Ready or Not #283: Firestarters

FirestartersMy grandson came over this weekend and we wanted to do a project together.  At our house we have a lot of backyard barbeques, cook a lot of tinfoil dinners, and make steaks-on-a-stick over the fire so we decided it would be fun to make a bunch of fire starters.

Of course you can buy fire starters, but why would you when you can make them so easily and cheaply, or even better, for free?!

To prepare for our project, I had saved two cardboard egg crates, lint from my dryer, and an old candle that I was never going to use (my husband didn’t like it’s smell).

The candle was in a glass container and so I put it in a pan of water on low heat to melt the wax.  So that the glass wouldn’t crack because of the direct heat, I put a jar ring from one of my canning jars in the pot first and set the candle on top of it.  I also made sure that the water in the pan was as high as the wax in the glass container.  You could also melt the wax by using a candle warmer, but be careful because I have had candles crack using those.

(Just a note: There is a lot of discussion as to the “best” type of waxes to use when it comes to making homemade fire starters.  Some say that you should only use paraffin wax and others say that bees wax is the best.  For some reason they are concerned about how much smoke is produced when you use it.  Whatever.   I use whatever wax I have available and it is usually left-over or broken candles.  I am not concerned about the smoke that it might produce because I am building a fire – there will be smoke – it is a fire…)

After the wax was melted, I poured it into a little tin cup that has a handle on it that I specifically bought to use for pouring the wax.  Having a designated large metal cup or small pan for the wax makes it easier if you have any leftover wax; you can just leave it in the cup to warm up again and use at a later date.

I then had my seven year old grandson lightly stuff each of the egg crate cups with the lint and then I had him drizzle (with my close supervision) the hot wax over the lint.  (I had him practice “drizzling” water in the sink with the “wax cup” while we were waiting for the wax to melt).

You don’t need to put a whole lot of wax on them, just enough to basically hold the lint in place.  But if you do pour on more wax than is needed it certainly won’t hurt anything.

He made two crates of the fire starters.  When we delivered the one to his aunt’s and uncle’s house, they promptly tore off one of the cups and started a fire and so that we could cook some tinfoil dinners.  (YUM!)  The crate of fire starters you see in the picture is the one that he gave to his mom and dad; you will notice that the one in the corners has been ripped off.  That is because when his other grandma stopped by he broke one off, put it in a Ziploc bag, and gave it to her so that, “if the power ever goes off you will have a fire starter so you can start a fire and keep warm or cook dinner!”  I love that boy!

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