Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dryer Lint Fire Starters

So, if you hadn't noticed, I took a little break from blogging. This whole blogging business is just supposed to be a hobby, but I was beginning to feel like it was work. Hobbies are supposed to be fun, right? Never fear, I'm back, and I have a lot of catching up to do!

Summer has been fun so far! We've been camping three times since I last checked in here. I love camping. A lot. And one of my favorite parts of camping is warming myself by a campfire. At the beginning of camping season I try to make a bunch of fire starters to last us several trips. I'm not sure where I learned about these -- I seem to remember seeing these made on TV a long time ago (like fifteen years ago-ish) -- and I don't claim these are my creation, I just claim that they are totally awesome work!

super awesome fire starters

One of the great things about these fire starters is that they are made of cheap or free materials. The first ingredient is dryer lint. I keep a cute little box on the top of my dryer and stick all of lint inside of it. When it gets full I empty the box into a bag and stow it away.

super awesome glamour shot of dryer lint
Then right before I'm ready to make the fire starters, I set aside some egg cartons, cut off their lids,...

... and fill the egg cartons with the dryer lint. I usually set the egg cartons on top of some wax paper before I do the next step.

I gather up some candle bits and pieces -- mine are just old candles I had thought about throwing away. Often I see used bits of candles at garage sales and thrift stores.

Next, I take the candle pieces and break them down into smaller bits and melt them. Usually I just put the pieces into a jar which I then set into hot water on my stove. Just be sure to use a potholder to handle the jar -- it gets hot!

After the candle wax is melted, I use a potholder to grab my jar and I carefully pour the wax over the lint inside my egg cartons. I fill the cartons about halfway, trying to get all of the lint soaked in wax.

Placing the cartons onto wax paper helps protect your working surface if the wax seeps through the egg cartons. Better safe than sorry! 

Once the wax has solidified (when I'm impatient I pop mine into the fridge to speed up the process), I tear the individual egg carton pieces apart...

... and toss the pieces into a plastic bag to stay dry. I try to keep the bag inside the plastic bins that hold our camping gear so that I have them on our trips.

Using the fire starters is easy. Just set one under your kindling and light it. The dryer lint catches fire beautifully, and the wax causes the flame to burn hot enough to catch the wood on fire -- even in the rain!

Yes, I've tried them in the rain -- I'm a Washingtonian! I can camp just fine in the rain as long as I have some blue tarps and a few of these babies!

If you have a chance, give these a whirl and let me know what you think!

May you always be a happy camper!

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