct tape is very flammable, so you can use a ball of it to start a fire. Or, you can wad up some newspaper, wrap it with duct tape and add a bit of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to start a blazing fire.

Birthday CandlesBirthday Candles

They’re not just for making wishes — now, they’re for making fires, too. Just take some of your leftover birthday candles and a roll of wax paper (or get these items from the dollar store). Then take a piece of the wax paper, put one or more candles on it, roll it up and twist the ends like a candy wrapper.

Corn Chips

You’d have to resist eating this idea, but corn chips are flammable, too. Some campers have even been known to arrange cheese curls log cabin-style on their kindling to get the fire started.

A Word about Wax

Several of these ideas use melted wax, which can be anything from the leftover stubs from your candles to paraffin from the hardware store or even all of those little broken pieces of your kids’ crayons. To melt the wax safely, place the wax into a glass jar or metal can, then place the container into a pot of water to heat it. Or, if you want to be more eco-friendly, use solar power by placing the container out in the sun to melt the wax.

Safety First

As with any activity involving a campfire, safety comes first, so be sure to let your fellow campers know that these fire starters are highly flammable and should always be used with care.