General ramblings

Firestarter….

February 15, 2013

A little while ago, I blogged about our (well, hubby’s) adventures making paper bricks in the freezing cold….

Over the last two winters of learning the fine art of fire making, hubby has resorted to using fire lighters to kick start the whole process.

And these are quite expensive. And they don’t really smell that great.

So I suggested we (well, hubby really..) should have a go at making our own..!

Whilst researching re-use ideas for egg boxes as part of the Top 10 Tuesday feature I did on my Shouty Cat Makes blog, I came across this great post from Mom Loves Camping using eggboxes to make fire lighters.

So I showed it to hubby and gently suggested he might like to give it a go…

In the original post, they used tumble dryer ‘fluff’ (the stuff that gets stuck on the filter and you are supposed to clean out regularly) but as we don’t possess a tumble dryer, we had to come up with an alternative source. After a little bit of head scratching, we decided that all the scraps of wool from my crocheting projects might be just the thing.

So, this is what you need:

  • a cardboard egg box
  • tumbledryer fluff of wool scraps or ‘something else’
  • old candle stubs
  • a saucepan and jam jar, or a double boiler if you have one and don’t mind it getting coated in candle wax..
  • some string or twine to tie them up with (optional)

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And this is what you do:

  • Boil a saucepan of water and place your jam jar inside with the candle stubs in it. Continue to simmer until the candle stubs have melted. In the words of the Lovely Hubby “this takes longer than you would think”…

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  • Put a wodge of fluff or wool scraps into each compartment of the egg box (if you have a tumbledryer, keep the egg box on top of it, and then just wodge the fluff into into it each time you empty the filter, and keep going until it is full!

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  • Hubby has cut the egg box bits out so that they have extra pointy up bits on them to fold over the top later on. He really is quite clever.
  • Pour some melted candle wax over the top
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Hubby has put the egg bcup bits on some greaseproof paper to avoid making too much mess. All his own idea. As I said, he really is very clever…

  • Fold the pointy bits over and then tie with string to keep it all together
  • Pour a bit more candle wax over the top for good measure

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TA DA!!!

Home-made firelighters….

Stay tuned for the next gripping installment in our self-sufficient fire adventure….

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17 Comments

  • Reply A little yarn…. | My Make Do and Mend Year January 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

    […] And I have a nice pile of  ”too pointlessly small to use for anything at all” wool, to make some firelighters with: […]

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) February 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Candlewax from old tealights already saved in jam jar, as well as a few stubs & bent ones that went soft ! Although I give all my egg boxes to the fellas on the allotments who keep chickens, they’re always glad of jam jars too. I’ll try experiment with toilet roll tubes as no other use for those.

    • Reply Jen February 18, 2013 at 8:10 am

      Great idea Vivienne-I think if you cut them into half or thirds and then stuffed them in the same way, loo rolls should work!

  • Reply caterinacate February 16, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you, I kept meaning to find a way to make homemade fire starters. Also a good way to use up all our egg boxes as we eat quite a lot if gigs. Two birds with one stone! 🙂

    • Reply caterinacate February 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Meaning “of eggs” not “if gigs” sorry for typo!

      • Reply Jen February 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

        😉

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      They work really well. Hubby started off using 2, and has now cut down to just one per fire, so impressed is he with them!

  • Reply Antonia February 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Got half a dozen candle stub here. Your is you want them?

    • Reply Jen February 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Yes please!

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) February 15, 2013 at 7:17 am

    I have been collecting used cotton wool balls, dried & stuffed into empty toilet roll tubes (as well as fluff & bits) to start fire but have yet to find out if they’ll work as I’m waiting for gas fire to be disconnected to open up my fireplace. I’ve already started trial to make “Logs” out of waste/news paper. How does the candle wax help ?

    • Reply Jen February 15, 2013 at 7:54 am

      I think it acts as extra fuel and whether it makes them burn more slowly so that it then allows the kindling to catch. I think that without it they might burn too quickly and burn out before the kindling has caught. Update coming on the paper ‘bricks’…!!

  • Reply hmk71 February 15, 2013 at 7:12 am

    My 12 year old loves making these! Sometimes he just lights the candle and drips it over the egg box, but that takes ages. (Which is fine if you’re 12!)

    We don’t have a tumble dryer either, so I asked my next door neighbour for some of their fluff! 14 year old v embarrassed, but we get on well with them and they thought it was funny! In the past I’ve used bits of tissue paper, pine cones, corks, old dried herbs and pot pourri, and dried citrus peel. Anything that’ll burn and fit in an egg box, really!
    The peel is very good. I try not to put too much in our compost heap, so I dry it out instead (on Rayburn/boiler/radiator) and use it once it’s brittle.

    Hazel

    • Reply Jen February 15, 2013 at 7:52 am

      Hi Hazel. We tried drying out orange peel and just using that on it’s own but it didn’t really work-not sure if we got it too dry..! Good to know we can use other bits in there too. Hubby is very taken with them, and they are really effective!

      • Reply hmk71 February 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        I have to say I just chuck the orange peel in with the newspaper and twigs, rather than lighting it as I would a firelighter, so I haven’t paid much attention!

        Less green but also effective is corks soaked in surgical spirit. I keep them in a jar next to the stove for emergencies when it just won’t light…
        I’m also the mad woman coming back from dog walks with handfuls of twigs and pocketfuls of fir cones!

        I know the newspaper probably doesn’t count as make do and mend, but we compromise (hubby likes reading them) by buying a Saturday broadsheet most weeks and I use the newspaper to start the fire, make plant pots, line the cat litter tray and line the compost pot (using an origami fold that means they double up as paper hats when the children help me!) and even, in the summer, making cat litter- water fun in the garden that’s useful! All stuff I’d have to do somehow, so this way it feels free! I also make envelopes out of nice pages from the magazine, especially Christmassy ones- really MD&M!!

        • Reply Jen February 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

          My mum and dad get a daily broadsheet AND thw weekend ones so they are keeping us supplied and we are stockpiling waiting for some warmer weather to make some more paper bricks!
          Loads of fab ideas! How do you make cat litter from newspaper??!!

      • Reply hmk71 February 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm

        Like papier mache!! The kids love it. Rip and mush up lots of newspaper in a big bucket of (rain)water. You’re supposed to do one wash with washing up liquid and then a rinse and then add in soda bic but after the first time we didn’t bother. Squeeze it dry then spread it out to dry (I use those plastic food trays you get from green grocers and PYO farms). This takes ages so we make it when we know there will be a run of warm dry weather. Break into pieces of a size your cat will find acceptable!
        It’s a bit of a faff, but if the paddling pool would be out anyway, you might as well get something productive from it!

        • Reply Jen February 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm

          Fab!

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