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DIY Campfire Starters


Usually when building a campfire, it's smart to start with small twigs and dry leaves to make kindling. But what if you can't find twigs and leaves, or you arrive at your campsite late in the evening and don't have time to gather them? Don’t worry, we have a Plan B for you! Below are a number of ways to get a campfire going using DIY campfire starters. With a little planning when you're packing, you can bring along these items so you have them on hand when you need them.


Since a couple of these require melting wax, let's go over how to melt the wax without ruining your pans.







Melting Wax


Melting Wax DIY Campfire Starter
What you will need:

  • Saucepan

  • Tin can

  • Wax/candle pieces

  • Heat



  1. Place an empty tin can in a saucepan.

  2. Put about ¼” of water in the saucepan.

  3. Place wax or candle pieces in the can.

  4. Heat on the stove until the wax is melted.


Use an old spoon you don’t care about when spooning the wax out. It will most likely not completely wash off and you don’t want to ruin your good silverware.







Waxy Eggs


Waxy EggsDIY Campfire Starter

What you will need:




  • Cardboard egg carton (Don’t use Styrofoam! Burning it is very hazardous to the environment and your health!)

  • Candle wax

  • Dryer lint



  1. Pack each egg cup with some dryer lint.

  2. Melt down your candle wax.

  3. Pour the wax over the lint in your carton.

  4. Once the wax has hardened, break each cup apart.


When you want to use them, just light the outside of one and use in place of tinder.







Waterproof Fire Starter


Waterproof Fire Starter DIY Campfire Starter

What you will need:




  • Drinking straws

  • Pliers

  • Scissors

  • Lighter/Matches

  • Cotton balls



  1. Using scissors, cut the straws into 1-inch pieces.

  2. Hold one straw piece with pliers with about 1/8” sticking out on one side.

  3. Using the lighter or matches, heat the 1/8” piece of straw and melt to seal the end.

  4. Stuff as much of a cotton ball into the open end of the straw piece as possible.

  5. Holding the straw with the pliers again with 1/8" of the open end sticking out, heat and seal the open end of the straw.


When it’s time to use them, simply cut one end open and light!







Paper Bricks


Paper Bricks DIY Campfire Starter

What you will need:




  • Shredded paper

  • Bucket

  • Water

  • Small bowl for molding your brick



  1. Put your scrap paper in the bucket.

  2. Fill the bucket with just enough water to cover your paper.

  3. Let the paper soak for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally. You want the paper to start to break down in the water.

  4. Remove the paper from the water and squeeze it to get all the water out. The more water you can get out the better.

  5. Begin packing the paper down into the bowl.

  6. Once you have the size brick you want, put the bowl in a sunny spot to dry.

  7. Once it’s dry, remove your brick from the bowl and you’re all set.


This hard-packed paper brick should burn evenly and get the fire going for you with no problems.







Cardboard Chips


Cardboard Chips DIY Campfire Starter

What you will need:




  • Cardboard

  • Candle wax



  1. Cut the cardboard into 2 x 2 inch squares.

  2. Melt your wax.

  3. Dip the cardboard squares into the wax and then let the excess wax drip back into the can.

  4. Lay the cardboard pieces on wax paper and let them dry overnight.


These work well for campfires as well as charcoal grills!







Pill Bottle Fire Starters


Pill Bottle Fire Starters DIY Campfire Starter

What you will need:




  • Cleaned pill bottles with labels removed (simply soak in soapy water and scrub it off)

  • Cotton balls

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Zippered plastic bag

  • Tweezers/small tongs

  • Spoon



  1. Take a couple scoops of petroleum jelly and put them in the zippered bag along with your cotton balls.

  2. Seal the bag and knead it for a bit in order to coat the cotton balls in the jelly.

  3. Remove the cotton balls one at a time with your tweezers or tongs and start packing them into the bottles (pack them in there as tightly as possible).

  4. Put the lids on the top.


When you’re ready to use them, just pop the top and light the cotton. It will burn well, but slowly, and should be a great way to get a campfire going.







Dryer Lint and Toilet Paper Tube


Dryer Lint and Toilet Paper Tube DIY Campfire Starter

What you will need:




  • Toilet paper tube

  • Dryer lint

  • Newspaper



  1. Stuff the toilet paper tube with dryer lint.

  2. Roll the newspaper around the outside of the tube.

  3. Tuck the ends of the newspaper into the tube.


Toss it into a fire pit and light it. This free fire starter will burn quickly.

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