Easy DIY Recycled Fire Starters
Updated: Feb 25, 2019
What's worse than a campfire that won't start? It can ruin that perfect evening of camping in a hurry when you don't have a fire to cook the s'mores! We have some easy DIY Fire Starters we use nearly every time we camp you can make with items you have around the house.
Would you rather watch a video on how to make the fire starters? Find it here:
These quick to burn fire starters are just as quick to make! There is almost zero mess when you make them, so I tend to make one nearly every day. The key is to find storage for your supplies. Find a spot where your family knows to stick the empty TP rolls, a place to store the lint when you take it out of the drier, and a special place for any newsprint so you always have a supply.
Gather your supplies.
Getting everything together before you start is important because the melted wax solidifies pretty quickly, so once you pour the wax you don't want to be searching for everything else you need. I also pour the wax over the lint on top of my news print, to help prevent messes, so you're really using all of your supplies at once.
Here are the supplies you need to make your own fire starters:
toilet paper rolls
Step One | Spread Out The Newsprint
Make sure you're on a surface that can be easily cleaned if the wax spills [Yes, I speak from experience].
Have a solid surface counter AND floor around you, because one day, when the wax warmer slips out of your hand...you don't want to ruin your carpet and table.
Put out enough news print that you can wrap all the way around the toilet paper roll. About a half a sheet of a newspaper or one page out of a book order (our newsprint of choice since we don't receive the newspaper) work great!
Step Two | Get Enough Lint to Fill the TP Tube
You want to fill your TP roll completely with lint.
Be sure to fill it full, but know that the wax will take up a bit more space, so don't fill it so full you can't possibly squeeze anything else in.
This doesn't have to be an exact science!
Step Three | Spread the Lint Out on the Newsprint
Take the lint back out of the TP tube and spread it out over the newsprint. I used to pour the wax right into my TP tube, but I found that taking the lint out of the tube so the wax can be poured all over it helped to slow down how quickly the fire starter burned allowing it to work more effectively to start the fire.
Make a nice even, but thick layer. You want enough thickness that the lint can soak up most of the wax, but it's okay if the wax makes it through to your paper.
I usually set aside a small piece of lint to wipe out my wax warmer so I don't have to waste a paper towel.
Step Four | Pour on The Melted Wax
My wax is almost always ready, because I almost always have a wax warmer going. So, at this point I just go grab the wax from my warmer and pour it as evenly as I can over the lint.
If you don't have a wax warmer, you can melt the wax in a ramequin in the oven. I have never melted it in the microwave and I'm not sure I'd recommend it!
The wax won't be completely even, but simply spread it around as best you can.
Step Five | Let the Wax Set, Just a Bit
You don't want the wax to get completely solid, but you don't want to put it into the TP roll while it's in it's liquid state.
Wait about 3-5 minutes before moving on to the next step.
You'll be ready to move on once the wax is pliable, but doesn't squish out when you squeeze it.
Step Six | Stuff the Tube
After the wax has had 3-5 minutes to set, roll up your wax/lint mixture and stuff it into the tube.
Don't worry if it doesn't fit perfectly inside the tube, it's not a big deal. You'll be rolling it up inside the newsprint and you won't even know!
If I end up with any wax on your fingers, I usually wipe it off with the newsprint.
Step Seven | Roll the Newsprint Around the TP Roll
Next, you will roll the TP Roll up in the newsprint.
Roll at a diagonal, starting in one corner.
Simply roll the TP Roll up until you have used up all your paper!
Step Eight | Twist the Ends of the Newsprint
Twist the each end of your newsprint to keep your lint contained.
Grab the TP roll and twist one end of the newsprint, like a Tootsie Roll.
Repeat on the other side.
Again, this doesn't have to be exact. You would probably be find without twisting the ends, but it just holds everything all together so your fire starter is a nice little package.
Step Nine | Enjoy your campfire!
The fire starters are simple to use! Set up your fire however you prefer.
Then, stick your fire starter in the middle of your wood and surround it with some kindling.
Light one end of your fire starter, sit back and enjoy your campfire!
There you have it, your DIY Recycled Fire Starters! I have a giant stash of these by the end of the winter that I restock when I can during the summer. I keep them in the giant, 2.5 gallon zip lock bags so I can easily transport them to the camper when the bag is full.
Tips for Success | Make Your Fire Starters even EASIER
Organize Your Supplies | Find a special place for all of your supplies so you always have a stock ready to go. And whenever you're at Target or Walmart, grab a few packs of wax melts so you always have some! We use melts similar to these. Or you can buy a giant bag of wax use for making candles if wax warmers aren't your thing.
Make One Every Day | By the end of the winter I have a giant stock pile of fire starters because I try to make one fire starter every day. This also keeps my house smelling delightful because I have a fresh set of wax melts in the warmer every day. 😎
Use 3-4 Cubes of Wax | I use as much wax as I can. So, squeeze in as much in your wax warmer as you can. The more wax you add to your fire starter, the slower it burns which gives the wood more time to catch fire.
Use 2 starters for wet wood | Or you can make a "Mega Starter" with a Paper Towel roll. We always have a couple of mega starters on hand for when we encounter wet fire wood.
What if my fire doesn't start? | The good news is, if the fire doesn't start right away your fire starter will usually burn long enough to add more kindling to the fire to get it started. OR, since you're making these fire starters with up-cycled materials you're getting for free around your house that would otherwise go to the landfill, add one or two more fire starters to your fire until it's rip-roaring! After all, they're FREE!
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments! We love to better your camping experience however we can. The easier the trip, the less resistance, and the more you explore!
We'll see you on the trail!