LIFE AS YOU LIVE IT: DIY Camping Fire-Starters (Guest Post from Saira!)

DIY Camping Fire-Starters (Guest Post from Saira!)

26 May 2013

My older sister Saira contacted me with a great tutorial as to how to create homemade fire-starters for when you're out camping, backpacking, etc. She volunteered to do a guest post for the blog that includes step by step instructions as to how to create these easy camping fire-starters!
These fire starters take the cake for several reasons: they're lightweight and easily packed, they're waterproof (because nothing is worse than getting into camp on a wet day and realizing you can't even start a fire), and they're cheap due to the fact that they're made largely of recycled household goods. Plus, depending on what type of wax you use, the house smells good when you make them.

Materials list:
                                                     -Cardboard Egg Cartons
                                                     -Dryer Lint
                                                     -Dental Floss
                                                     -Wax Paper

Step 1: Fill the egg cartons
Collect the lint from the dryer, behind the couch cushions, your belly button, wherever you can find it. Then, stuff it into the cups of the egg carton - try to get it as compact as possible. You don't want the lint to overflow the cups because it will be difficult to perform the next step, but the more lint that's in the cup, the longer the fire-starter will burn - so pack it in.

Step 2: Cut and fold egg cartons
Cut the egg cartons apart so each cup is separate from all the others. Next, fold over the four edges on the open end of the cup so that the lint is surrounded on all four sides by cardboard.

Step 3: Tie 'em up!
As you fold up each egg cup full of lint, use a long piece of dental floss to tie it shut - I prefer to cross it and tie it like a Christmas present to make it a little more secure, but it needs to be able to withstand being dunked into melted wax. Leave the long tail after you tie it - it'll make the dunking easier.

Step 4: Wax
Put a pot with an inch or two of boiling water over low heat. Place a glass jar full of the wax in the pot and allow it to melt - don't fill the pan too high with water or else the wax jar may tip over! The jar should be resting on the bottom of the pan rather that floating. I used wax left from the bottoms of old candles but wax can also be purchased at any general store.
Hold each fire-started by its dental floss tail and dunk it to it is entirely under the melted wax - you will likely need a second utensil to hold it under. Keep it under wax until air bubbles stop coming up. Then lay the fire-starter to dry on wax paper.

Step 5: Let them dry and light them up!
Leave the fire starters to dry for several hours - they should become hard. You may want to test one to see how long the ratio of lint:wax:cardboard burns, but they should burn for 15-20 minutes, a nice window of time to allow logs to catch and start a roaring fire!

Things I wish I knew before I got started:
- Don't fill up the individual egg cups with too much lint or they won't fill up properly!
- Leaving a long tail on the dental floss is very helpful when it comes to dripping them.
- Use a tall thin jar rather than a short wide one to melt the wax - otherwise you will likely have to tip it on its side to fit the entire fire-starter under the wax, especially towards the end.

Enjoy your new homemade fire-starters for camping!!

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