May 2

Burn! Baby, burn!

Posted by Nanc

We’re going camping [yay!] this weekend.

In preparation, I decided to be a good little camper and make fire starters. An added bonus is that I’m being good to ma earth; recycle, reuse, rehabilitate. (Okay, I just threw in the last one for s&g.)

Making fire starters is real easy to do. But just in case you don’t have a camping or Boy/Girl Scouts guidebook to explain, I’ve laid it out for you.

Tools needed:

  • paper egg carton (empty of eggs) bonus points for free roaming, cage-free eggs
  • dryer lint
  • utility candles (unscented, no dyes)
  • lighter or matches
  • bucket of water nearby for safety’s sake

I’ll admit, I really liked the hues of the lint lined up. I thought it was kind of pretty, like fiber ready to be carded and spun.

  1. Cut/tear the top off the egg carton, leaving the bottom “cups.”
  2. Stuff these with the lint.
  3. Light a candle and carefully drip wax over the lint. For a more child-friendly, less time consuming method, you can melt the candles/candle wax in a double boiler and simply pour this over the lint cups.
  4. Let dry. To use, break off a cup, place in the center of expected campfire (I prefer the tepee method), and light the paper carton portion.

A funny aside: as I was patiently dripping the candle wax onto the lint on my deck outside, I noticed that a couple of neighbors saw me. I can just imagine what they thought was going on. Oh, and I was blaring Dido.

(It’s no Ozzy or Smiths, but still emotionally distraught at times.) [he he he]

Update to article:

The latest polls show… these fire starters work wonderfully! They smoked, caught fire, and burned long enough to catch our wood on fire. Even in these wet conditions. Take a look at our site’s fire pit – the pit itself drained well (wet sand & ash), but it was mucky-mud all around it for the rest of our stay.

How did these dryer-lint-and-cat-hair (couldn’t be helped) fire starters compare to their commercial counterparts? Well, we had two kinds of purchased fire starters left from a previous trip; Coleman® stick variety and a flat, cardboard and wax version that I can’t seem to find online. The latter took a while to catch fire and lasted the least amount of time. The stick starters didn’t go through the smoking phase, but moved directly into fire mode and burned well. But I’d still rate the homemade ones for price and efficiency. (But only the Coleman® sticks would’ve lasted if they had gotten soaked in the rains – thank goodness for zipper bags!)

And as it turns out, I’m not the only one who’s been curious about the range of fire starters; or found the article title fitting.

One Response to “Burn! Baby, burn!”

  1. chris Says:

    You are the firestarter . . . crafty firestarter.

    And hey, if you ever need dryer lint for more of these in future, let me know — I have a whole bin of dryer lint that occasionally gets emptied into the trash, and would love to have it go to good use!

    Have a great camping trip, and watch out for Sasquatches!