It feels kind of weird doing a post about fire starters considering three things: I’m sitting here in shorts, the past weekend was so bright and summery, and being anywhere near the warmth of a fire is the furthest thing from my mind. But hey, you gotta work with what you’ve got and it is still winter. . . technically speaking.
Anyways, on to the subject of this post. Fire starters make great gifts, and the best thing is if you make candles and soap, you probably already have most of the materials. When I made these a couple of months (when we actually needed them lol) I used bits and pieces of things I already had on hand for soap making & candle making, plus a few items from the great outdoors.
Wax (I had about a couple pounds left of soy wax, so I used that)
Wicks (I used these wicks here that were leftovers from candle making – with the metal tabs cut off, of course)
Fragrance and/or Essential Oil
Colorants safe for candle making (there are different types of colorants, but I like these best)
Kindling (such as dried herbs, flowers, evergreen needles, pine cones, cinnamon sticks, etc.*
*This is pretty much whatever you want to add that will burn safely. I’ve also seen shredded paper, wood shavings, dryer lint and many other things used. I made four different kinds of fire starters and each had slightly different additives (Apple Jack Peel, Out in the Woods, Lavender Lullaby, & French Hussy). Apple Jack Peel, for instance, had pieces of pine cones, whole cloves, anise seeds, and a cinnamon stick, while French Hussy contained dried lavender buds, chamomile, and rose petals. Out in the Woods, scented with pine essential oil, was one of my favorites, and contained pine needles, cedar needles, and pine cones.
1) Using a double boiler method, melt the wax. Use a thermometer to check the temperature until it’s at an optimum level to add the fragrance and colorant. Since I used soy wax, I added the fragrance and a small amount of colorant at 170F degrees. Stir until you have the fragrance and colorant thoroughly mixed into the wax, then stir a little more (you want to make sure the wax and fragrance bind completely together).
2) I used a silicon cupcake pan that is reserved strictly for soap and candle making, but I’ve seen these made in silicon brownie bites pans and in ice cube trays. Place your additives into each well, then insert the wicks.
3) Wait for the wax to cool to down to a pourable temperature (I pour at about 125F degrees). Then, pour the melted wax into each well of the pan.
4) Wait for the wax to harden, then pop them out of the mold.
To use: Simply light the wick and situate a fire starter beneath stacked wood in your fireplace.