Have you ever used fire starters made out of wood shavings? While camping early last summer at Patoka, we bought one at the camp store. It was fabulous! I really don’t know what it was made of, but it was in one of those small paper cups you keep near your fridge. The friend I was with had been talking about making some ever since, so she could use them in their backyard firepit.
Make Wood Shavings for Fire Starters
So, I made those tree branch and log candle holders. See, she was worried about chemicals in the fire starters, so I didn’t want to use lumber to make the shavings/sawdust. Look at those fabulous wood shavings!!!
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I placed a piece of vinyl wallpaper under my work table to collect the sawdust and shavings.
Recycled Egg Cartons
The darker shavings are from the horizontal log candle holder and the sawdust looking stuff is from the vertical candle holders. My friend Regina had saved the egg cartons. I cut the lids off of four of the egg cartons. I also used a half dozen of the small paper cups. Now all I need is wax!
Upcycled Candles – A Frugal Choice
Another friend donated a jar candle for this project. I examined it closely to make sure it didn’t have a metal wick plate on the bottom. Setting the microwave on MELT seemed like the best way to go about this. Patience is the key here. Unfortunately, I lost track of how much time this took, but I did it in 5 minute increments, never leaving the melting wax unattended. I noticed that once it started melting, the hot wax did a better job of making the candle continue to melt.
Have you ever burned yourself with hot wax? It’s not fun, so be very cautious when transporting it. I put the jar of melted wax into a plastic measuring pitcher to carry it outside to my work table.
Pour Melted Candle Wax over Wood Shavings
Looks easy enough, right?
Can Pine Cones be used as Fire Starters?
While I was at it, I dipped some pinecones from my yard in the wax. They seem like they might make a good fire.
Divide Egg Carton Sections
If you wait till the wax sets up, but is still slightly warm, the egg carton is easily cut with a larger serrated knife. You wouldn’t want to let the wax get too hard.
Once the egg cartons are cut, each one sort of resembles the Flying Nun!
Store Fire Starters in Lid
Can you see how much cuter they look now that I trimmed their points off? I suppose you could leave the points on to give extra burning material for your fire. Did you notice they are resting in the lid of the egg carton? It’s a handy way to transport and store them.
I was anxious to test all three varieties to see which worked best!
Which Fire Starter Works Best?
Can you see the progression of the fire? Which fire starter do you think worked the best? The time lapse of these photos is about 35 minutes. Honestly, I don’t think I had the best wood. They were all small logs and branches, none of the wood was split.
Yummy Toasted Marshmallows
Another 30 minutes, and the hot coals of the wood were perfect for roasting marshmallows! BUT! It started raining, and my fun was suddenly over! Only after I popped these yummy marshmallows in my mouth!
So, if you want to make sure your fire starters are chemical free, make your own! My friend didn't want to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over those easy start logs, so we found another way to start fires easily!
How do you like your marshmallows? Do you catch them on fire, or are you more like me and LOVE them when they are a crispy golden brown? If you have any great tips for s'mores, please leave a comment below. I like them, but I prefer them when the graham crackers are soft, not firm.